Colt's offensive line was a massive problem against Oakland. It wasn't even close to "good" last year either. The offensive line unit is probably the weak link on the roster. However, it was the first regular season game that Anthony Castonzo, Donald Thomas, Samson Satele, Mike McGlynn and Gosder Cherilus have had together. Two of the guys weren't even on the Colts roster last year (ironically though, those two were probably the best olinemen last week). Another guy, Castonzo, was coming off an injury and still looks injured, but is still young and (in my opinion) pretty talented. He played uncharacteristically shockingly against Oakland (he's usually slightly above average). Another guy, appears a bit lackluster, but played well for another team (Samson Satele). The last guy (Mike McGlynn), is probably the worst starting player on the Colt starting offense. He only joined the Colts at the start of last year, however (given his decline) we all hope that he gets replaced by the already better and younger Hugh Thornton by mid season. So Colt's fans, why am I saying is the poor offensive line play NOT an issue to worry about as it SHOULD be expected? One word: COHESION. This group had it's FIRST GAME with each other- it is impossible for them to perform like the San Francisco's or New England Patriot's offensive line when they are not used to each other.
THE SAN FRANCISCO'S OLINE
This group is certainly top 3 in the league. The way San Francisco's management built this group is the main reason for their offensive dominance in recent years (and the main reason it made Alex Smith perform like a very efficient QB). Joe Staley: drafted 28th Overall, 2007 draft by the San Francisco 49ers and he has played/started 83 games for them. Anthony Davis: drafted 11th Overall, 2010 draft, he has played/started 49 regular season games for the Niners. Alex Boone: undrafted, has played 34 games (started 17) for the 49ers since 2010. Mike Iupati: 17th overall, 2010 draft, has played/started 48 games for the 49ers. Jonathon Goodwin: drafted 2002 for the NY Jets, signed with the 49ers in 2011.
This group has been with each other since 2010. They are coherent. They know each other's play and it shows on game day. It wasn't an overnight thing. Four of the guys have played with each other for 48 games (Boone being the outcast). Props to the San Francisco 49ers. They treated the offensive line like a project: not something where you plug guys in an expect results straight away. This, given their production, appears to be the best way to build an oline.
THE DENVER BRONCOS OLINE
This is another oline that I think performs nicely (when your team is coming off a 13-3 record and a 7 passing touchdown game, your oline must be pretty darn good- don't give all the credit to the WRs and QB).The Denver Broncos follows the trend. Yes, they brought in a very talented Louis Vasquez from the Chargers, who saw his first game in the orange. But Orlando Franklin (2011, 33 games started), Manny Ramirez (joined Broncos in 2011)/ Chris Kuper (86 games for the Broncos, joined Broncos in 2006), Ryan Clady (joined the Broncos in 2008, 81 games) and Zane Beadles (joined Broncos in 2010, 49 games) have all had extensive experience in Denver.
NEW ENGLAND OLINEVollmer, Connolly, Wendell and Mankins have ALL played with each other since 2009. Nate Soldier joined in 2011. No wonder Brady always gets 765 seconds in the pocket every time he drops back.
Obviously, there is more to building an offensive line than having guys play heaps of games with each other: the talent, size, intelligence, vision, etc. of the men also play a role. But knowing the system, knowing how to communicate with the guys next to you comes from staying on a unit for a extensive period of time. This certainly helps the big guys perform and that is exactly what the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots have on their teams. The result is having a QB NOT run for his life. I think the Colts replace McGlynn with Thornton and keep McGlynn as a backup by mid-season. But the talent is there with Anthony Castonzo, Donald Thomas, Samson Satele and Gosder Cherilus. Time will improve these guys.