Offensive Line Burning Questions Heading Into OTAs

Intro: The Colts will have plenty of offensive line depth when the team reconvenes on April 20. What’s in store at the offensive line position group heading into the team’s offseason program?

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INDIANAPOLIS –The Colts will bring 10 different linemen into their offseason program who have starting experience in the NFL.

Anthony Castonzo and Jack Mewhort figure to be cemented into the left side of the line but the other three spots are filled with questions.

Here's a look at the offensive line burning questions heading into the team's offseason program.

  • How important is the health of Gosder Cherilus to the offensive line's success in 2015?

Let's start with the right tackle position and move our way inside from there.

Cherilus was banged up throughout the 2014 season and eventual groin and knee ailments led to offseason surgeries. The timetable for his return is up in the air.

If he is healthy, the Colts have the tackle duo they want and should be able to limit edge pass rushers week-in-and-week-out.

Without Cherilus, that could shift things at a couple of positions up front.

Veteran Joe Reitz would seem to be the likely option at right tackle after he filled in quite admirably for Cherilus during last year's postseason run.

New lineman Todd Herremans has right tackle experience but his first crack is going to come at the right guard spot.

Jack Mewhort slid over to right tackle in the regular season finale last year, however keeping him at left guard sures up the stability on the left side of the line.

The Colts have hardly a worry about their left tackle spot with Anthony Castonzo and if Cherilus can return healthy in 2015, there won't be much to worry about at the right tackle spot either.

STAT TO NOTE: Anthony Castonzo's 1,155 offensive snaps played last season were the most of any offensive lineman in the NFL.**

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  • Is new offensive lineman Todd Herremans the starting right guard in 2015?

The right guard position battle this offseason will be between the 10-year vet in Herremans and the former third-round pick in Hugh Thornton.

Similar to Cherilus, Thornton battled injuries last season and was eventually placed on injured reserve.

Ryan Grigson is very familiar with Herremans and lauded the veteran presence that will come into the offensive line room this offseason.

Herremans has been a starter throughout his 10 NFL seasons and the competition between him and Thornton should be spirited.

In joining the Colts, Herremans made it clear that the opportunity to start was a major reason for his choice.

Another asset to bringing Herremans in is his Joe Reitz-type position flexibility, having played significant minutes at four different line spots.

STAT TO NOTE: In his 10 NFL seasons, Todd Herremans has started at least six games at four different spots on the offensive line (6-LT, 71-LG, 23-RG and 24-RT).**

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  • Who will win the center competition this offseason?

Khaled Holmes and Jonotthan Harrison will once again dual it out to snap the ball to Andrew Luck this fall.

It will be Holmes getting the initial look with the first unit and he brings plenty of momentum from his first real playing time at the NFL level last year.

The Colts offensive line was a cohesive unit once Holmes entered the starting lineup late in the 2014 season.

Harrison obviously showed enough in his 10 starts (before injuries opened the door back for Holmes) to warrant some first team reps this offseason.

I don't think you can underestimate though what the offensive line did when Holmes was at center.

With inexperienced starters virtually all over the line, it was Holmes who kept that group on the same page in the Colts most important games.

In all three of these position battle questions this season, the Colts do have starting depth that will carry into the second unit no matter who starts in September.

STAT TO NOTE: Entering the offseason program, the Colts have 10 offensive linemen who have started games in the NFL.

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