The Indianapolis Colts began phase three of their offseason program on Monday, meaning that they have officially begun OTAs. That means that they can get on the field and do team drills, though there's still no live contact permitted.
Trying to learn things about the team from OTAs often proves to be a waste of time, as there's always so much that changes. For example, the starting lineup in OTAs can often be one of the biggest things to note, but often times the lineup in OTAs can just be teams trying out different things with certain players and not actually indicative of their actual plan. That's my preface: we can't really ever know for sure when it comes to lineups in May.
Still, the Colts' 'first-team' offensive line in Monday's OTA session had many fans wondering. Colts.com posted an extensive photo gallery of Monday's practice, and from it you can tell a lot about what was going on. In the gallery, it looks like the first team offensive line was as follows: Anthony Castonzo at left tackle, Jack Mewhort at left guard, Ryan Kelly at center, Jonotthan Harrison at right guard, and Joe Reitz at right tackle.
The left side is absolutely no surprise (though Mewhort at left guard may surprise some in the national media who apparantly didn't pay attention to the Colts last season), and Ryan Kelly at center was obvious as well. But the right side of the line was one that prompted a lot of questions. Jonotthan Harrison with the first team unit at guard? And Joe Reitz at right tackle over Denzelle Good?
To be honest, it wouldn't be surprising at all to see Reitz wind up starting at right tackle, so that wasn't as much of a surprise. The real surprise was seeing Harrison - who has played center for the Colts the past few years - working with the first team. We saw a week ago that the Colts were trying him at guard (which makes total sense), and Monday's gallery showed Austin Blythe working with the second team at center. The real surprise was that Harrison was with the first team, and that left many wondering whether Hugh Thornton - the presumptive starter - is injured.
Some of those questions seem to have been cleared up a bit today when the media got their first look at an OTA session. FOX59's Mike Chappell tweeted a picture from the practice that shows Thornton in a baseball cap standing on the sidelines observing, indicating that he wasn't practicing today. The Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder also noted that Denzelle Good was sitting out of practice as well.
Those reports today make Monday's OTA photo gallery make much more sense and reminds us that we can't read too much into lineups in May. The lineup the Colts are working with right now along the offensive line could change before the end of OTAs, by training camp, by preseason, or by the regular season - especially since these lineups are impacted by injuries.
The real question is not what the starting lineup is but what injuries Thornton and Good are recovering from. The Colts don't provide an injury update during the offseason program and we haven't heard anything about the injuries yet, so it's certainly a question at this point in time. But the subject of the starting offensive line right now? It's still fluid, and with these injuries it's impossible to determine what the Colts actually plan to do with the unit this fall.