INDIANAPOLIS – Among the things Anthony Castonzo’s return means, it saves the Colts several hours in game-planning on a Tuesday night.
Most importantly though, it makes the Colts a better football team on Sunday’s, and should help the offense use more of their skill talent.
With Frank Reich calling the offensive shots, he has not felt the need to give Castonzo much help in protection.
“(Castonzo) gets very little help,” Reich says.
“It’s a low percentage of the time, so what you’re afforded is, boom, now you got the (running) back out and it puts more pressure on the defense.”
Let’s take that thought from Reich and look at it a little deeper, particularly when third down rolls around.
Instead of needing a Jack Doyle or a Nyheim Hines to stay in and chip towards the blindside of the Colts quarterback, Castonzo’s high-level of play now allows for those skill guys to be split out, or displaced into the route tree.
Think about a deep shot attempt.
Believing Castonzo can hold his own for around 5 seconds gives the Colts time to hit that deep shot on a 7-step drop, or feel comfortable using a running back out as a check-down option.
It’s a luxury that play callers dream of.
“That position, I don’t take it for granted,” Reich says of left tackle. “Every week when we’re protection game planning, as an offensive play caller and game planner, you’ve got to think, ‘I don’t have to worry about chip-helping Anthony Castonzo. He can handle whoever it is over there one-on-one.’ I can’t begin to explain what an advantage that is schematically in the pass game not to have to help protect him all the time.”
Again, the return of Castonzo doesn’t solve the answer at left tackle for the long-term (although seeing him agree to a two-year contract is very encouraging for the next two seasons), but it does quiet any concern at one of the league’s most important positions in the present.
Plus, many believe the 2019 season was Castonzo’s finest yet, as the 10-year vet has re-tooled his workout routine.
“I thought he had his best year of his career last year, very excited to have him back,” Reich says.