One of the biggest topics of discussion for Colts fans this offseason has been who will be starting along the offensive line - particularly who will be starting at right guard and right tackle.
The other three spots are determined: Anthony Castonzo at left tackle, Jack Mewhort at left guard, and Ryan Kelly at center. The right guard and right tackle spots have plenty of competition this offseason, however, and we'll have to wait until training camp and preseason to find out for sure who wins those spots.
On Wednesday, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson spoke with 1070 the Fan's Dan Dakich about a variety of subjects, especially the offensive line. Dakich asked a very good and simple question to Grigson: who does he want to win the right guard and right tackle spots? I don't think anyone expected a legitimate answer, but Grigson surprised by naming Joe Reitz at right tackle.
"You're talking about right guard and right tackle, right?" Grigson clarified before continuing. "Well, you know, Joe Reitz... [is] an established veteran and whenever he's played he's done a really good job and I think that he's also taken over somewhat of a leadership presence in that group. He's out there every day, he speaks up when he needs to, and when he's been asked to play he's been pretty darn steady. So he's been great for the young tackles to watch and to look at.
"But in terms of right guard I think that it's going to be a battle," Grigson continued. "It's going to be a donnybrook in there, and that's what you want. I think there's going to be a lot of guys vying for that spot and we'll see. Like I said, we'll see what happens but it's a good spot to be in I think for coaches and for personnel men in this building just to see how that's going to all play out because I think it's a win-win situation because whoever wins those spots are going to be the best players."
Grigson's comments about the right guard position are exactly what should have been expected, as he's being noncommittal as there are plenty of options - including Hugh Thornton, Jonotthan Harrison, Denzelle Good, and even Joe Haeg, among others. Grigson basically took a wait and see approach with that position, but those comments made his answer about the right tackle position even more interesting.
Instead of shying away from answering, Grigson answered the question of who he'd like to win the right tackle job by saying Joe Reitz. So far this offseason, Reitz has been working as the first team right tackle and there hasn't really seemed to be much debate so far, particularly with Denzelle Good working at guard. It seems like it's Reitz's job to lose, and when considering Grigson's comments it's possible that Reitz has a larger edge at the spot than we initially thought.
Reitz has been a reliable lineman for a long time for the Colts, as he is entering his seventh year with the franchise. He has appeared in 60 games and has started 38 of them, including making 14 starts last year. He was the starting right tackle for much of the season, and it sounds like he's currently the favorite to start there in 2016 as well. Head coach Chuck Pagano said a few weeks ago that, "If we had to lineup tomorrow and Joe Reitz was our right tackle, I’d feel really good.” Again, it's important to realize that Grigson isn't saying definitively that Reitz will start and it's important to understand that plenty can change before the regular season starts, but so far it seems as if Joe Reitz is clearly the projected starter at right tackle. He's going to have to earn it, but the Colts are hoping he will.