INDIANAPOLIS –April on the calendar means work is about to start back up for the Indianapolis Colts.
With the team’s offseason program commencing on April 18, we start our burning question series.
Over the next week and a half, Colts.com will take a look at the "Burning Questions" surrounding all position groups entering 2016.
Here's a look at the offensive line questions heading into the offseason program:
- What sort of impact will Joe Philbin have as the new offensive line coach?
Let's start with another question.
How important was the hiring of Joe Philbin for the Colts this offseason?
Well, for starters, Jim Irsay sat down with the new offensive line coach to explain his own vision.
You don't often hear about owners meeting with position coaches during the hiring process.
Irsay was a big fan of bringing Philbin in given the offensive line pedigree on his resume.
Philbin coached the Packers' offensive line from 2003-2006 and that unit protected their quarterbacks better than almost every group around the NFL.
The "teaching" aspect of Philbin's coaching is something that has already struck the Colts' staff.
Ryan Grigson has spent some time with Philbin at Pro Days and the GM has been impressed by how prospects have responded to the new line coach.
Packers' head coach Mike McCarthy calls Philbin's hands-on teaching one of his best qualities.
The Colts hope Philbin can instill those sorts of teaching methods in a line striving for more consistency.
STAT TO NOTE: When Anthony Castonzo went down with a sprained MCL last November, it was the first time he had missed a snap due to injury since his 2011 rookie season.**
- How will the interior of the Colts offensive line shake out in 2016?
In listening to the Colts' brass talk this offseason, we can probably write two offensive line starting positions in sharpie.
The left tackle is Anthony Castonzo and Jack Mewhort will likely occupy the left guard spot, next to Castonzo.
At right tackle, Joe Reitz returns and was much more than adequate starting there in 2015.
Denzelle Good is an option at right tackle, after showing promise there last season (when Castonzo went down and Reitz had to play left tackle).
In Reitz and Good, the Colts have two options at right tackle they feel good about.
Whoever doesn't start at right tackle out of Reitz/Good should factor into the right guard spot.
At right guard, a slimmed down Hugh Thornton returns, someone Jim Irsay calls an X-factor up front.
Center appears to be up for grabs with Jonotthan Harrison and Khaled Holmes returning in 2016.
Irsay said at the League Meetings the Colts would ideally acquire a true center and a guard/tackle combo through the draft.
STAT TO NOTE: Jonotthan Harrison, Jack Mewhort and Joe Reitz were the only Colts' linemen to play in all 16 games last season.
- Where does Denzelle Good fit into the 2016 offensive line?
The second-to-last pick of the 2015 NFL Draft is someone the Colts view with a bright future.
Denzelle Good started four games last year at right tackle, lining up his nimble 6-5, 345-pound frame out on the edge.
Such stature for Good indicates a natural tackle, but the Colts aren't going to pigeonhole him.
There have been talks that Good could play guard.
While Good played tackle in college, and all of last year in the NFL, he was listed as a guard at the Super Regional Combine last February.
If the Colts' greatest desire is to get the "best five linemen" on the field, Good could certainly find his name among that bunch (depending on the draft).
STAT TO NOTE: Denzelle Good played the sixth most snaps of any rookie tackle last year, despite being the 25th tackle taken in the draft.