Colts just can’t keep an offensive line together

AP

No quarterback has had to play behind a makeshift offensive line more consistently than Andrew Luck.

The Colts’ line was the least consistent in the league last year as measured by Continuity Score, a statistic developed by FootballOutsiders.com that tracks offensive lines based on the number of different starters it had over the course of the season, the number of times the starting line changed from one game to the next, and the longest stretch of starting the same five players in the same five positions.

The Colts’ Continuity Score was 19 out of a possible 48, which was not just the lowest in the NFL last season but the second-lowest for any team in any season since 2000. The Colts used 10 different starters over the course of the season (tied for most in the NFL), never went more than three straight games with the same line (tied for the worst in the NFL) and had 11 different week-to-week changes (the most in the NFL; no other team had more than nine changes).

Last year was not a fluke for the Colts: They were near the bottom of the league in 2012 and 2013 as well. They’ve simply never put together a consistent line to protect Luck. Impressively, Luck was only sacked 27 times while throwing 616 passes, which is actually a relatively low rate. That says more about Luck’s ability to recognize the pass rush coming and get rid of the ball quickly than it says about the Colts’ ability to protect him.

The addition of guard Todd Herremans should help the Colts this year, and there’s a good chance they’ll add a starting offensive lineman in the draft as well. Maybe this will finally be the year the Colts put a consistent offensive line in front of their franchise quarterback.

65 responses to “Colts just can’t keep an offensive line together

  1. There was continuity the last couple regular season games and into the playoffs, and to no one’s surprise the team played much better. Until the debacle in Foxboro of course. Having Khaled Holmes at center was a big part of their success.

    They have the talent, they just need to stay healthy

  2. Luck is a special guy and the Colts really need to treat him as such, get the guy some linemen already.

  3. Colts must be feeling a little De-Flated… Like the ball they tried to frame the Patriots with!!

  4. i don’t know if i would rely on herremans for continuity. i love him — he was an eagles stalwart for a long time — but now he is in the twilight of his career and injury prone.

  5. kissbillsrings
    Apr 17, 2015, 10:13 AM EDT

    Colts must be feeling a little De-Flated… Like the ball they tried to frame the Patriots with!!
    ____________

    That’s a new joke.

  6. I’d like to see the ratio compared with rushing yardage. Do teams with a high number get more rushing yards?

  7. Colts GM should’ve been fired after the season. Not impressed with his draft picks nor the roster he’s put around a legitimate franchise quarterback playing on a cheap, rookie contract.

    So what’s the team going to look like when Luck is making $20 million a year? And yeah, you MIGHT want to protect your franchise QB with a little more investment in the OL.

  8. “No quarterback has had to play behind a makeshift offensive line more consistently than Andrew Luck.”
    ********************************
    Now you’re just making it up as you go. The Panthers have been far worse in placing a rag-tag group of undrafted or unproven, nomads in front of Cam Newton.

    Next you’ll tell us that Luck doesn’t have receivers. Anything to make it sound like he’s had to overcome so much.

  9. So that’s the Colts excuse for not winning in playoffs? I cannnot think of one OL that consistently stays healthy…just ask Ryan Tannehill.

  10. “No quarterback has had to play behind a makeshift offensive line more consistently than Andrew Luck.”
    ********************************
    Now you’re just making it up as you go. The Panthers have been far worse in placing a rag-tag group of undrafted or unproven, nomads in front of Cam Newton.
    ********************************
    And Ben Rothlisberger’s line has sucked for year upon years…

  11. Grigson is the worst GM in the league. He couldn’t build a roster when his QB was on a rookie deal. Does any sane person think he’ll do so with a QB getting paid market value??

    colts are terrible, always will be.

  12. You are aware that three seasons after having the #1 pick in the draft, the Colts have made the playoffs all three years and earned three playoff wins in that time right?

    Yes they have been owned by the Pats, but lots of teams can say that.

