I missed this yesterday, but that doesn't make it any less relevant. Mike Chappell was a guest on Dan Dakich's show on 1070 The Fan on Tuesday. The discussion eventually focused on the Colts offensive line, and Chappell's observations are a cause for concern:
Dakich: What about the line? I understand-
Chappell: It's a mess.
Dakich: It is a mess! It looked to be a mess to me, Chap. It looked like a mess.
Chappell: And it's going to be a mess.
Mike Chappell has covered the Colts for a looooooong time. When he raises a red flag about the status of the offensive line, it gets my attention. And from the way Chappell describes the injury situation with the line, we're starting to get into panic mode:
I'd no more put Peyton Manning out in a game with that group than I'd put you out there.
The line right now is not very good.
Right now, I'm worried.
The silver-lining here is that this is preseason, not Week Nine and the team is traveling to Philadelphia to play the Eagles. However, the o-line was a unit that the Colts placed extra emphasis (and criticism) on this past off-season. The group needed a strong, stable training camp to work out who would start, and where. But, with the current injury situation, that has been impossible. When discussing the line's rash of injuries, Chappell said:
It's like that a lot normally in preseason, but not to this extreme.
Chappell is optimistic that Jeff Saturday will be available for the season opener. Charlie Johnson is in a walking boot, and the sense is he will not start at left tackle against the Houston Texans.
Basically, for the rest of preseason, we cannot make any serious judgments about the line or the running backs. In fact, Chappell suggested to Dakich that the Colts might play Peyton less than usual this preseason for fear the scrubs they have in there now will get him hurt.
Not to be too much of a doom and gloomer, but I still do not understand why the Colts did not do more to address depth on the o-line this off-season. Why didn't they draft Charles Brown? Why did they cut Ryan Lilja? Both those guys would be pretty valuable right about now. This unit absolutely must play at a higher level than it did in 2009 if the Colts are to return to the Super Bowl. Right now, they aren't off to a good start.