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News » Indianapolis Colts Inside Slant 2009-03-30


Indianapolis Colts Inside Slant 2009-03-30


Indianapolis Colts Inside Slant 2009-03-30
The offensive line has always been an area where the Indianapolis Colts have thrived.


Veteran assistant coach Howard Mudd, though, certainly had his work cut out for him in 2008. With Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday sidelined for several games due to knee injuries and offensive guard Ryan Lilja missing the entire season, also due to knee problems, the Colts struggled to get a running game going.

Yes, the line was able to pass block pretty well as it allowed just 14 sacks during the year. But it was the running game that was most affected by the shuffling of personnel up front. Three rookies -- center Jamey Richard, center/guard Mike Pollak and center/guard Steve Justice -- were thrown into the fray pretty quickly.

All three were forced to, quite literally, learn on the run.

"One of the things people don't want to hear is excuses," first-year head coach Jim Caldwell said recently. "So I'm not making an excuse, but these are the facts in this case that we did have quite a bit of shuffling going on, just in terms of being able to get a unit together like Howard Mudd typically does."

The development gained during their rookie year should help Richard, Pollak and Justice as they begin preparations for 2009.

"I would anticipate that with Mike Pollak, Jamey Richard and Steve Justice, that you're going to see improvement with all three guys," Caldwell said. "Mike had a pretty extensive amount of playing time, so that's not going to do anything but help him.

"Jamey played a pretty consistent amount and Steve probably played less than those other two, but they all have certainly good potential and are making good progress."

That being said, Caldwell expects the offensive line to return to being one of the better units in the league.

"Often, he (Mudd) will have a unit in place, and you'll see them just continue to grow and develop and get a good sense of one another and move along and not miss a beat," he said. "Once we kind of got it going (last season), we were productive in some areas, but not as consistent as we'd like to be."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 30, 2009

Dwight Freeney Name: Dwight Freeney
#93
Position: DE
Age: 28
Experience: 7 years
College: Syracuse
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