If you’ve watched even one training camp practice this year, you’d get the sense that Denzelle Good is the frontrunner to win the right guard spot.
Really ever since the first two or three days of camp, Good has taken the majority - or to use a Chuck Pagano term, the “lion’s share” - or reps with the first team at the position. That was happening even while Hugh Thornton was practicing, and it’s happening even more now that Thornton is out and has his foot in a boot.
The Colts have still not said who their starting right guard will be and have continued to emphasize competition, but offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski’s comments about the position today are as close as we’ve come to hearing them say Good is the guy.
“We’ve had some injuries and we’ve had to move some guys around,” Chud said. “Again, I think the preseason games will be telling. Hopefully we can get them back in practice and in playing so that we can get that good evaluation. I think right now where we’re at Denzelle has gotten the most reps. You’ve seen growth from him in understanding and making that transition from the tackle position, which is different. Guard and tackle are different. Things happen faster inside, but he was a guy who had experience at right tackle, feel like giving him some reps and giving him a look at right guard. It’s good, we can always move him back to tackle if it’s necessary as we’re working through the season.”
So basically, Chud is saying that Denzelle Good is getting the most reps right now and that he’s making the transition to guard. They might still decide to move him back to tackle at some point this year if the need arises, but notice that it didn’t sound imminent or like something they’re planning on doing during preseason or before the year. Right now, he’s a guard, and he’s received the bulk of the first team reps. Chud is confident that Good will be able to make the transition, but preseason will be critical.
“The preseason games and then continuing through the practices for the next couple of weeks – that evaluation period is going to be critical and we’ll be able to tell that,” Chud said. “From the signs that I’m seeing, I think he’s going to be fine at guard or at least give us the ability to play him at two positions.”
Yesterday, head coach Chuck Pagano was even more committal to Good staying at guard as he explained that the reasoning for the move was to get their best five linemen in, and the right guard spot was the one open. That of course doesn’t rule out a switch back to tackle at some point, but right now the biggest need is at right guard and so that’s where Good is playing. Considering the fact that Hugh Thornton is having a disastrous camp and that Denzelle Good has emerged at the position, it’s very clear: Good is very much the frontrunner to win the right guard spot.