It's time for the Colts O-line to rediscover itself
A year after helping Jonathan Taylor run for a franchise record-setting 1,811 yards, the Indy offensive line fell to pieces last season. Now it has one primary charge: Protect Anthony Richardson.
WESTFIELD – Now that Anthony Richardson has been named as the Colts starting quarterback for the 2023 season, the focus turns to another problem area that revealed itself, surprisingly, one season ago:
The Colts offensive line.
One year after Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly and Braden Smith all got paid the big bucks, one year after opening holes for Jonathan Taylor to run for a Colts franchise-record 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns, the line turned to mush. None of the Big Three played up to par, and general manager Chris Ballard made the mistake of thinking Matt Pryor could play left tackle – or, honestly, anywhere on the offensive line. Danny Pinter, then a second-year player out of Ball State, struggled as well, as did just about anybody the team tried at left tackle and right guard.
As the season wore on, rookie Bernhard Raimann slowly improved at left tackle after replacing Pryor, but by the time he started to figure things out, the season was long gone.
One stat tells the story:
Sixty sacks allowed.
Think about that. Sixty sacks. I don’t care if your quarterback is a statue – and both Matt Ryan and Nick Foles qualified as such — you can’t allow 60 sacks, the second-most allowed in franchise history.
After watching Andrew Luck retire early due to the pain he experienced after years of getting crushed behind consistently lousy offensive lines, it’s incumbent upon this year’s O-line – and the new O-line coach, Tony Sparano, Jr. – to have Richardson’s back (and front) as he enters his rookie season.