The Indianapolis Colts were dealt a potentially major blow prior to this past game, as it was announced that starting center Ryan Kelly was placed on the Covid list, and that he would be unavailable to play against the Houston Texans.
Luckily, the Colts had second-year center Danny Pinter available to step in. Pinter started in place of Kelly in 2020 against the Tennessee Titans, and he filled in admirably as a rookie in his first career start. Heading into a match-up with a much weaker opponent this past weekend, there was very little reason to worry about Pinter's play.
The result was pretty much as we all expected, as Pinter had a strong game and the Colts were able to cruise to a 31-0 victory. In today's film room, I dive into how the young center payed, and how this start shows promise for his future with the team.
Pinter is a rare athlete at interior offensive lineman. His combine and workout numbers pre-draft showcased just how well he moves at his size:
The best thing about those numbers is that he is not just a workout warrior either, this athleticism shows up on film. The Colts' offensive line is littered with elite athletes across the board, but Pinter just moves at a different speed than the rest of the linemen.
This second-level block on a gap-shooting linebacker should be extremely difficult for a center to pull off. The linebacker is shooting the 'B' gap, so Pinter has to get out of his stance and take an aggressive angle to be able to get out in front for the block.
What would normally be a tough block for a center is relatively easy for Pinter. He beats the linebacker to the spot, and drives him out of the gap.
Pinter was initially recruited in college to play tight end and it shows whenever he is able to get out in space. The Colts obviously feel comfortable with him being able to get around the edge from his center spot, so they dialed up a few outside plays for him to get out in space.
On the big reverse to Michael Pittman Jr late in the game, Pinter was leading the charge on the outside. He is such an easy mover and is even able to keep pace on this play with tight end Kylen Granson. It is a major asset to have a player that can move like this on the offensive line.
The biggest area of improvement for Pinter coming out of college was his overall strength. It wasn't necessarily bad, but he certainly needed to add some bulk and muscle to his frame.
In this game, he seemed to be trending in the right direction. He was pushed back a few times, but he looked much stronger at the point of attack for the most part. His most dominating block of the game came in this clip below, where he simply out-muscled his defender and got the pancake on the play.
In this next clip, he is able to drive rookie defensive tackle Roy Lopez (who is a really good young player) out of the way for the pancake.
Overall, this was a strong showing from a young player developing on this team. Danny Pinter may still not be ready to be a full time starter, but he is showing that he is capable of stepping up when the team needs him.
Could he be a starter one day (maybe after Ryan Kelly's contract is up)? I honestly think he can. He is a rare athlete that is showing progress in his game. If he can continue to add more strength and power to his game, there isn't anything stopping him from being a full time starter in this league.
Follow Zach on Twitter @ZachHicks2.