INDIANAPOLIS — With the month of July upon us, and training camp right around the corner, it's time for the Indianapolis Colts' Burning Questions series.
We continue today with the tackle position:
• Who eventually wins out the starting right tackle job?
Throughout offseason practices — at least the ones that were available to be viewed by the media — it seemed as though two players, more than others, were getting all the reps with the theoretical "first-team" offense at right tackle: Austin Howard and Denzelle Good.
Howard spent most of OTAs and mandatory minicamp as the No. 1 right tackle, but Good did get at least a day with the first unit at the spot, too.
Either way, the friendly competition is only positive for a Colts offensive line that hopes to see major improvement from years past.
Howard, 31, signed with the Colts on May 9 and is bringing plenty of experience (eight NFL seasons; 92 games played with 88 starts) with him. He also has previously been coached by new Indy offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, who considers Howard one of the toughest players he's ever coached.
Good, meanwhile, enters his fourth season with the Colts in 2018. A seventh-round pick by the team in the 2015 NFL Draft, Good had won the right tackle job to start out last season, but suffered a wrist injury that required surgery in the team's Week 1 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. Placed on Injured Reserve, Good was able to return later in the season, although other injury issues limited him to just six games played, with five starts.
• What's the depth looking like at tackle?
What's clear is the overall depth at tackle is looking much improved for the Colts. While Anthony Castonzo is the perennial starter at left tackle, Howard or Good are both players in which the team has confidence if they had to start at any point during the season.
But who will be behind those guys?
If Good doesn't win the right tackle job, look for him to be a potential emergency option at left tackle should Castonzo go down with some sort of injury. Castonzo at times was limited during practices this offseason, and it was Good that would fill in during those times. Then there's always the ever-versatile Joe Haeg, who can literally play every position along the offensive line (he's played left guard, right guard and right tackle in actual games, and was seen working as the second-team center this offseason).
But there is an intriguing list of other big fellas looking to earn a spot on the final 53-man roster who could be used at tackle if needed. Jack Mewhort can do it, but others were seen working their way in at tackle during offseason practices, including Tyreek Burwell and Jared Machorro.
• Can Le'Raven Clark find more consistency in Year 3?
One name intentionally left off that list is Le'Raven Clark.
Now in his third year, the former third-round pick faces a crucial point in the early portion of his career. While Clark has gotten plenty of reps his first two NFL seasons — with 23 games and eight starts to his credit — he is yet to completely capitalize on any of his opportunities to stick with the starting unit.
Just 25 years old, though, Clark certainly has time on his side, although with a rapidly-improving Colts offensive line, it'll be interesting to see how Clark responds to the pressure during training camp and the preseason