  13. Interesting stat but like all stats it does not define the bottom line result in football which is winning. So I will throw another stat at the stat guys

    Of the top 6 teams on that list TWO made it to the playoffs.

    Of the bottom 6 teams in that list FOUR made it to the playoffs
    And one went to the Super Bowl. Go figure on stats 🙂

  14. Running QB’s always appear to have bad O-lines because the linemen don’t know where the QB is, they’re blocking like he’s in the pocket.

    It’s time to honestly look for the problem and stop making excuses for Newton.

  15. You can win with a crap line, just look at the Seahawks. They might have lead the league in rushing, but that goes to having the hard to tackle Lynch and 800+ yards from Wilson running for his life. Because of his horrid line play.

  16. It doesn’t matter since both lines are in dire need of help. Luck will be forced to throw 50 times a game since the run game will again struggle and, as usual, the Colts won’t be able to stop anyone other than the tomato cans in their division.

  17. 2012 was a mere blip in a decade or more of awful drafting by the Colts. They are fortunate to be in a very weak division.

  18. This is both correct and no surprise. The Colts couldn’t put together a decent o-line around Peyton Manning, either.

    I’m worried that the Colts and Irsay/Grigson are going to hold Luck back for his entire career and he will end up with the same fate as Peyton: Good enough to carry a team to the playoffs and even win a game or two, but (almost) never good enough to win it all.

    Luck’s Colts teams also reminds me of the Broncos of the 80s, when Elway would carry them through the playoffs… until they would eventually face a much better team that would blow them out.

  19. They used a bunch of different lines, doesn’t mean they had the worst line in the league. Everyone not named Trent Richardson ran well last season. They averaged 3.9 yards a carry, but that jumps up to 4.3 without TRich(Bradshaw 4.7 and Herron 4.5). They were 8th in the league in sacks allowed. Luck is great in the pocket, so that helps. There line was far form awful.

  20. I see that the Bears had only 4 teams with a lower score than they did in 2014.
    They also had the biggest decline in Offensive Line continuity from 2013 to 2014 than any than any team in the NFL.
    The Bears have been fielding a rag tag group of players in and out on the O line for several years and the one year they did have some stability they were 2nd in the league in scoring only to the Broncos.

    Of course this is ignored because it does not fit into the whole “Grab your pitchforks and torches” campaign against Jay Cutler.

    Andrew Luck is nice!
    Jay Cutler is mean!

    Andrew Luck’s completion % of 61.7 in 2014 is great!
    Jay Cutler’s completion % of 66.0 in 2014 is bad!

    Andrew Luck’s 16 INTs in 2014 and 14.3 INTs a year average for his career is great!
    Jay Cutler’s 18 INTs in 2014 and 14.4 INTs a year average for his career is bad!

    Andrew Luck’s 380 completions in 2014 are great!
    Jay Cutler’s 370 completions in 2014 are bad!

    Andrew Luck’s 86.6 career Passer rating is great!
    Jay Cutler’s 87.1 career Passer rating is bad!

    Poor Andrew Luck.
    Playing behind a revolving door of O linemen must be really tough on a QB.
    Even one that is not diabetic.

  21. Going to the Neil Diamond concert in Indianapolis tonight. If I see Andrew Luck at the show, I’ll ask him what he thinks of the O-Line.

  22. I love all these comments that “the Colts haven’t been able to draft for a decade”

    FYI: in the last decade they are 110-50 in reg season with 9 playoff appearances, 2 Superbowl appearances and a Superbowl win.

    I’ll take that horrible drafting any day

  23. And yet Colts insider Kyle Rodriguez doesn’t see O-line as a priority in the draft. Smh.

  24. Ryan Grigson and his staff have done an excellent job of plugging guys in. They had the number one rated offense in the NFL last year. Andrew Luck took a lot of sacks his first two years because he is so competitive and will stand tall in the pocket long after most QBs would be running for their lives, or throwing the ball away. They’ve also had two different offensive coordinators over the last three seasons, so that didn’t help either. But Grigson has hit on some middle round guys, and they’re consistantly improving, despite all the injuries. Grigson has a good eye for hard working, high character team guys, and it shows. They’ve won 11, 12, and 13 games over the last three years, and Grigson inherited a 2-14 team. Hard to believe.

