INDIANAPOLIS – A seismic change for the Colts this season finds newness everywhere in the organization.
It is like 1998 in some regard as far has having new components in most every key position.
Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano form the general manager-head coach tandem, while Bruce Arians and Greg Manusky are paired as offensive and defensive coordinators. Like 1998, a rookie quarterback is on the scene, and the construction of an offensive line to protect that commodity is paramount.
It begs the question of the new linemen, ‘Are you gelling?’
The answer is a resounding, ‘We’re gelling,’ when you speak to those closest to the situation.
“Some lines take a long time. If you look, we have great coaches and great players,” said center
Satele is new to the club after having started 74 of 78 games with Oakland and Miami since 2007. He is a man of few words and one who picks them carefully. He will be just one new component on the line that could feature other new faces like tackle
“We definitely aren’t making too many mental mistakes, which usually your biggest problem during the first week of camp,” said Castonzo. “The fact we’re on the same page, we’re definitely in a good spot.”
Offensive Line Coach Harold Goodwin said at the outset of camp that experimentation would be the approach through the first two or three weeks of camp. Goodwin claimed a true feel for how the specific alignment will sort itself out likely would not come until after a preseason game or two is played.
After a week of camp, Arians knows the situation is a fluid one, but he likes what he is seeing so far.
“It’s still a work in progress. We’re not going to decide on the five guys, so to speak, because we’ve got some good competition going on in a couple spots,” said Arians. “It’ll iron itself out. There’s plenty of time to build that chemistry, and it’ll happen. They’re working with each other enough in and out of both groups. I’m pleased with the depth we have.”
In 1997, the club went 3-13 and surrendered 62 sacks while rushing the ball for 3.8 yards per attempt and for an average of 107.9 yards per game. The next year, Indianapolis yielded 22 sacks and Colts backs nearly averaged 4.0 yards per carry.
Last year, Colts quarterbacks were taken down 35 times, the most since 1997, while the team topped a 4.0 rushing average (4.2) for the first time since 2006. Protecting Luck and establishing a rushing attack that has “physicality” in Arians’ description is a key aim for the team.
As camp is in its second week, Satele likes the challenge of what the team is practicing against. Indianapolis is re-working its defense into a hybrid 3-4 scheme, and the offense is seeing more than a vanilla approach in daily practices.
“It’s great. Like other training camps (I’ve been in) the defenses have been working on basic stuff,” said Satele. “Here, they’re showing us all kinds of things, which is great. Third downs, we’re seeing a lot of different looks. That’s what they’re doing to us.
“There’s a lot of stuff. It’s great because the defense is pretty advanced right now. It’s great seeing all the looks we’re getting and hopefully we’ll get it all down.”
One of the toughest competitors on the other side of the line is end
“They’re (the offensive line) going good. They’re competing and challenging each other,” said Redding. “They’re challenging us, which is good. They’re making us better. I think they’re getting the proper techniques and the coaching to be good.”