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Colts Offensive Line Juggling Parts In Season Opener

Intro: The Colts offensive line has plenty of questions surrounding them prior to this week’s regular season opener. What might the offensive line look like on Sunday night?


INDIANAPOLIS – Everywhere you looked on the Colts practice fields on Monday morning, the offensive line had their storylines.

On the adjacent practice field usually reserved for rehab work, there was Khaled Holmes (ankle) and Jonotthan Harrison (thumb) sitting out practice but still doing some extensive work with trainers.

Holmes snapped with trainers and did some jogging before joining his fellow offensive linemen for mental reps.

Harrison snapped with various Colts quarterbacks with a small-ish cast/wrap on his right thumb/hand.

Those two will be monitored very closely as the week progresses.

If they can't go, it appears A.Q. Shipley will be the man in the middle.

Shipley, who is wearing No. 53, is in full learning mode early in the week after the Colts claimed him off waivers on Sunday afternoon.

Andrew Luck has familiarity working with Shipley (they started five games together in 2014), however the offensive system has changed since that 2012 season.

On Monday, Shipley took all of the team's first team reps at the center position.

"I got in already at 6:30 (Monday) morning, crammed as much as I could in the offense today, went out there, put on the field and then tomorrow's going to be great because it's an off-day, I'll be able to spend the whole day studying. These two days are going to be big for me," Shipley, who played predominantly guard last year in Baltimore, said after practice.

"It's definitely a little bit of a whirlwind. It's been an interesting weekend for sure. You go from a down, then you get an up. You find out you're coming here, then you're on a plane three hours later and eight hours later you're back in here running reps."

Another area of the line to watch this weekend is the depth at offensive tackle.

Both Joe Reitz and Xavier Nixon sat out Monday's practice and neither are expected to play in the season opener.

During early individual drills at practice on Monday, rookie Jack Mewhort did some tackle work with Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus.

The thought there is if Castonzo or Cherilus get hurt on Sunday night, Mewhort would move to tackle, a spot he started the last two seasons at with Ohio State. Lance Louis would seem to be the likely option to fill in at guard if this scenario occurs.

Pagano also mentioned starting right guard Hugh Thornton as a tackle option. Thornton played tackle during his freshman and senior seasons at Illinois, earning All-Big Ten honors there in 2012.

For the offensive line, nearly all of the puzzle comes down to that piece in the middle.

We will know a lot more on Wednesday how that spot is going to shake out.

"The goal is to practice Wednesday," Holmes said. "Whatever the trainers deem appropriate, will do.

"It's huge for me individually, personally I think it is. It'll be a good test to see where I'm at."

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