For the past several years, one of the biggest concerns that the Indianapolis Colts have had has been their offensive line. During the time span they had two different franchise quarterbacks (and five different quarterbacks total), two different coaching staffs, and two different general managers - yet the offensive line struggles have remained.
As the team set out to address many of their needs, one of the most obvious ones was again the line. In particular, the Colts needed to address the right guard position. In 2014, Lance Louis started nine games there, Hugh Thornton started seven games, and Joe Reitz started two games. Thornton was awful last season, and while both Louis and Reitz did an admirable job filling in at points (particularly Louis for the playoff run), the Colts clearly needed an upgrade there.
The Colts hope that they've found a short-term fix at the position in signing veteran offensive lineman Todd Herremans. Drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005 while Ryan Grigson was a scout, and Herremans would go on to play the next ten seasons in Philly. He played in 127 games total, starting 124, and he showed an ability to play four of five spots along the line - both tackle spots and both guard spots. It's that versatility that the Colts love in their linemen, and the familiarity between the player and Grigson, the Colts' general manager, made it an ideal fit.
Clearly, the 32-year old Herremans isn't the long-term answer at the position. But for a team that has had massive struggles along the line for several years now, even a good short-term fix would be a welcome change. If Herremans can give the Colts a solid, consistent season of production, he would already be a significant upgrade. And that's why this move was absolutely a good one - the Colts got a lineman who is versatile and can play almost anywhere along the line, while at the same time providing the ability to step in and start at right guard.
Herremans suffered a torn biceps in week eight of the 2014 season, played in week nine, but was then placed on season-ending injured reserve. He can still play at a solid level when healthy, and that's what the Colts are counting on. With injury concerns about right tackle Gosder Cherilus and a big need at right guard, the signing of Herremans made perfect sense (as did the re-signing of versatile backup and spot starter Joe Reitz). Herremans could play outside at tackle if Cherilus struggles or is still injured, and if the Colts opt to play Reitz at guard, but it seems pretty certain that he'll enter training camp as the starting right guard. He'd be a significant upgrade at the position, and his versatility and experience should help the Colts.
They haven't completely fixed their offensive line struggles, but the unit is looking much stronger in 2015 if everyone can stay healthy. The addition of Todd Herremans certainly is a part of the improvement, as he looks to be an upgrade for the team at right guard and a versatile player to have around regardless of where he plays.
Quick Summary: Todd Herremans:
Weight: 321 pounds
Age: 32 years old
Years Pro: Spent ten years with the Eagles (2005-2014)
College: Saginaw Valley State
Drafted: Selected in the fourth round of the 2005 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles
Stats: Played in 127 games along the offensive line for the Eagles (starting 124) across four of the five offensive line positions.
Contract: 1-year, $2.25 million with $1 million guaranteed (per Spotrac)