One of the biggest position battles that will take place for the Indianapolis Colts this offseason is at the center position, and it's important for the Colts to find continuity up front. There was no team in the NFL that had less continuity along their offensive line in 2014 than the Colts did, and head coach Chuck Pagano said earlier this offseason that continuity along the line is a "premium." And then on Tuesday, Jonotthan Harrison - who is competing for the starting center spot - mentioned that consistency will likely be the biggest deciding factor on who wins the battle.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was also asked about the center position on Tuesday, the first day of mandatory mini-camp for the Colts. And Luck, the face of the franchise, the best player on the team, and someone who works very closely with the center, said that the quarterback's relationship with the center is crucial.
"Very important," Luck said. "I mean, paramount. The nice thing is guys fight for the spot that have played and done really good things in games. The chemistry is there, we'll just keep working on it. I think it makes things, I don't want to say easier. I don't think anything's really is ever easier in the NFL, but it can make things simpler when you know the center and the certain nuisances that the guy has in a practice at nausea with them in games and I think that helps."
The good thing for Luck is that he has worked with both of the centers who are competing for the starting spot before. Khaled Holmes spent the 2013 season with the Colts, though he hardly played in any games. He was the projected starter all throughout the 2014 offseason and into training camp, however, so Luck got experience working with him then, and Holmes ended up starting the final five games at center (the last two regular season games and the three playoff games). As for Jonotthan Harrison, Luck worked with him in preseason after Holmes was injured on the opening drive, and then Harrison started ten games in his rookie season. So regardless of who ends up as the starter, Luck has experience working with him. The big thing now will be continuity up front in having the same player there every week.
"Yeah, I think so," Luck agreed when asked if he'd like to see one guy wind up nailing down the spot. "You always want continuity at every position I think, but at the same time, you realize football is football and things happen that sometimes are out of your control. You've got to make best with what you've got."
That last phrase, "make the best with what you've got," has been a continual theme for the Colts over Luck's first three years, as the offensive line has been less than impressive during Luck's time in Indy so far and has been a group that the management keeps mixing and matching trying to find something that works. So for Andrew Luck, he's been just dealing with whatever line is in front of him and trying to play as well as they can with the unit in there. And knowing that makes one wonder even more how much better the Colts' offense could be with a consistent line in front of Luck.
That's the hope for 2015, and it starts with the center position and the competition that is currently going on there. Whoever ends up winning that battle, hopefully it will be someone who can stay at the spot for an extended period of time and develop a great quarterback/center relationship with Andrew Luck.