Breaking Down The Colts Offensive Line Play In 2018
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INDIANAPOLIS – Life is good, really good, right now for Colts offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo.
As it should be with the Colts not allowing a sack in 3 straight games (for the first time since the 2009 season).
As it should be after the Colts have rushed for at least 200 rushing yards in consecutive weeks (for the first time since the 1985 season).
During the bye week, DeGuglielmo touched on why he thinks his five-man unit has performed so well as of late.
“I think we are finishing blocks better,” the OL coach, who was one of the three holdovers from the staff supposed to be under Josh McDaniels, said. “They are doing a better job of communicating with one another. Obviously, different personnel brings a different style of blocking, maybe a little bit different schematically.
“But for the most part, they are just playing a little lower, playing a little bit harder, playing a little bit faster. They are just picking up the pace. They understand – these are smart guys. They understand that we needed to make improvements. Ultimately, you are only as good as your players can play and they have been playing pretty well. Still a lot of room for improvement.”
DeGuglielmo is right. The team’s current personnel along the offensive line is talented.
You have three first-round draft picks (Anthony Castonzo, Quenton Nelson and Ryan Kelly), one fourth-round pick (Mark Glowinski) and one second-round pick (Braden Smith).
“It’s a lot of draft capital,” DeGuglielmo states. "I recognize that and that’s why I remind them of where they are, remind them of why they were brought here. They were brought here to do a task. People expect them to. You are not here to look good.
"You are here to win games, play well and block. Every so often, you have to say, ‘Hey son, you’re a first rounder for a reason, remember that. Let’s get the job done.’”
Here are more thoughts from DeGuglielmo on each of his starting offensive linemen:
DeGuglielmo on Castonzo: “When I first got here, they asked me about some free agents. I told them, me personally, I wasn’t interested in a free agent left tackle because I felt we had a left tackle here that was of the elite level. Has he had up and down moments? Of course. Tell me one that hasn’t, including the one that got paid a lot of money last year to go to New York (Nate Solder). He’s had good moments and bad moments. We didn’t have to go out there and go get one because we have one. I like Anthony because he’s a true professional. You won’t find a guy more focused on solving the problems that he has or tweaking some of his techniques to be more efficient than Anthony Castonzo. He’s excellent with regards to that. He’s meshing in with the guys very well. Anthony is no longer an elite guy around a bunch of guys. He’s around a bunch of elite guys. That’s a lot of relief off of him. He doesn’t have to be the guy and carry the line. He’s just one piece of a line that’s some pretty talented cats.”
DeGuglielmo on Nelson: “He’s a good football player, a really good football player. The great thing about Quenton is he studies that piece of film and analyzes what he did on the play and he works on it so it never happens again. He’s going to get better and better. A lot of the time you pick a guy in the first round and he’s a good player. This guy is an exceptional football player. He’s come in right away and made an impact. He gets from point A to point B as quick as any guy I’ve coached. The most amazing thing is he can make adjustments inside and it's really unique he can do that with his girth.”
DeGuglielmo on Kelly: “I have NO DOUBT that he is the best center in the national football league. He is the most complete guy. Turn the tape on, find me one better---strength, athletic ability, intelligence, quickness. You have to struggle to find a flaw, at that position, with that guy. He’s exactly what you want in terms of understanding the game and being a football player. It all starts with the middle guy. If you have an elite middle guy, that changes everything. Because we have a guy like Kelly, it allows us to adapt our protections and our run game completely different than if we were just playing with a run of the mill guy. A lot of the people don’t invest in that spot because they say they’ll make a guy. Listen, I’ve been on winning teams that just made a guy and that’s okay, too because there are a lot of those guys in the league. Those guys keep the league afloat. But when you have an elite one, that changes things a little bit. He’s not just elite physically. He’s elite mentally, too, which allows me to put a lot on him in the protection world. The difference in his play now and his play last year is he’s letting that natural aggression, his physical play is really coming out. He’s always been a smart guy. He’s always been athletic. But now, he’s actually physically moving people and getting after people on the second level and getting out to people on the edges. He is everything you look for. The fact that he’s finishing players better than last year shows up on game tape.”
DeGuglielmo on Glowinski: “We’ve been trying to find a spot to show his abilities. Mark brings a little bit of a uniqueness in his play because he’s very, very aggressive. He probably had 5 cuts, 5 knock downs and then 3 bonus blocks (against Oakland) alone. He was off the charts with the finish part of it, which is really kind of part of his game. He’s probably the fastest guy of the bunch.”
DeGuglielmo on Smith: “We had him (at right tackle) a little bit in camp for a reason. He is a tremendous athlete. He is big. I don’t really go by the labels. People say he is mainly a guard, or he is a natural guard. I’m not buying that. He’s an offensive lineman, he is a football player. How many times do they draft a tackle to play guard? They do it all the time. I mean this guy is six foot six and a half. He played some (at right tackle in college). He played tight end, so does that qualify? The bottom line is he’s a good athlete, a good football player, smart, tough, strong. Probably one of the strongest guys on the team. I don’t know, if he had played for Michigan State he would have been a tackle and he probably would have been a first-round tackle. So it’s circumstance. He’s an offensive lineman. He’s a big, strong, hardworking guy. You can build on that. Has he had some struggles? I think everybody has struggles when they play as a rookie no matter who you are, including Quenton. He’s had his up moments, a few blemishes but those two young men are as good as you can get.”
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone on the #Colts O-line:
“Honestly, I would have to say when you look at them on film they’re probably the best offensive line that we have seen this year. That’s not individual play, that means players as a group.”
— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) November 7, 2018