There aren't many connections in sports like that of a quarterback and center in football because, well, let's face it - a quarterback spends every snap with his hands on the center's butt. But more than that, the center is tasked with calling the offensive line's protection for the quarterback and is himself responsible to both get the ball to the quarterback and protect the quarterback. So, it's safe to say that the quarterback/center duo is an important one.
Colts fans should know this full well. The duo of Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday reached historic levels and is one of, if not the, best quarterback/center duos the NFL has ever seen. So far in his NFL career, Andrew Luck has had Samson Satele and then Mike McGlynn in relief, but neither of those guys were great centers (though, to be fair, McGlynn did a solid job when asked to step in). Many thought the Colts would add a center through free agency this year, but they didn't do that, nor did they add one through the draft. Instead, they're relying fully on second year man Khaled Holmes, who hardly played at all last season, to step in and lead the offensive line and protect the team's franchise player. That's a lot to ask of him, but so far, it seems like the connection between Luck and Holmes is going well.
A few weeks ago, Andrew Luck was asked how much time he was spending working with Holmes:
"It's normal time we would be spending with a center. Per rules, we're not allowed to be on the field getting extra snaps and such. As soon as we can, I'm sure we will. That center-quarterback exchange really starts everything, probably the most elementary fundamental part of a play. I know when you fumble one, it stinks and we pride ourselves on making sure we get 100 percent of those, which we will no matter which center-quarterback combination is in the game."
Again last week, Luck was asked how Holmes was doing:
"Khaled's doing a great job. Communication is key, talking and pointing out. Every center that's been in there has done a great job. It's been fun to start this process with them and get them going. We know there's a lot more work to do there. We've got a long way to go from my end, from their end, from everybody's end, but definitely on the right path."
Left tackle Anthony Castonzo, the most reliable and consistent player on the Colts offensive line, was also asked about last week about how Holmes is progressing:
"He's doing well. He's doing a really good job of making all the calls. I don't see him much in the one-on-one situations because I'm watching myself on film, to be perfectly honest with you. But as a tackle with the relationship that we have to have, he's doing a real good job keeping us on the same page."
Clearly, the Colts's center position is one that people are watching (though don't ask Ryan Grigson about it), and rightfully so. A guy who has had zero NFL starts and only a handful of NFL snaps in his career is being asked to step into the middle of the Colts offensive line, call out the protections, get the ball to Andrew Luck, block for the running backs, and protect the team's franchise player. Especially considering that in recent years the interior of the offensive line has been terrible and fans have noticed, all eyes will be on the interior of the line again this year, and specifically all eyes will be on Khaled Holmes.
How will he do? I honestly don't know, but I think he will do alright. Based on what his teammates are saying, it sounds like he already is - at least in the eyes of the quarterback, which is certainly a good thing.