Kevin Mawae knows a thing or two about playing offensive line.
That's why when he speaks against about shifting guys around along the Indianapolis Colts' offensive line to potentially plug a hole at left tackle, we should probably listen.
In a recent media session, Mawae — the Colts' first-year assistant offensive line coach – stated that "you can't just plug players in anywhere on the line" when asked how difficult it is to transition from guard to tackle, or tackle to guard.
“I just think in general, not specifically about this team but just in general, it’s not as easy as everybody thinks it is. I think everybody is like, ‘Just plug them in at guard.’ Well that just doesn’t happen like that. I think there are unique tools and attributes that a guard has to have versus a tackle and a center and just to plug and play is not the right way to go about it. I think obviously, you want to put the best five guys on the field talent wise but also you want to put the best five combination out there. I know that is what the goal is of this organization and we have some talented offensive linemen. It has been fun watching their film and getting to meet them as they trickle in and out of the building from time to time. It’s not as easy as saying, ‘Move this guy to that spot.’ There is a comfortability level athletic wise. There are guys that can do it and then mentally wise there are some guys that can and can’t. There is always that challenge. But I think the biggest goal of any organization is to make sure you have the best five guys available that work the best together.”
Though Mawae wasn't addressing the speculation of moving Quenton Nelson out to left tackle to replace Anthony Castonzo, who retired in January, his statement regarding moving guys around along the offensive line should give us a pretty good handle on where the Colts are at with the idea of moving their superstar guard to a new position.
While Nelson played well in limited action at left tackle last year filling in for Castonzo, who dealt with injuries, he's the best guard in the league, so it would be unwise to shift him out to left tackle, regardless of if he can do it or not.
Mawae is spot on when it comes to plugging anyone in along the line. It's nowhere near as easy as it sounds.
For the Colts to have their best starting 5 combination on the field up front, that starts and ends with Nelson at left guard next to Pro Bowl caliber center Ryan Kelly.
The 2021 NFL Draft offers the Colts a great opportunity to find their next franchise left tackle, not moving Nelson out a spot, creating another hole along the offensive line.
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