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Colts Offensive Line Depth To Be Tested Early In 2014

Intro: As the page turns to the regular season, the Colts offensive line is searching for some depth along their front. What does the makeup of the line look like after the preseason?





CINCINNATI – During the dog days of Training Camp a few weeks back, a white No. 63 jersey caught my eye.

On the Colts roster the only No. 63 listed was that of defensive lineman Tyler Hoover. However, Hoover's jersey throughout camp was blue, just like the rest of the Colts defenders.

This white No. 63 had the same build to Hoover, an undrafted free agent who played strictly defensive line during his days at Michigan State, though.

Sure enough it was Hoover and with the depth along the defensive line, and the bodies beginning to grow thin on the other side of the ball, the switch made sense.

Hoover played more than three quarters of offensive tackle on Thursday night, once Joe Reitz left the contest with a high ankle sprain.

With roster cuts about 24 hours away and the regular season opener nearing, the Colts have some questions along the offensive line.

If healthy, the starting unit appears to be in very capable hands with Anthony Castonzo, Jack Mewhort, Khaled Holmes, Hugh Thornton and Gosder Cherilus comprising the lead group.

Holmes has yet to return to practice though after injuring his ankle in the preseason opener.

Chuck Pagano said on Thursday night that he is "hopeful" Holmes will be ready to go in Denver.

If Holmes can't go, it remains to be seen how the shuffling occurs across the line.

Fill-in center Jonotthan Harrison did not practice this week due to a thumb injury. Would the undrafted center see his first career NFL action on Sunday Night Football?

On Thursday night, Mewhort slid from his normal left guard spot to start at center, a spot he hasn't played in game action since his high school days in Toledo, Ohio.

"When I stepped in at center, I wanted to make sure I got to a point where I was a guy they were looking at and depending on to make the calls," Mewhort said after the game.

"The whole offense kind of emanates from the inside out, as a center. You have to get everybody on the same page. I just want to go back, look at the flim, correct my mistakes, so going forward, if there is a situation where I am called upon to play center, I can be a dependable guy."

When Donald Thomas went down early in camp, Mewhort emerged at left guard but the Colts were also without an "emergency" center behind Holmes.

Most teams carry around seven of their nine offensive linemen on game day, meaning Mewhort could be that guy in a pinch.

While the attention remains squarely on what the Colts will do in the interior of the line, the depth at tackle is a bit of a mystery, as well, heading into final cuts.

If Nixon and Reitz are out for a period of time, where do the Colts turn behind Castonzo and Cherilus?

Adversity has hit the trenches already in 2014 and Pagano knows what's facing his team.

"We've got a lot of injuries," Pagano said on Thursday nigiht.

"We don't have a lot of time. And you know what? Nobody really cares, and nobody really feels sorry for us. So, it's next man up."

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