During their Week 5 game against the Denver Broncos last Thursday, the Indianapolis Colts made several significant changes along the offensive line for the first time this season.
Rookie Bernhard Raimann made his first career start at left tackle while Braden Smith, who usually plays right tackle, slid over to right guard and Matt Pryor moved over to right tackle after playing the first four games on the left side.
Despite Indianapolis’ effort to shuffle their offensive line, pass protection remained a major issue against the Broncos’ pass rush as quarterback Matt Ryan was under duress most of the night and sacked a total of six times.
Colts’ head coach Frank Reich spoke with local media members on Monday and provided some insight into whether or not the team would continue to shuffle around their offensive line moving forward.
“We’ve had some small conversations,” Reich said. “We’ll get at those discussions this week here early on later today and tomorrow and solidify what our plan will be going forward.”
It appears that Reich and the rest of the Colts’ decision-makers remain open to the idea of making more offensive line changes going forward, and they’re hoping to find the right combination that can help create more consistency.
“We’d love to settle in here and find the right mix,” Reich said.
When asked about the decision to make such drastic changes to the offensive line on a short week, Reich said there was “no hesitation” in the team’s choice to switch things up.
“We discussed it, but (there was) no hesitation,” Reich said. “We’ve had some cumulative reps, and we’ve got confidence in our guys. We’re trying to put the best (starting) five on the field.”
The unit as a whole has vastly underperformed through the first five weeks, struggling in the running game and pass protection. Indianapolis’ once top-ranked unit is currently tied for first in the NFL in sacks surrendered with 21.
Colts running backs haven’t had much luck on the ground this season either, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry. Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3.1), Los Angeles Rams (3.2), and Cincinnati Bengals (3.3) have a worse average over the first five weeks.
While Indianapolis currently sits at 2-2-1, their offensive line issues have been front and center and have held the potential of the offense back since the start of the season. To have the kind of production they want/need to have on offense, it’s imperative the Colts find a resolution to their offensive line troubles.