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Practice Notebook

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Practice Notebook: What Colts Left Tackle Bernhard Raimann Has Learned From Facing Khalil Mack, DeMarcus Lawrence, Chandler Jones And Other Veteran Pass Rushers As A Rookie

Raimann has faced a gauntlet of productive, experienced edge rushers during his rookie season, and has shown signs of progress through it. 

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Over his last seven games, Colts rookie left tackle Bernhard Raimann has faced a gauntlet of edge rushers:

  • Matt Judon (Patriots): 62.5 sacks over 108 career games, 4 Pro Bowls
  • Chandler Jones (Raiders): 112 sacks over 154 career games, 4 Pro Bowls, 2-time first-team AP All-Pro
  • Brandon Graham (Eagles): 68 sacks over 176 career games, one Pro Bowl
  • Alex Highsmith (Steelers): 20 sacks (12 in 2022) over 47 career games
  • DeMarcus Lawrence (Cowboys): 54.5 sacks over 118 career games, 3 Pro Bowls
  • Micah Parsons (Cowboys): 26 sacks over 31 career games, 2 Pro Bowls, 1-time first-team AP All-Pro
  • Danielle Hunter (Vikings): 71 sacks over 100 career games, 2 Pro Bowls
  • Khalil Mack (Chargers): 84.5 sacks over 132 career games, 7 Pro Bowls, 3-time first-team AP All-Pro

Those guys have totaled nearly 500 sacks over 866 games and own 23 Pro Bowl selections among them. Raimann, meanwhile, will make his 10th career start this weekend against the New York Giants.

But the opportunity to face so many established and disruptive pass rushers has been incredibly valuable for Raimann, the No. 77 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, as he grows into being a pro left tackle.

"They're all elite rushers and they're all unique in their own ways," Raimann said. "What it's taught me is just the little things that you do right can win you a rep, but every little thing you do wrong is going to get exploited by those guys. They're experienced edge rushers and they're going to take advantage of a bad pass set, bad hand leverage or something and they're going to expose you."

While Raimann hasn't been perfect against those guys, he's shown progress on a week-to-week basis. Raimann's Pro Football Focus pass block grade has been 70 or higher in five of those seven games, and has hit that mark in each of his last four games (against the Steelers, Cowboys, Vikings and Chargers).

And among rookie tackles who've been regular starters in 2022, the 23 pressures allowed by Raimann are tied for the lowest total with the Panthers' Ikem Ekwonu – the No. 6 overall pick last spring.

Raimann said he's felt more comfortable and consistent with his play over the second half of the 2022 season, and interim head coach Jeff Saturday said he's been pleased with Raimann's progress, too.

"If you look at the way Bernie's played, he has gotten better each and every week," Saturday said. "He's faced some significant pass-rushers. He's getting better with his technique. It's not perfect, he understands that. He continues to pursue perfection, he hasn't met it but he's doing much better with his hands placement, he's doing much better with his set, getting out and getting himself established and taking on bull-rushers or power-rushers, however you want to look at it. He's very athletic, so he does well with the athletic-type rushers.

"He's progressing. He's learning the game. He's doing much better in his run fits as well, cutoffs on the backside, so I've been happy with his progress. Again, from a team that's won one game since I've been here, we're not celebrating or running parades but I have been happy with his growth at that position."

Thursday's practice report:

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