Colts looking for consistency on offensive line
ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) The Colts' offense has a franchise quarterback, two talented tight ends, several skilled wide receivers, a 1,000-yard rusher and one major inconsistency.
For the fourth straight season, Indianapolis is trying to establish an offensive line that can stay intact through the season.
Last season, the Colts used 10 different starters on the offensive line, and in the previous 32 regular-season games Indianapolis used 18 different combinations on its offensive line.
''When you give me those numbers, that's pretty staggering,'' Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said Saturday.
''It's up there at the top of the list. I'm as eager as everybody else to find those five guys, and the sooner the better.''
Despite its offensive line struggles, Indianapolis has managed to win 11 regular-season games the previous three seasons.
Pagano said that success is a credit to the coaches and players.
But with `Super Bowl or bust' expectations heading into 2015, the Colts are trying to figure out the solution to their problem on the line in order to keep their offensive output near the top of the league.
Last season, Indianapolis had the third-best offense in the NFL, with 4,894 yards passing and 1,612 yards rushing.
With the addition of veterans Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, the Colts should maintain their lofty stats if the offensive line can keep Luck healthy and give Gore room. And a key to consistently doing so is keeping the same group together all season.
''It's ideal if you can have one group that's going to be together the whole season,'' veteran left tackle Anthony Castanzo said.
''With having a back like Frank, now, it definitely puts the onus on (the offensive line) because he's proven if the holes are there he's going to (have success) and we recognize what we've got at quarterback. If we give (Luck) time he can make some special things happen.''
Indianapolis has shuffled lineman from guard to tackle. Last season, Jack Mewhort started 13 of 14 games at right guard. In Week 17 against Tennessee, Mewhort moved to right tackle, and that is where he'll start this season.
Mewhort's move to right tackle is the first step in a consistent lineup on the offensive line heading into the season.
''I don't even worry about (right tackle). I sleep well at night knowing that (Mewhort) is in there,'' Pagano said. ''He's been great. He's consistent. He doesn't make mental errors. He's the right guy - run game, pass game - he's going to be a good player for us.''
Mewhort replaces the Colts former right tackle, Gosder Cherilus, who was released by the team two weeks ago. The decision to release Cherilus, and start Mewhort where he finished the 2014 season, is reflective of a coaching staff that has been active in addressing offensive line concerns.
Some of the other options for Indianapolis include Joe Reitz, who started at guard in four of the 10 games he competed in 2014. The Colts have rotated Khaled Holmes and Jonotthan Harrison at the center position during the first week of training camp.
Harrison played in 15 games last season, starting at center in 10. Holmes played in five games at both center and guard, starting two at center.
''Last year we had so many different lineups. I think it will be nice to have a set unit and go out there week in week out,'' Mewhort said. ''I'm working hard every day to be on the field because there are some special things going on around here and I want to be a part of that.''
Notes: T.Y. Hilton returned to practice Saturday after missing Friday's practice for personal reasons. Hilton's absence on Friday was excused by the Colts.
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