INDIANAPOLIS – Winston Justice is one of many new faces with Indianapolis this season.
Justice, a seventh-year offensive tackle, joined the Colts last March in a trade with Philadelphia, where he started 31 of 47 career appearances since 2006.
The 90-man Indianapolis roster reflects more newcomers (50) than it does players who ended last season on the active roster, injured reserve or practice squad. The offensive line figures to reflect other units on the squad by being manned by new performers.
In addition to Justice coming to the club in a trade, center Sam Satele and guard Mike McGlynn were added through unrestricted free agency. Guard Justin Anderson was a seventh-round draft acquisition from Georgia, and there are a few more newcomers to aid a line that saw the departures of center Jeff Saturday and guards Ryan Diem and Mike Pollak, among others.
Justice is working at both left and right tackle during organized team activities (OTAs). It was at right tackle where Justice opened in each of his starts with the Eagles in 2009 and 2010. He likes how this new Indianapolis unit is coming together.
"I think it's going well so far. We have some guys who want to get better and really have a passion for the game," said Justice. "I think we have the right coaches in place, too. We have an opportunity to get better. We have all the tools to get better. We just have to keep working."
Justice is one who tends more toward deeds than words when it comes to setting an example.
Though intelligent, out-going and grounded in values, he prefers to provide an example through action.
"People are blessed with different things. Some people talk a lot and are vocal," said Justice. "I like to lead by example. After practice I always take some of the rookies and do extra stuff, letting them know I always try to do extra things. We should try to get better throughout the whole day. Our job never stops. I try to do that by example."
McGlynn played with Justice in Philadelphia for two years before leaving for Cincinnati in 2011. The pair started together in 2010 when the Eagles ranked fifth in NFL rushing and ninth in passing. McGlynn, who opened that year at center, likes Justice's ethic and dedication.
"Winston is a hard-working guy, a guy who works his tail off every day. He's…a good guy who works all the time," said McGlynn. "(His work) speaks volumes. He has not had the smoothest road in his career. Winston has had to work through things. His success comes from his hard work."
Only a two-year player at Long Beach Poly High School, Justice was a four-year battler at Southern Cal. He started at right tackle in the Trojans' 2003 national title season, and he toiled with offensive standouts like Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush.
Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson scouted Justice (6-6, 320) while with Philadelphia and found him to be an exceptional physical talent.
"He had one of the best workouts ever on record for an offensive tackle on his Pro Day," said Grigson. "Winston is a really unique athlete. He ran a rare time and did a very high number of reps that was impressive. He had a rare vertical jump. Winston's Pro Day was off the charts, and we really thought he was going to be a first-round pick.
"When Winston fell out of the first round, we got him in the second round (39th overall). We were thrilled because Winston had so many gifts. He has such length and yet guys that have such length like that, they a lot of times aren't as strong as guys with shorter statures. That's why Winston is rare, because he is one of the strongest guys on our team with that length."
Justice arrived in Philadelphia when the offensive line sported established veterans. After some exposure at left tackle, he started for two seasons on the right side as the team continued making playoff appearances.
Grigson joined the Colts on January 11, and he was happy to bring Justice to Indianapolis two months later. As the club looks to establish a solid ground attack, he believes Justice can refine his skills to contribute.
"He's a focused guy. He's about business. He's here to do a job and do it really well," said Grigson. "Winston has high expectations for himself this year as well as Coach Pagano and I do. That's why we brought him here.
"I feel the sky is the limit for Winston if things fall into place and he hones those areas of his game he needs to improve on. In terms of pass blocking, I think he's exceptional. … He has the athletic ability by far to play at left tackle, but he always seemed more comfortable at right. As time goes on here, he's doing a good job at left tackle. If Winston has the ability to swing to both sides, it only helps us and it helps him."
Satele has been a five-season starting center in the NFL, two with Miami and the last three in Oakland, and now he is merging his talents with the new line in Indianapolis. Satele favors Justice's quiet style and points toward the example he sets for teammates.
"Winston is a very, very intelligent player. He has been in the league seven years, so he's, 'Been there, done that.' He's not a real vocal guy but to us, he's our leader," said Satele. "He is because of how he carries himself. Like now, you see us here in the locker room, but he's still out on the field taking snaps. He's in the locker room before practice and he's jumping rope in preparation for practice. It's the little things like that. Some guys look up to him. … He leads by his actions."
Justice likes the camaraderie of his teammates and likes how the unit is gelling on and off the field. Cohesion, professional regard and personal affinity is important to a critical unit like the line.
"You have to have a feel for each other, and I think that's what we're developing," said Justice. "People are putting their egos aside and are putting the team together. We're all working."