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John Oehser, the man behind the CBS Rapid Reports updates, informed us yesterday that one-time starting left tackle Tony Ugoh is now taking snaps at left guard on the first day of the Colts OTAs. For many (myself included), the thought was 2010 would provide Ugoh an opportunity to reclaim his old job.
But, with this news that the Colts are using Ugoh at guard, it puts a major dent in the hope that Ugoh would return to the left tackle spot for which he was drafted in 2007.
At the Super Bowl, I talked to Tony and asked him specifically about the possibility of moving to guard. He told me he was a tackle, not a guard, and that his focus was to stay a tackle. With John's update yesterday, either Tony changed his mind (which is doubtful) or the Colts simply don't agree that Ugoh is best utilized as a starting left tackle.
Maybe Ugoh can win the starting guard spot and be productive. I certainly hope so because he seems like a good guy who wants to get better. But the reality likely is the Colts view him as a back-up, and back-ups on this team need to be able to play guard and tackle. Last year, the Colts tried using Ugoh at right tackle, and the results were not positive. He started a game against the Titans at left tackle, due to an injury sustained by Charlie Johnson, and the results seemed positive. However, when C.J. got healthy, Ugoh was sent back to the pine once again.
Now, he's playing guard.
I hope he can find a solid spot on this roster, but things do not look good right now for him. Even if he somehow manages to beat out people like Kyle DeVan, Jacques McClendon, Andy Alleman, or Mike Pollak for a guard spot, the investment in Ugoh (a second and a first round pick) simply has not generated much in return. That's a lot for a guy who is working as a guard. I don't think the Colts have ever used a first round pick on a guard in the Bill Polian era, and the last time they used a first day pick on a guard was Pollak, who seems to be even more of a disappointment than Ugoh.
The Colts managed to nearly win a Super Bowl last year with Charlie Johnson as the left tackle, but I don't get the sense people are comfortable with him protecting Peyton Manning's blindside for another 16 games. The hope was that Ugoh would step up, and this most recent news of him playing guard seems to suggest he might not get the chance.