There's no doubt that the biggest priority for the Indianapolis Colts this offseason has been their offensive line.
Though not very active in free agency, the Colts had eight picks in the 2016 NFL Draft and used half of them to add offensive linemen, including first round center Ryan Kelly. Furthermore, the Colts also hired a new offensive line coach in Joe Philbin, someone the Colts seem very excited to have around.
Philbin spent the past four seasons as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, where he went 24-28 before being fired after week four in 2015. He served as the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers for five years before that, but previously had spent 21 years coaching offensive linemen at various different stops. As Philbin was considering his next move this offseason, Colts owner Jim Irsay personally met with him to stress the importance of improving the offensive line in Indianapolis. Whether it was Irsay's comments or something else, Philbin wound upcoming to the Colts, where he took over a position group that has struggled in recent years. The Colts are hoping that Philbin can help turn that around.
"I mean you just look at his resume and what he's done in this league," Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said on Saturday. "We talked about what a great resource he'd be, not only for me but everybody in this building. We can all learn from a Joe Philbin type guy, a guy that's been around, been a head coach, spent a lot of time coaching and working at his craft. He's got a ton of experience. There are a lot of things. He's a great teacher, he's a great person. He's developing these guys not only along with all our other guys but helping these guys. We're trying to give them tools to not only be the best football players that they can be, but give them the tools necessary so they can be great men off the field as well. He's a great role model. He's a great teacher. We got lucky we got him."
Philbin also takes over the role of assistant head coach for Pagano, but his biggest task is improving the offensive line. The Colts, for their part, are trying to give their new position coach a lot to work with. Ryan Kelly steps in as an immediate starter at center, while guys like Le'Raven Clark and Joe Haeg are talented players who Philbin can work with to help develop. Even guys like Hugh Thornton and Denzelle Good, who were already on the roster, could benefit from Philbin's coaching.
None of this means that the Colts' offensive line will be great in 2016, nor does it mean that Philbin will have the magic solution to turn the entire unit around immediately. But it's clear that the Colts think very highly of their new offensive line coach and that he has been a big part of their offseason focus on adding talent up front. Hopefully, the addition of more talent and a new position coach adds up to equal a lot of success for the Colts and for Andrew Luck.