Throughout OTAs and mini-camp, it seemed quite clear that Joe Haeg and Le’Raven Clark are the frontrunners for the starting spots on the right side of the Colts’ offensive line.
Haeg was seen at right guard and Clark was seen at right tackle for most of the time, with little shuffling on the first team either. But even though there are clear favorites, the Colts are entering training camp with that competition still ongoing.
“We’ll go into camp open-minded,” offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski said this week. “There’s nothing set as far as who’s going to be on that side, who’s going to be playing. Like I said, we had a number of guys this spring who we didn’t get a chance to see as much of as we would’ve liked to. For offensive line, especially, that’s one position that until those pads go on and until those guys are out there having to fight their ass off every day that you find out. Really, [what] it boils down to [at] that position is availability and dependability and that’s what we’re going to be looking for when the pads come on.”
That competition will continue into training camp and preseason, and it’s possible that we could see more shuffling then to give other guys a shot. But at the same time, it seems that the Colts really want to see Haeg and Clark win those jobs, and that makes perfect sense. Those two impressed as rookies a year ago and closed out the season as starters, and they’re guys who the team can continue to work with and develop. If those two guys do wind up starting, it would mean that four of the five starters up front will still be playing on their rookie contract, which certainly inspires hope for the future that perhaps the unit will be able to grow well together.
So while the Colts say they’re keeping an open mind about the position battles and likely will promote some more competition in training camp, it also seems by their actions that they view Joe Haeg and Le’Raven Clark as the clear frontrunners. Now those two have to back it up by their performance.