Colts Will Be Cutting Quality Linemen In 2018
Joe Robbins | Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS – Last year, Le’Raven Clark was an expected starter going into Training Camp.
Jeremy Vujnovich was an eventual 16-game starter at left guard.
Now, those two could very well be on the outside looking in for a roster spot in 2018.
Flip over to the defensive line.
Guys like Margus Hunt (5 starts for the Colts in playing every game last season), Chris McCain (5.0 sacks last season), Hassan Ridgeway (29 games played the last 2 years) and Rakeem Nunez-Roches (11 starts last season) are also fighting for a place on the 53-man roster.
In most years, names or resumes like the ones above would be enough for such a player to be challenging for a roster spot with the Colts.
Now, it might be a coin flip as to whether some of these guys will still be on the field come September.
It’s a great, albeit unusual, problem for the Colts in 2018.
It comes after a clear philosophical approach for Chris Ballard this past offseason.
Improve the trenches.
“The fronts will always be important to me,” Ballard pointed out before the 2018 Draft. “Defense and offensive line will always be very important to us.
“It’s hard to win in this league when you’re not good up front. It shows over 16 games and when you get into the playoffs on both O-line and D-line.”
Along the offensive line, the Colts are striving to keep possibly 10 bodies in that deep group.
“My experience has been you are not looking for 5 starters – you are looking for 8 or 9 starters on the offensive line,” Frank Reich says. “That’s usually the way it rolls in a year. You want that depth. You want that competition. That group is so close knit that when you get that level of competition I just think it brings that physicality to the offense that you want. So you’re looking for 8 or 9 starters.”
And up front defensively?
“We’re going to play with 7, 8 defensive linemen and they’re going to play in waves,” Ballard says.
Who will survive in the trenches with two of the more competitive position groups on the team?