Four-Down Friday: Who Is The X-Factor On the Colts Offensive Line?

Intro: What’s on the minds of those in Colts Nation? Which undrafted free agents have the best chance to make the team in 2014? Which unit has improved the most since last season?


INDIANAPOLIS – You asked them and we answered them.

Here's "Four-Down Friday" which is a weekly Twitter Q and A piece that will run every Friday.

This week's installment of questions focuses on an offensive line X-factor, the undrafted free agent class, how the Colts stack up against the AFC and which unit has improved most in the offseason.

@KBowenColts big fan of you. Question is: who do you think is the X factor for O line to make a big jump this year? Holmes health? — Arke (@ArkeApps) August 21, 2014

I tend to agree that the health/play of Khaled Holmes is the X-factor across that unit. With youth all over that interior, being able to pencil in Holmes every week and rely on him to keep that line meshing would be vital for this offense to reach its potential in 2014.

From a sheer "most important guy" type of statement on the line, I tend to lean more towards the tackles though. You don't really have any proven tackle depth behind Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus. Plus, those guys played virtually every snap for you last season. However, I still go back to Holmes at center as an X-factor. If those three in the middle prove to be durable, this offense has the makeup to become an elite unit this season.

@KBowenColts @Colts which UDFA's have the best shot of making the final roster? — Gary S. Cooke (@garyscooke) August 20, 2014

It's that time of year where these types of questions start to pour in. No team in the NFL has had more recent success in having undrafted free agents make 53-man rosters than the Colts. In each of the last 15 years, the Colts have had at least one UDFA on the team's opening day roster.

Names from the 2014 crop that have impressed this preseason include center Jonotthan Harrison, cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy and defensive tackle Zach Kerr. All three of those guys happen to play positions where the Colts don't have a ton of depth, which is obviously a major factor in those guys potentially making the roster. I'd be very surprised if the Colts don't continue that streak of having at least one UDFA on their opening day 53-man roster.

@KBowenColts @Colts does this current team have the potential to be AFC champions? — Sadeq D (@AryanColt) August 20, 2014

Not holding anything back with this question. When looking at the AFC landscape, New England and Denver are in a class by themselves, with the Colts knocking on that door.

In order for the Colts to be true contenders at the top of this conference, the offense needs to become more consistent in red-zone and third-down situations. Defensively, and improved rush defense is priority No. 1. In a small sample size this preseason, we've seen the Colts make strides in all those areas. The inevitable term of "if you can stay healthy" clearly applies to the Colts. But make no mistake, the pieces are in place for this team to play into the month of February.

@KBowenColts @Colts Which side is most improved from last season to this season, the offense or defense? Lots of added talent on both sides. — Daniel Prindle (@DTMBBALL1) August 21, 2014

An extremely difficult question to round out this week's "Four-Down Friday." While I think the offense will make a jump into one of the top units in the league this year, I'll go with the defense for the significant move they will make in league rankings.

The rush defense has been stout in the preseason and with the likes of Josh Chapman, Art Jones, D'Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman up the middle, teams are going to find life very difficult in trying to establish any semblance of a consistent rushing attack. The secondary hasn't been truly tested this preseason and while the safety position still has some uncertainty, the top three corners give the Colts pass rush an ability to pin their ears back and let those guys show their covering prowess.

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