Just a day before the Indianapolis Colts jumped out to a 24-7 lead early against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a shadow of doubt rolled into the minds of Colts’ fans when it was announced that the team would be without starting offensive tackles Braden Smith (Covid list) and Anthony Castonzo (knee/ankle) against the top pass-rushing defense in the NFL.
This was a recipe for disaster going into this game as Will Holden and Chaz Green were in line to make their first starts of the season (Holden making his first career NFL start). So today I took on the daunting task of looking at the film on these tackles and seeing how the day went for them against this stout Steelers’ defense. Shield your eyes Colts’ fans as this film room will not be pretty.
Will Holden actually wasn’t terrible
Adding fuel to the fire for the people who say that anybody could be better than Chaz Green or LeRaven Clark, Will Holden actually looked adequate on Sunday. Holden is a 6’7” 325-pound journeyman tackle who the Colts claimed off the Ravens’ practice squad a few weeks back. While he has very little athleticism and doesn’t hold blocks well at all at the point of attack, he does have great size and length. These two factors alone helped him win enough in the pass game to be adequate.
Will Holden looked like a typical backup NFL tackle who isn't Chaz Green or J'Marcus Webb. He was fine enough to not be a major liability but not great by any means. He's a huge and lengthy tackle who could at least hold defendersaway long enough in pass pro pic.twitter.com/HET09Gnj4U— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) December 30, 2020
He was serviceable in the run game for those same factors above as well. He couldn’t really reach anybody in space or get out in front of the run game but he operated well inside with his size and strength. If he was asked to do anything such as down blocking or just driving a defensive tackle out from the inside then he was fine. He didn’t necessarily improve the run game but he didn’t do anything to hurt it either.
Overall Holden was your typical backup offensive tackle on Sunday. A below-average player overall but his play didn’t hurt or hinder the offense by any means. When your backup offensive tackle isn’t a complete liability then I consider that a win. Holden certainly earned a chance to make the team again next year as a depth player with this start. That being said, this performance wasn’t great by any means as he is extremely labored in his movements and was exposed a bit when left on an island like this rep below.
Chaz Green was Chaz Green
I feel like we all know who Chaz Green is at this point of the year because he has unfortunately played as much as he has at tackle in 2020. The famed Cowboys offensive tackle who once gave up six sacks in a game to defensive end Adrian Clayborn years ago has not improved whatsoever in his NFL career. He has good size and strength for the position and isn’t a bad run blocker by any means but his ability in pass protection is simply awful. He has some of the worst feet for the position that I have seen and he has no clue what to do with his hands when a defender approaches him.
I figured going in that this would be a bloodbath with Green matched up with one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in TJ Watt. It turned out to be exactly that on Sunday. Green’s feet in pass pro look like he’s trying to walk through a room with broken glass all over the floor. Just tiptoes through his steps and invites contact inside. The Colts should never play him another down at offensive tackle in live game action again. At this point, how much worse can rookie Carter O’Donnell (practice squad UFDA) really be?
The lone bright spot about Green is that he is a strong player who can finish defenders at times. I do think he could make it as a depth IOL player in the league perhaps. He isn’t a liability in the run game and he has the right mindset to win inside. I just can’t take another snap of him at offensive tackle for this team.
Chaz Green should never play OT in the NFL again. I do think however he could be a passable depth guard. He does have good power and finishes blocks. Again though, never play him at OT again. He at least knocks some dudes over though lol pic.twitter.com/bbSHuKyML5— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) December 30, 2020
J’Marcus Webb made my eyes bleed
Early in the fourth quarter, Will Holden went down with an ankle injury that would sideline him for the rest of the game. This led to Colts’ legend J’Marcus Webb making his season debut. Webb spent time with the Colts in the past and it wasn’t pretty back then either. This performance made me miss watching Chaz Green on the right side. Webb looked like he didn’t belong on an NFL field in his limited snaps as he couldn’t even stay in front of the Steelers’ pass rushers. This was a truly ugly game for the veteran offensive tackle who should be released from the Colts’ practice squad yesterday.
The J'Marcus Webb experience. Please never let him see the field for the Colts again pic.twitter.com/vd2XhLd6c0— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) December 30, 2020
My two takeaways from this offensive tackle performance were that Will Holden isn’t too bad as a backup tackle and that we really undervalue how good Braden Smith and Anthony Castonzo are. These are two top tackles in the league and their absence was felt on Sunday. Hopefully, the Colts’ can get at least one of these players back for this Week 17 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.