INDIANAPOLIS – The biggest offseason goal of Chris Ballard is being tested majorly.
And that is the case with the Colts having only put on full pads for just one day of training camp.
Offensive line depth was a needed focus for Ballard this offseason and we’ve seen the Colts turn to that group a whole lot early on.
The latest installment of that is at left guard with Quenton Nelson out 5-to-12 weeks due to a freak injury in his right foot. It should be noted that Nelson has yet to miss a start in 3 NFL seasons, but his availability for the opener is in jeopardy.
Chris Reed is the next man up at left guard.
Who is Chris Reed?
Well, his resume is actually notable.
Reed started 14 games for the Panthers last year at left guard. Since being elevated from the Jaguars practice squad in 2016, making a 53-man roster for the first time in his career, Reed has started games in all 5 of his NFL seasons.
That type of resume for a backup, especially recently, is not a given around the NFL.
In your interesting fact on Reed, he won a Division II National Title in shot put at Minnesota State, while also playing football.
Interior presences will be something the Colts are going to see a whole lot early in the year with Aaron Donald in Week Two and Jeffery Simmons in Week Three.
Given what Nelson means to this team, and the issues protecting the quarterback right now in camp, losing him would certainly make things even more complicated during that gauntlet to start the season.
Some might wonder if Danny Pinter, who missed Tuesday’s practice due to an illness, could be the guy at left guard, if Nelson were to miss time to start the season.
Currently, Pinter is needed at center with Ryan Kelly (elbow) likely out for another week, potentially more. The Colts feel that Pinter’s best position moving forward is center. Given Kelly’s injury history, it would be wise to continue to drill Pinter at center, a position he didn’t play in college.
If not Reed, another left guard option is Joey Hunt, who was needed at center with the starters on Tuesday. Hunt filled in at left guard when needed for some snaps late last season. Hunt has started 8 games in his career.
Out at left tackle, with Eric Fisher still on the physically unable to perform list, Sam Tevi just completed his 4th straight day at left tackle with the starters. Will Holden was the guy there on the first two days of camp.
Got all that?
Offensive line cohesion has been there for the Colts for the last 2 and a half years.
That’s not been the case to start the 2021 training camp.