INDIANAPOLIS --- It's been well documented that the Colts offensive line in 2014 was shuffled almost weekly, but with the addition of more free agents and draft picks, head coach Chuck Pagano hopes that is not the case in 2015.
"No, absolutely. It's like the end of the season when we had the same starting lineup for three, four weeks, whatever it was. There's a premium placed on continuity," said Pagano Saturday during rookie mini-camp.
The Colts had the same starting offensive line for their three postseason games last season, which was the 11th different combination Indianapolis had in front of Andrew Luck in 2014. Along with the first three weeks of the regular season, three games was the longest stretch of continuity the Colts had along the offensive line for all of the 2014 season.
"So I agree with you 100%," said Pagano. "It's great to have guys that can move around so when you get in a pinch or if somebody goes down you have the position flexibility there, but certainly you'd love to get the pieces in place and have it week-in and week-out."
From left tackle to right tackle across the line, here's who started in the postseason: Anthony Castonzo, Jack Mewhort, Khaled Holmes, Lance Louis, and Joe Reitz. However, most of the offensive line for 2015 is to be determined. Let's take a look.
Left Tackle - The one positions where there doesn't seem to be any questions, with Anthony Castonzo having played more snaps at left tackle than any other player in the NFL last year. Protecting Andrew Luck's blindside appears stable.
Left Guard - Jack Mewhort started 16 games, including the postseason, at left guard as a rookie. It would make sense for him to return to that spot in his second season, but he does have position flexibility, having also started at right tackle week 17 at Tennessee. If Mewhort moves from left guard, there are a handful of candidates listed under right guard below that could take this position.
Center - This will be one of the most watched competitions through OTAs and training camp, between Khaled Holmes and Jonotthan Harrison. Holmes ended the season with the job and played well in the postseason, but it's easy to forget Harrison started 10 straight weeks as an undrafted free agent at center from week 5 to week 15, before getting hurt. Pagano said Holmes may break the huddle with the first team initially, but it will be a competition to see who snaps the ball to #12.
Right Guard- This is where it gets interesting. Hugh Thornton started eight games at right guard last season but none after week 12 versus Jacksonville, before being placed on IR in January. Lance Louis ended the year as the starter, finishing with nine starts at the position, including the postseason, and another start at left guard week five against Baltimore. Ryan Grigson also signed Todd Herremans from Philadelphia, a 10-year veteran who has 124 career starts (94 at guard). Don't forget about CFL signing Ben Heenan either, or Joe Reitz. Reitz did start two games at right guard, before playing right tackle in the postseason. Donald Thomas is also hoping to be a factor, after tearing his quad in back-to-back seasons.
Right Tackle - The health of Gosder Cherilus is what everyone is watching here heading into training camp. General Manager Ryan Grigson said he'd be ready sometime in June, after Cherilus started 13 games at this position, including the first 10 games of the season. Reitz came in during the postseason and played well, earning a new contract. Herremans would be another option, after also starting 24 games at right tackle during his decade in the league.
Young Wild Cards - None of these players can be ruled out until we see more in OTAs and training camp. Guard David Arkin is a former 4th round pick of the Cowboys in the 2011 draft and ended last season on the active roster, after being promoted from the practice squad. Tackle Ulrick John is completely healthy after what amounted to a redshirt season, after being taken by the Colts in the 7th round last year. Other tackles on the roster include 2015 7th round pick Denzelle Good, former college basketball player Demarco Cox, and Tyler Hoover who was on and off the practice squad last year, ending the season on it. Brandon Vitabile is the final offensive lineman on the roster, an undrafted free agent rookie C/G out of Northwestern. If you think nobody on this list has a chance, don't forget about Harrison starting 10 games last season as an undrafted rookie.
So does Chuck Pagano have an idea who his starting five will be along the offensive line?
"I have my thoughts. As an organization we kind of know where we're at with that thing, but it's fluid," said Pagano Saturday. "It's always fluid. I just feel good that we have a great room, a great group of guys. They work well together, they're smart, they're tough, they've got the right demeanor."
They've also got 10 offensive linemen who have starting experience in the NFL. That's a pretty good start as the competition begins to find out who will block for Andrew Luck and his backfield in 2015.