Heading into the Sunday’s game between the Colts and Browns, no one on Cleveland’s starting offensive line had ever missed an NFL start.
The five players combined for 190 starts in their 15 years of NFL experience.
Compare that to an injury-ridden Colts offensive line that was starting the same five players together it had the previous week for the first time all season.
Bruce Arians saw a jump from Week 6 to 7 with his offensive line and is hoping that continues.
“The communication was (better),” Arians said. “It was easier at home than it has been on the road but it was better. It showed up in the running game more than anything.”
The Colts attempted 37 rushes on Sunday afternoon which was seven more than the high from the first five games.
It wasn’t just the attempts that were a season high for the Colts. They turned those carries into 148 yards rushing with 10 of the 37 attempts resulting in first downs.
A balanced Colts offense sits just fine with quarterback Andrew Luck and the rookie knows the continuity among the offensive line is key.
“I think it’s great, especially for the o-line guys knowing who is next to them, knowing their calls, their tendencies, how they operate,” Luck said. “Hopefully we can build off last week’s performance which they did a great job and continue to get better.”
The offensive line might even benefit from a little depth this weekend as offensive guard Joe Reitz was a full participant in practice on Wednesday.
Reitz was the starter at left guard during the preseason but due to a leg injury, he is still waiting to make his debut.
For now, left guard Jeff Linkenbach will continue to start but Arians loves having some options up front.
“He’s going to get more practice time. His reps will grow in practice,” Arians said of Reitz. “Right now I don’t know if we’re ready to make any switches, we’re playing pretty well in there. He’d have to knock my socks off on the practice field to make me take Jeff Linkenbach out of there right now.”
Heading into this week’s matchup with the Titans, the Colts are expected to carry that same starting five of LT-Anthony Castonzo, LG-Linkenbach, C-Samson Satele, RG-Mike McGlynn and RT-Winston Justice on the offensive line for the third straight game.
“I think it’s important to have that continuity. It needed to happen some time,” Justice said with a laugh on Wednesday. “It’s good to have the same guys out there. It’s more important to play with the same person next to you,”
Tags: anthony castonzo, bruce arians, Jeff Linkenbach, joe reitz, mike mcglynn, Samson Satele, winston justice
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