If you’re tuning in for today’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings, be prepared for some protection problems for the Colts as they try to keep Andrew Luck clean.
That’s because the Colts will be starting three rookies up front, something they’ve done only one other time this year - and the Jaguars recorded six sacks in that game. With left guard Jack Mewhort out for the year and right guard Denzelle Good and right tackle Joe Reitz both injured as well, the Colts will be short-handed up front. So they’ll be starting Anthony Castonzo at left tackle like normal, with Jonotthan Harrison starting at left guard (where he’s made exactly one career start). Ryan Kelly will be at center like normal and then Joe Haeg will continue to start at right guard, with Le’Raven Clark making his first ever start as he’ll be at right tackle. Clark not only has never started a game, but he’s also played in only a few NFL snaps after being selected as a project player in this year’s draft.
Earlier this year when the Colts started three rookies, they opted to have Austin Blythe at right guard and Joe Haeg at right tackle, which didn’t work too well - but it told you what they thought of Clark. So hopefully the fact that they’re ok starting him now means he’s improved. Either way, though, with the combination of Clark and Haeg on the right side the Colts are going to need to give them significant help. That makes Anthony Castonzo (and Jon Harrison) even more important, as he’s going to need to be able to handle the left side of the line.
The Colts have struggled to protect the quarterback for years now, and they’re facing a defense that’s great at getting after the quarterback. To complicate matters, the Colts are dealing with several injuries up front, and Andrew Luck is also dealing with a sore shoulder and elbow after taking a beating last week. In addition to the linemen who are out, the Colts will be without starting wide receiver Donte Moncrief, meaning that it’ll be Phillip Dorsett as the number two wideout. And Art Jones will also be out, which should help the Vikings run game.
Here’s the full list of inactives for the Colts:
Donte Moncrief, WR (hamstring)
Duke Williams, S
Charles James, CB
Deiontrez Mount, OLB
Denzelle Good, OL (concussion)
Joe Reitz, OL (back)
Art Jones, DL (groin)