With all the talk about the Colts’ offensive line questions, one player who doesn’t get talked about much is left tackle Anthony Castonzo.
The 28-year old Castonzo has been a starter at left tackle for the Colts sicne entering the NFL in 2011 and has started 89 games in total, and a few years ago he was signed to a contract extension (he still has three years remaining on the deal).
But over the past two years, something else has become noticeable: Castonzo’s inconsistency. He has struggled at times and it has been concerning because the Colts need him to be a reliable player up front. His struggles were seen early in the 2016 season, but as the year went on he seemed to find a bit more consistency. His goal entering the 2017 season is to play with that same consistency all year.
“I felt like I finished the season better,” Castonzo said, according to the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder. “I probably had a couple of games that I wish I could have back last year, but overall I played more consistent than I did the previous season. I kind of want to take what I started doing at the end of the year, playing consistently, and just bring that forward into this year.”
It is important for Castonzo to be able to do that, because the Colts can’t afford to have him struggle. They have enough question marks up front as it is, mainly pertaining to the right side of the line of the development of their younger players. To have Castonzo continue to be inconsistent and struggle would be a step backwards for a line that hopes to make some significant strides forward in 2017.
That consistency is indeed the main issue with Castonzo. He’s a good left tackle and is very solid talent-wise, but the problem over the past two years is that he hasn’t always shown that. The Colts aren’t going to give up on him yet - after all, who would they get to replace him? - but they would love to see more reliable play out of their left tackle. If that happens, then the offensive line should continue to improve, with Castonzo holding down the left tackle spot, Jack Mewhort at left guard, and Ryan Kelly at center. If the younger guys do develop on the right side, then the line could be pretty good.
Castonzo also knows that, as the veteran of the offensive line room, realizes that with such a young unit he’ll be looked to as the leader.
“And that kind of drives home even more how much I have to take a leadership responsibility,” he said. “You have some young guys who can develop into a heck of a team... If the right example is set for them, a winning example and a winning culture, I think there could be a lot of success here as there has been in the past. We have to keep that rolling.”
Part of keeping that rolling includes Castonzo playing at a more consistent level, and that’s something he’s aware of and working toward too.