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Chuck Pagano: Joe Reitz is “a damn good football player,” Colts’ starting right tackle

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars Jim Steve-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Reitz has always proven to be reliable in his career with the Indianapolis Colts. He’s at times been underrated and has often been relegated to a depth role, but through it all he has managed to stick around with the team and carve out a nice role. That role has expanded in the last two years, as he has made 18 starts. Last year, he started 14 of the Colts’ 16 games.

Reitz has been a good football player, and he entered camp as the first-team right tackle. As camp as gone on, we’ve noticed clearly that there really isn’t much competition at the spot either, as Reitz has taken pretty much all of the first-team reps at the spot. Is it accurate to go ahead and say he’s the Colts’ starter at the spot?

According to head coach Chuck Pagano, it is. “He’s the starting right tackle,” Pagano confirmed this morning.

Pagano also explained why he’s comfortable with Reitz as the starter.

“He’s played winning football,” Pagano said. “He played a lot of winning football last year for us. And again, we talk about abilities all the time and you can check off all the boxes on him: coachability, reliability, availability. He’s checked them all off. The guy’s a damn good football player, and he’s tough and he’s smart and he’s a great teammate. The only thing that matters to him is winning and doing what he has to do to win.”

That echoes what the Colts have previously said about Reitz as well. Earlier this offseason, Pagano said that if the Colts had Reitz starting at right tackle “I’d feel really good.” A few weeks later, general manager Ryan Grigson was asked who he wanted to win the right tackle spot and he responded by talking about Reitz.

Reitz is a versatile player who can fill a number of roles for Indianapolis. He’s their starting right tackle, but he’s also likely still their emergency left tackle - meaning if Anthony Castonzo were to get hurt, it’d probably be Reitz filling in like he did last year. In addition to all of that, Reitz also has the ability to play at guard (he made one start there last year) and can be moved inside if the need arises. So he can play four of five offensive line spots and do a reliable job as he does so, which is why he’s been an ideal depth guy for the Colts and has stuck around since 2010. He has proven that he’s one of their best five lineman, however, and so the Colts are giving him the chance to start. Though the right guard position is still up for grabs, it appears the right tackle position isn’t.