According to head coach Frank Reich, the Indianapolis Colts’ coaching staff and top brass has not discussed any changes among its starting offensive line yet—despite the unit’s ongoing struggles, particularly in pass protection (via ESPN’s Stephen Holder):
No surprise that unblocked rushers a key topic on Frank Reich's Zoom call...— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) September 26, 2022
"I felt like there were more free rushers than there's been against us in a long time... It's uncharacteristic of what we've done."
Regarding OL changes, "That has not been discussed."
Even though the Colts were expected to feature one of the league’s best offensive lines, the unit has been far from it to start the season after three weeks—as every starting offensive lineman besides Quenton Nelson has endured his fair share of struggles.
Colts starting veteran quarterback Matt Ryan is being pressured, hit, and sacked at an alarming rate right now—and far too much to win games:
Matt Ryan average pocket time (time between snap and throw or pressure in seconds) per PFR:— Nathan (Curious Colt) (@Curious_Colt) September 26, 2022
2018 - 2.3
2019 - 2.5
2020 - 2.6
2021 - 2.4
2022 - 1.6
Matt Ryan is currently on pace to take 68 sacks, which would be 20 more than his career-high 48 in 2019, which were the most in the NFL that season.— Nate Atkins (@NateAtkins_) September 27, 2022
He's 37 years old.
The Colts have to fix this NOW.
From @JoelAErickson: https://t.co/NaTNhjRz7F
On the other side of things, Matt Ryan averaged 2.52 seconds to throw, the sixth-fastest mark in the NFL.— Joel A. Erickson (@JoelAErickson) September 26, 2022
Which makes the 5 sacks and 10 QB hits the Colts allowed all the more damning. https://t.co/aUn0bfEd3u
The Colts have to clean it up—and a lot of it is coachable and correctable, as the offensive line has simply failed to pick up stunts and twists along the opposing defensive line, as well as left oncoming blitzers unmarked to routinely wreak havoc in their backfield.
Further, Ryan is 37 years old and while he’s a little bit more mobile than you might think at his advanced football age, he’s purely a pocket passer. If the Colts cannot keep him clean, healthy, and/or upright, it’s going to be a long season.
At this point, it’s fair to wonder whether a shakeup along the offensive line could also be necessary. In particular, 3rd-year starting right guard Danny Pinter, who’s replacing longtime veteran starter Mark Glowinski this season, has struggled at his new position.
While Pinter played well in limited relief of Ryan Kelly at starting center last season, he doesn’t look nearly as natural at right guard—as he may not have the play strength and leverage to consistently win matchups (and looks highly susceptible to a good bull rush).
There’s been a few alternatives thrown around among Colts fans circles:
1) Starting 2nd-year offensive guard Will Fries in place of Pinter.
2) Starting rookie Bernhard Raimann at left tackle and moving Matt Pryor to right guard.
3) Swapping Ryan Kelly and Danny Pinter’s starting positions.
Three seems like a significant longshot given that Kelly, despite his diminished play this season, is still a former 3x NFL Pro Bowler and All-Pro at center. You may run the risk of weakening two starting positions.
The first two could be much more realistic options, but as of now, there’s no anticipated moves along the offensive line—although that could certainly change, even later this week.