INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo this offseason sat down for a 1-on-1 interview with Colts.com's Matt Taylor. What are Castonzo's thoughts on his decision to re-sign with the team, a feeling of unfinished business, playing next to Quenton Nelson and more?
Here is that interview, which you can also catch in its entirety above:
What did your decision ultimately come down to in regards to whether or not to retire, and also whether to return to the Colts in 2020?
Castonzo: "I don't think there was ever a question about coming back to the Colts. I love the Colts and I love the organization. I think they've been nothing but good to me, and I trust the head coach and I trust the general manager and I trust the owner. So that was never a question. What ultimately made me decide to come back and play was just the fact that after starting some offseason training and kind of doing some things that I had done last year at this time, realizing how far ahead of where I was last year at this time I am right now, and just really realizing how much more I have in the tank and how I think that my best football is still ahead of me. So it didn't make sense for me to hang it up at this time."
You've said multiple times last season and throughout the course of this offseason how good you feel. Why do you think that is? What did you change about your training in last offseason and through the season as well?
Castonzo: "It all kind of started with Rusty (Jones) in the strength room, in terms of really realizing that I've got a lot of imbalances in my body. Because I thought that I would have pain because, 'Oh, I've had an injury there before and that's why it hurts,' but in reality it's just I was off somewhere; there's something that was pulling in a way that it shouldn't. And I realized how off-balanced that I am, and that ends up affecting my play, as well. It's not just feeling healthy because of it; it's you can't move as efficiently when things don't line up properly. So I just took a lot smarter approach to my offseason training instead of just kind of doing the same things I had already done; I changed a lot of stuff to do a lot more balance and to do a lot of things that kind of forced me to be more even from left to right, and it helped."
When you had a full season of great health and you felt good body-wise, what did that do for you? What kind of season did that allow you to have last year?
Castonzo: "I think it allowed me to play the football that I wanted to play. I still think that I've got a lot of things I need to fix and a lot of things I need to improve on, as I always do, but it kind of was exciting in terms of seeing how much better I can be, and just seeing that I haven't even gotten close to my potential; being able to see what my healthy body's able to do was very exciting for me in that regard."
Coming back and playing with this offensive line for a third straight year, how much does that excite you?
Castonzo: "It's awesome. I don't know if I've ever seen it across the board, just five guys who are as good as we've gotten. The fact that we're able to do what we're able to do as an offensive line unit — it's just everybody does their jobs so well and is so individually good, and then when you put us all together, we can do some special stuff. And going into a third year of us together, like, that's unheard of, so it's really exciting, and I think we'd like to stay together as long as we can."
Quenton Nelson said that he's a much better player because he plays next to you. What do you think he means by that? How do you guys help each other with your play on the field?
Castonzo: "Well, first of all, he's a liar. He makes me look good; it's not the other way around …"
Nah, I think there's some give and take there; I think it's a two-way street.
Castonzo: "Yeah, I mean, to start off, he's just such a giant body and how much space he takes. Not to take away from his athleticism or his ability to play, but just having somebody who takes up so much space and is able to move the way he is … and he sees things before they happen. His awareness is some of the best that I've ever played with. And it just makes things easier for me; like, if he's supposed to be there on a block, I know he's gonna be there, and there's never a question, there's never a, 'Oh, I've gotta do this because I'm not sure if Quenton's gonna get it done.' He's always gonna get it done, and it allows me to focus on my job, and I hope it's the same for him knowing that I'm gonna do my job."
Frank Reich talks all the time about not having to give you help on the left side; not having to leave a back or anybody else on your side in to protect on a pass play. How much pride do you take in that?
Castonzo: "I take a ton of pride in that. I like to mess with Frank, too; I'm like, 'Oh, we're doing this again, huh? Leaving me out there on the island again, huh?' That's, like, a running joke that I have with Frank, whenever we're putting in the gameplan for the week, I'm like, 'Oh! Oh! We're doing this again, huh?' So it's fun. But, yeah, I take a lot of pride in that. I firmly believe that as a left tackle, they should not have to ever think about giving me help; that that's what they pay me for, that's what I'm here for, is to be out there on that island to get my job done. So the fact that he has that confidence in me, it makes me feel real good."
Are there any matchups in the NFL that maybe you would consider getting help on in terms of pass rushers on the other side of the line?
Castonzo: "Listen: I'll take help whenever he wants to give it to me. I take a lot of pride in not needing it, but you know what? If he wants to give it to me … you hear me, Frank? If you're listening to this, I'll take it when you want to give it to me (laughs). I mean, there's freaks out there on the other side of the ball week after week. There's no shortage of good pass rushers in the NFL. I think that's part of what makes it so exciting to play my position, is that challenge and those matchups. And it's a lot of fun to compete against those guys; it really is."
You've been with the Colts since 2011. You've seen a lot — the departure of Peyton Manning, the start and end of Andrew Luck, three head coaches, three general managers, you've blocked for eight starting quarterbacks. Do you think you've got some unfinished business here, coming back in 2020?
Castonzo: "Yeah, I mean, the first step is you want to get back to the playoffs; we want to get back on top of the division. And, yeah, I mean, the ultimate goal is the ultimate goal — we all know what that is. So, yeah, it's exciting to come back with a team who has that potential; a team full of guys who are that good that we possibly could do that."
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