  25. I never thought I’d stick up for Peyton Manning and Bill Polian, but at least those Colts teams were more than a piece of gum to pluck off the bottom of the Patriots’s collective cleats like this version is.

  26. After the ball inflation frame attempt, the Patriots are going to do unspeakable things to the Colts when they play this coming season. It might be a good idea for the Colts to inactivate Luck for that game.

  27. I understand they will soon be signing a former Spinal Tap drummer to the OL. What could go wrong?

    Their main problem has not been quality (though none of those guys will make the pro bowl) but health/lineup consistency, which is what this article and the stat focuses on. Used to think their old S&C coach might have been the problem, but this issues continue. Something in the water?

  28. They sucked for Luck and people lost their jobs because of it. I will never support the Colts.

  29. It’s funny how the worst QB evaluator ever (Skip Bayless) never brings this up in his obsession over Luck’s turnovers. Of course, he also never mentions that the Colts had the fewest turnovers in the league in 2013.

    Many of Luck’s fumbles have come when he is hit in the pocket without any time to react. Due to a mediocre running game, he also has had a lot of 3rd and long passing situations to deal with. Unlike the Alex Smith type of QBs, Luck and the Colts throw the deep ball more often. Big plays result on many occasions with a few picks that basically work like punts.

    Skip’s boy Favre choked in four playoff games with interceptions:

    1. Final drive of Super Bowl vs. Broncos.
    2. 4th and 26 Eagles playoff game in overtime.
    3. 2007 NFC title game in OT.
    4. 2009 NFC title game at end of regulation.

    So, it’s acceptable for Farve to throw picks in crucial spots but any Luck miscue is unacceptable.
    To come full circle, Skip is presented with a guy who rarely turns it over (Rodgers) but he isn’t acceptable either.

    Remember, Skip has been all in on VY, Tebow, RGIII and Manziel. What a joke.

  30. I think the Chargers would have been a close 2nd.

    Lost the RT for the yr before the season began. Then starting C Hardwick went on IR. Were on their 5th C and had only one starter in the lineup at one pt last year.

  31. They need to find better linemen than Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas whom they signed a few years ago. Thomas has been injured but he wasn’t any good when he played in NE as a backup. Doesn’t matter if you have continuity on the line if none of them are any good. It still comes down to winning one on one matchups.

  32. Sorry, but the Bears have always had the worst offensive line for the better part of the last half a decade but being that their QB is disliked it’s never mentioned.

  33. Well poor Andrew and the Colts because Miami has the worst luck when it comes to our Oline. Besides the big sissy Martin and that fiasco, we had a bellow average line that season. Before that season we were always spending top money on our line every single year and it never paned out. Last year we had a totally new line starting from the year before. Meanwhile Tannehill gets sacked 55 times a year and no one mentions the fact our line is terrible but instead post about the Colts line? We are getting better as a unit but loosing our LT to a major knee injury puts us right back as a crap line and needing to upgrade yet again. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Miami picks a LT with their 1st pick this year and even though it isn’t a sexy pic, we will most likely regret it if we choose to not address this line.

  34. As an Eagles fan, I love Todd Herremans – the guy is a warrior – but even he is on a decline. Early in the season, the Eagles offensive line was flat out the worst – you can look at Lesean McCoys stats and see that he was ranked near dead last in the league by October, and marginally better by November.

    To see the Colts go as far as they did, speaks volumes about Andrew Luck. Yes this is a passing league – but when you are essentially one dimensional and still that effective? Just Wow. Props to Andrew Luck – but don’t count on Herremans and Gore making that much of a difference. If I am the Colts, I am drafting 2-3 lineman early on, and still taking one of these stud running backs this month.

