Sept. 18, 2011; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (74) drops back in pass blocking against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Preview: Worst OL in AFC South?


As the Colts get ready for training camp along with the rest of the NFL, writers an analysts are getting ready as well. Matt Williamson of Scout’s Inc. and ESPN.com has ranked the offensive line units in the AFC South, and he puts the Colts at number four on the list.

Williamson’s AFC South offensive line rankings:

1) Titans (Michael RoosAndy LevitreFernando Velasco/Brian SchwenkeChance WarmackDavid Stewart)
2) Texans (Duane BrownWade SmithChris MyersBrandon Brooks/Ben JonesDerek Newton/Brennan Williams)
3) Jaguars (Eugene MonroeWill RackleyBrad MeesterUche NwaneriLuke Joeckel)
4) Colts (Anthony CastonzoDonald Thomas/Joe ReitzSamson Satele/Khaled Holmes,Hugh Thornton/Mike McGlynnGosder Cherilus)

The Colts certainly have some moving pieces, and the Jaguars made a huge upgrade at RT in Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M, but I find it interesting that the Colts’ OL is ranked lower at this point, especially after bringing in Gosder Cherilus.

Williamson thinks the Colts will be much improved over last year’s unit, despite ranking them fourth in the division.

“I expect the Texans and Titans to have two of the best offensive lines in the NFL in 2013. Both should be drastically improved, and in fact, so should Indy’s and Jacksonville’s with the massive improvement at right tackle.”

Williamson also thinks that new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s quicker passing system will allow the Colts to have greatly improved pass protection.

“The short passing game will certainly help Indy in protection, but so will the addition of at least two new starters. The Colts just have much better football players starting right now than in 2012.”

The Colts have a couple of new starters on their offensive line this year, namely Gosder Cherlius (RT) and Donald Thomas (LG), and they could also wind up starting rookies a center (Khaled Holmes) and right guard (Hugh Thornton).

Even with the new blood, I think the Colts still boast a much improved line from a season ago, one that should improve not only the pass protection, but also the running game that ranked in the bottom half of the NFL last season. The Colts did a good job of identifying a weak spot and upgrading it significantly.

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  • Geoff_85

    Elephant in the room: Donald Thomas erroneously referred to as Donald Thompson in this article. I’m hoping the o-line will be as improved as people are saying. We can’t have Andrew Luck knocked around like he was last year. Had robert griffin iii been hit that much last year, he’d be dead. I like what Pep Hamilton’s approach brings to the Colts, but there are some concerns that I have as well. Namely, how long will it take the players to adjust to the new plays and scheme? Also, whenever a coach comes to the NFL from the college ranks there is always a concern of how he will fare in the NFL. Can he really fix the running game? I feel as confident with the players the Colts will have in the backfield this year as I have since Edge left. I can’t wait to watch Vick Ballard this year.

    • SayreBedinger

      Ugh, thanks for catching that. It’s been a long offseason. I am intrigued to see how Hamilton’s philosophies translate as well. I think the Colts have one of the more interesting set of offensive weapons in the league, obviously headlined by the RB position. From top to bottom, it’s one of the deeper groups in the league. I think Bradshaw is going to be a huge pickup and Ballard could build off a relatively successful rookie year all things considered.

      With the OL play improved, I think the running game will be a huge boost to Luck and the passing game.

    • Antonio Farrar

      This is not peps first rodeo he has 6-7 years of nfl experience, he is making his return to the nfl so I think/hope he’ll do fine……COLTSTRONG!!!!

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