INDIANAPOLIS — The open competition at right tackle isn't wrapping up anytime soon.
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said Tuesday that with now just 10 days remaining until the team must cut down its 90-man offseason roster to its 53-man regular season version, the Colts will likely use as much time as they can to determine who will be the starter at the position.
"As far as right tackle, I think, we still have another week to go and really we will probably take both weeks for solid evaluation and narrow this thing down," Reich told reporters in a conference call.
The Colts utilized multiple players at the position throughout training camp, but of late were seen rotating veteran Austin Howard and rookie Braden Smith. It was Smith who got the start at right tackle in Monday night's preseason Week 2 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
The anticipated return of Denzelle Good for Saturday's preseason Week 3 game against the San Francisco 49ers adds another candidate to the mix, however.
The Colts appeared to mostly utilize Howard — a ninth-year veteran with 92 career games and 88 starts to his credit — at right tackle during the offseason workout program, with Good serving as his backup.
But after returning from another injury early in training camp, the team seemed to be rotating Good in with the first unit much more frequently — that was, until he went down with a hamstring injury during a 1-on-1 drill on Aug. 1. He hasn't returned to the practice field since.
Since that time, Smith — who was selected as a guard in April's NFL Draft — has seen his reps increase significantly on the outside. Reich said he liked what he saw in Smith in Monday's game against the Ravens, other than the fact he was called for holding twice.
"Braden was solid," Reich said. "Was not happy with the two penalties that were called against him, but he is making improvement."
With starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo also dealing with a hamstring injury, the outside positions of the Colts' offensive line are expected to be in flux until the regular season opener Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Whether it's Smith, Howard, Good — or the team's other linemen who have seen reps at tackle: Tyreek Burwell, Le'Raven Clark, Mark Glowinski, Joe Haeg or J'Marcus Webb — there are certainly still spots to be won on this Colts roster.
"No one has just jumped out to the forefront; there are a couple guys that have been playing decent," Reich said. "So we will take these last two weeks to figure it out."