  35. “Luck is easily a top 5 QB in the league.”

    A Top-5 QB is supposed to have enough smarts to NOT throw the ball to the guys wearing the other jerseys when pressured. Luck shows no sign of learning that at the NFL level. Fail!

  36. In response to philtration’s early post comparing Cutler to Luck, I think there are some factors that point to Luck. Cutler just completed his 9th year as opposed to Luck finishing just his 3rd year. Luck will keep getting better. While Luck has not had a top flight runner to help him, Cutler has had Forte. Also, Cutler has had Brandon Marshall for several years during his career. Luck has not had that level of wideout to work with.

    The QB ratings can be very misleading. Matt Schaub has a higher career rating than Luck. Also, Elway is 65th in career QB rating behind guys like Lomax and O’Donnell.

    Elway is the appropriate guy for Luck to be compared to.

  37. Redskins O line is bad but really they need to quit blaming the O line for everything. The real problem is Rg3. If only…they had Luck.

  38. sports1976 says:
    Apr 17, 2015 2:30 PM
    In response to philtration’s early post comparing Cutler to Luck, I think there are some factors that point to Luck. Cutler just completed his 9th year as opposed to Luck finishing just his 3rd year. Luck will keep getting better. While Luck has not had a top flight runner to help him, Cutler has had Forte. Also, Cutler has had Brandon Marshall for several years during his career. Luck has not had that level of wideout to work with.
    —————————————–
    Yeah….because Reggie Wayne and TY Hilton were just slouches…..

  39. “No quarterback has had to play behind a makeshift offensive line more consistently than Andrew Luck.”
    ********************************
    I’ll put my own particular whine in there, too. The Chargers went through 5 centers, 4 RBs and were continuously interchanging OL throughout the season.
    ***********************************/end whining

  40. I’ll trade my team’s entire starting offensive line for Luck right now and worry about the salary cap later!

  41. In response to nhpats regarding Colts wide receivers, Reggie Wayne was past his prime when Luck arrived. Hilton has emerged but Luck’s ability to throw the long ball is a big part of his success. Without a QB like Luck, Hilton’s lack of size could limit his success. Cutler played with Marshall during his prime years.

  42. Why always the doom and gloom stuff PFT. I like it here, but it gets a little old. Just thought you should know.

  43. Herremans can still be a solid starter. But as a person that watches every snap his skills did start to diminish. Not to mention he couldn’t finish a season any longer. But he’s tough, he’s a great locker room guy, a leader, and he will still be a solid contributor when on the field. Especially in a normal pro style offense and not this craziness we deal with. (Eagles) Wish him nothing but the best.

  44. I’m a huge Reggie Wayne fan, but please look at his game tape last year before you talk. He certainly wasn’t doing Andrew any good. It was hard for the coaches to bench a HOF player, so they kept putting Reggie out there. But in the playoffs, the games that were must-win, Wayne wasn’t even in the gameplan. The Colts biggest addition this off-season has actually been the subtraction of Reggie Wayne and Trent Richardson. Those guys were killing the Colts, and they still ended up with the number one offense. Order your super bowl tickets Colts’ fans! This thing is just getting started. A dynasty is getting ready to happen.

  45. Colts need to Cheat better, like the weasels (pats) they are fare better at Cheating. Weasel Nation just has a slight image problem—-Everybody knows they cheat on,, is there a trophy for that?

  46. skawh says:
    Apr 17, 2015 3:57 PM
    Try no OL, and no Receivers….respectfully, Russell Wilson
    =======================================

    He could always hand the ball off to Lynch……

  47. I dont understand why pats fans are so bitter. You won! Get over it. Its a new season and the sb is up for grabs again.

    Brady has been in the league for 15 seasons, of course he knows every trick in the book. And bellicheck is like a lawyer, finding loopholes in the football rules. Colts will hopefully find their balance and do better this year.

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