Colts’ notebook: Changing of the guards
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indianapolis Colts are off ‘n running with what usually is a ho-hum training camp regimen, but they actually offered some news during Sunday afternoon’s work at Lucas Oil Stadium.
What did we learn from Day 1?
- Changing of the guards: In a marked switch from offseason work, Jack Mewhort was the starting right guard and Joe Haeg the starting left guard as camp opened. Those roles had been flipped during the offseason.
“At the end of the day we’re trying to find the best five (linemen),’’ coach Chuck Pagano said. “Get them in here, keep ‘em healthy so we can have some continuity in there.’’
The other three starting spots Sunday: Anthony Castonzo at left tackle, Ryan Kelly at center and Le’Raven Clark at right tackle.
A firm starting line would be a nice change for the offense. Andrew Luck has played behind 35 different starting combinations in his 70 regular-season starts.
If the current combo holds, it will represent a definite change for Mewhort. The 2014 second-round draft pick has started 40 games in three seasons, but none at right guard. He’s started 36 games at left guard, including his last 23, and four at right tackle.
Haeg, meanwhile, is no stranger to moving around. The 2016 fifth-round pick became the first rookie since New Orleans’ Kyle Turley in 1998 to start at three different positions (left guard right guard, right tackle).
- Backup plan: Luck had a sideline view, and it often was unsightly as his understudies ran the offense.
Backup Scott Tolzien and No. 3 Stephen Morris did nothing to alleviate concerns if either must play in the event Luck’s return from shoulder surgery forces him to miss regular-season time. Each was wildly inconsistent, whether it was during 11-on-11 work, or in simpler throwing sessions with receivers.
“It’s never going to be perfect,’’ Pagano said of Tolzien. “You want to come out here and get better every day. Scott’s grown. Scott’s done a nice job since he’s been here.
“Again, he made some plays in there, some not so good plays. We’ll go back, look at the film and make the corrections. He’ll make the corrections. We’ve got a long way to go, but he’s a tireless worker and an athletic guy He’s got arm talent.
“It’s not just one guy. It’ll be everyone around him that’s gotta play well.’’
Tolzien, 29, has started only three games in seven seasons, including the 28-7 loss to Pittsburgh last season when Luck was out with a concussion.
- Vinatieri’s still got it: Adam Vinatieri, the NFL’s oldest active player, put his 44-year old right leg on display Sunday. During one stretch, he knocked down consecutive 54- and 60-yard field goals.
- Roster moves: The Colts waived tight end Colin Jeter and claimed tight end Henry Krieger-Coble (Denver).