Four-Fifths of Colts 2014 Offensive Line is Back

After the first change to the OL, the Colts are hopeful for more progress.

INDIANAPOLIS --- The Colts made a change on the offensive line last week at Tennessee, and the change put four players at the same positions they started at during last year's postseason run.

Left Tackle - Anthony Castonzo (unchanged)

Left Guard - Jack Mewhort (moved from right tackle)

Center - Khaled Holmes (unchanged)

Right Guard - Hugh Thornton (first start of 2015 week 3, new starter from 2014 postseason OL)

Right Tackle - Joe Reitz (first start of 2015 week 3, started at right tackle in 2014 postseason)

"I felt like we did a really good job of communicating and making sure that we made the right calls," said Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton Thursday of the offensive line's performance at Tennessee. "It ultimately led to us being able to have some success running the ball early and often in that game. We're excited about the momentum that we've hopefully created. We'll see what we got on Sunday."

Head Coach Chuck Pagano said the team can move forward with this new configuration up front as well.

"Absolutely, absolutely. By no means was it a perfect performance, but it was good. It was better," said Pagano Wednesday. "Had our moments like every position is going to have their moments. You watch the tape, make the corrections and you come out here and you go back to work."

In particular, this offensive line got Frank Gore and the run game going, with Gore rushing for 6.1 yards per carry. It was the 7th time Gore rushed for six yards per carry or more since the start of the 2012 season. He finished last week with 86 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns.

"It was excellent. The guys did a great job, the offensive line, the tight ends of opening up some holes," said Pagano of the rushing attack.  "Runners ran well. Good vision, good cuts and all those things, so it was impressive. We need to just keep building on that."

Penalties though were again a challenge though for the offensive line at Tennessee. The Colts had 11 flags for 71 yards. Four of those were holding penalties (three on the offensive line), and three more of the penalties were false starts.

"Don't hold," said Pagano humorously, when asked how to cut down on the holding penalties. "Play great technique. (They) tell you to keep your hands inside, keep your hands inside. Don't get them outside the framework."

Certainly though with four of the five new starters having started in big games together at the end of last season, that should help moving forward.

"I played next to Hugh (Thornton) last year, played next to him a lot during training camp and OTAs and everything," said Joe Reitz, about the one new piece to the offensive line from last year's postseason group. Lance Louis was the right guard at the end of last season. "Even though we didn't have too much game experience together. We definitely had that in practice. That helps in a game."

And at the end of the day, protecting the quarterback is the most important goal.

"Too much," right tackle Joe Reitz said, when asked about the number of hits quarterback Andrew Luck has taken over the first few weeks. "In the film room on Monday, we were watching the plays and saying, 'We need to do better here. We need to do better there.' We know that we need to do a better job moving forward."

Changes on the offensive line were a recurring theme last season, but after the first win of the season, the hope in the locker room is this was the one change the offensive line needed moving forward.

 

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