Posted on June 11, 2017, by Travis Pulver
When you are rich enough to be the owner of an NFL team you can pretty much do and say what you want—within reason. If you cross any legal boundaries, you may still have consequences, but you can afford good enough lawyers to make them insignificant. So, when Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay talks about his team, he has the right to say whatever he pleases about them.
If he wants to proclaim his offensive line is fixed because a guy who was last on staff in 2009 says it is—he can do that.
Recently, while making an appearance at a town hall-type event for season ticket holders, Colts owner Jim Irsay was asked about the offensive line. The unit was not very good last season. With Andrew Luck’s recent injury history, if the team is going to improve, they have to do a better job of protecting him.
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According to Irsay they will—because the line has been fixed.
“Let me say this: the offensive line is fixed,” Irsay said (PFT). “I’m telling you guys, the offensive line is fixed. The reason I’ll tell you it’s fixed is because [former longtime Colts offensive line coach] Howard Mudd told me it’s fixed. If Howard Mudd tells you it’s fixed, trust me, it’s fixed.”
Howard Mudd was one of the best in the business back in his day. But the last time he was on staff was in 2009. So—why is Irsay asking him? Why not ask—and quote—the current offensive line coaches, Joe Philbin or Joe Gilbert, if the unit is indeed ‘fixed?’
What was done to make the unit better? The Colts drafted one offensive lineman, Zach Banner, in the fourth round and brought in one free agent. Neither is slated to start.
Nothing has really changed. Anthony Castonzo and Jack Mewhort will still be holding down the left side of the line (when healthy). Ryan Kelly had a good rookie year at center and will look to improve upon it. But the right side of the line isn’t set in stone yet.
So—how could the offensive line be fixed? The answer to that is easy—it can’t be fixed. Besides, until the line plays against guys they don’t call teammates, it is impossible to tell if anything is ‘fixed.’
To be fair, things were moving in the right direction as the season went on last year. After giving up an NFL-high 25 sacks in the first seven games, they finished with the fifth most (44; No. 2 in hits with 128). They did get better. At the same time, they were still far from good making Irsay’s claim interesting.
What could the Colts have done during OTAs to fix one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL?
Jim Irsay appears to know—but he isn’t telling. However, for Andrew Luck’s sake, hopefully, he is right.