Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is confident his team’s offensive line issues are a thing of the past.
In Andrew Luck‘s five seasons, the star quarterback has been sacked 156 times – one of the highest such totals in the league. Ex-general manager Ryan Grigson’s inability to build an offensive line capable of protecting the team’s franchise player is one of the major reasons he was fired this offseason.
But now, Irsay believes the Colts are on the right track.
“Let me say this: The offensive line is fixed,” Irsay said this week, according to ESPN’s Mike Wells. “I’m telling you guys, the offensive line is fixed. The reason I’ll tell you it’s fixed is because (former Colts offensive line coach) Howard Mudd told me it’s fixed. If Howard Mudd tells you it’s fixed, trust me, it’s fixed.”
While Grigson was consistently blasted for his poor draft picks, the Colts owe their renewed optimism on the offensive line to their former GM.
Then-rookie center Ryan Kelly was arguably Indy’s best O-lineman last year, as he didn’t give up a single sack. 2014 pick Jack Mewhort is one of the better young guards in the league. And Le’Raven Clark and Joe Haeg – both part of Grigson’s last draft, along with Kelly – are set to start at right tackle and right guard, respectively.
New Colts general manager Chris Ballard only brought in journeyman Brian Schwenke and fourth-rounder Zach Banner to boost the unit this offseason, perhaps highlighting the team’s confidence in its young group.
Concerns certainly remain, however. Luck was hit 128 times in 2016, the second-most in the league, and Pro Football Focus ranked the unit 25th at the end of the 2016 campaign.
“We’ve worked hard to bring in the right type of players (on the offensive line),” Irsay said. “We’re ready to run the football and protect Andrew.”
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