It’s an extra familiar homecoming for newly signed Colts offensive guard Trai Essex.
Not only will the 6-foot-5-inches 324 pounds Essex be back in the state he went to high school but he will also be reunited with his offensive coordinator and position coach.
Essex graduated from Fort Wayne Harding High School in 2001 and has spent all seven of his NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He will now be playing in the same offense Bruce Arians conducted with the Steelers (2007-2011) and under former offensive line coach Harold Goodwin (2007-2011).
In his seven seasons in the NFL, Essex has played in 76 career games with 28 starts while winning two Super Bowls with the Steelers.
He brings versatility to a Colts offensive line that is in need of some depth. Last year, Essex played all five positions along the Steelers offensive line.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said on Monday that offensive guard Joe Reitz will miss his second straight game due to a leg injury.
The status of right tackle Winston Justice is also up in the air after he left the Bears game with a concussion.
Pagano said the offensive line needs to be better up the middle in protecting its rookie signal caller.
“For the most part we’re on the right guys, and now it’s just a matter of firming things up a little bit,” Pagano said. “Being a little more stouter in there, and trying to give Andrew (Luck) that pocket, that comfort zone in there where he can see the field and step up and make the throws that he needs to make.”
The 324-poound Essex will certainly add some bulk to wherever he fits onto the line as his knowledge of Arians’ scheme should speed up the process for him this week.
It remains to be seen whether or not Essex finds himself in the lineup come Sunday but his eight years of NFL experience is the second most on the Colts offense.
Pagano stressed the importance of finding a consistent running game to help out an offense filled with young pieces.
“If we can run the ball like (the balance) you’re talking about and not get behind so to speak and keep that thing balanced it’s obviously going to help (Luck) too,” Pagano said.
Tags: bruce arians, chuck pagano, harold goodwin, joe reitz, Trai Essex, winston justice
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