|This entry was posted by Brett Mock on January 11, 2011 at 8:00 am, and is filed under Off-Season Coverage. Follow any responses to this post through . You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
Well, I sincerely hope that they realize how dire the offensive line situation is and that they're bringing in these guys to be a part of a rather large initial group of offensive linemen for the summer activities. However, seeing us making moves to pick up no-name offensive linemen this early worries me a bit because the no-name/cheap route is part of what got us to where we are in the first place. We'll have to see what happens prior to the draft to have a better idea of the significance of their signings.
A couple of things:
1. I think you are over selling how well Linkenbach played tackle. He was way outmatched whenever he had to deal with an athletic defensive end. I think he makes a nice backup, but nothing more. Having said that, a nice backup may be better than Diem. This is more a comment on how Diem played then Linkenbach.
2. I think you fail to take into account how well Pollack played towards the end of the season. It's true he started the season horribly but at the end of the year he was starting to look decent.
3. Saturday is almost as much of a liability as Charlie Johnson at this point. The Colts have been hiding this quite a bit by giving him double teams with a guard, but it only isolates our bad tackles that much more. I hate to say it, but Saturday's replacement needs to be on the field next year (or maybe the year after).
4. I like Charlie Johnson for the team, as he can play all the line positions and that versatility is great in a backup. But he is not a better guard than either Devan or Pollack at this point.
I haven't seen the draft info yet, but I would be shocked if there is a solid franchise left tackle available in this years draft where the Colts will be drafting. It is all well and good to say that the Colts should trade to get one without mentioning the cost.
I think at the minimum you should point out what draft picks (or players) you would give up to get a legitimate LT cause they don't come around very often, and when they do, they cost.
Actually there are a number of points my statistics disagree with.
1) Jeff Linkenbach had significantly less negative blocks than either Diem or Johnson. He also had significantly more positive blocks than either Diem or Johnson. While Diem and Johnson averaged between 61% and 54% good blocks and 21% to 28% bad blocks, Linkenbach averaged 70.9% good blocks and 10.4% bad blocks. This is a huge difference. Every occasion he played OT he recorded the best game results of any OT in any game for the Colts this year. AND Linkenbach is also a rookie, and on a number of occasions filled in for a starter on short notice, and while having to learn both Right and Left Tackles and Right Guard. Its just my opinon, but I don't think Brett is overselling Link. So long as he continues to mature in a respectable fashion, he could be one of the rare UDFA gems.
2) I think the success in the running game at the end of the season artificially inflated the perception of Pollak. While the running was better, and yes Pollak played "better" than his average over the last 4 games, he still managed to perform worse than Jamey Richard did at the start of the year, and was still considerably worse than Kyle DeVan's worse game. The blocking by the left side this season has averaged 5.3 yards per carry, while blocking on the right side has averaged 2.8 yards per carry. Pollak continues to have a double digit percentage of negative blocks every single game, and continues to struggle to average above 65% good blocks, which seems to be the barest minimum for good blocking from either a guard or center. Just for comparison's sake, Jeff Saturday averaged 79.2% good blocks and 7.9% bad blocks, while Kyle DeVan averaged 86.5% good blocks and 6.3% bad blocks. Mike Pollak averaged 65.6% good blocks and 19.8% bad blocks, and even over the past 5 games he's averaged 69.8% good blocks and 16.4% bad blocks. No matter how you split it, Mike Pollak has not been a good guard this year. Even the marginal improvement in his performance at the end of the season was still significantly worse than every other guard the Colts used, including Jamey Richard and Jeff Linkenbach (both of whom averaged over 70% good blocks, and under 15% bad blocks).
3) Saturday started off the year playing exceptionally, by blocking at over 90% good and 5% bad. His average has taken quite a big hit as the Colts tried to remedy the Mike Pollak problem, and then again at the end of the season when he seemed to just run out of gas. But even on Saturday's worse day, Pollak still was worse by a large margain. Saturday just seems to be showing his age. While it will probably be necessary for the Colts to have a replacement ready (either Jamey Richard or Jacques McClendon or some rookie yet to be drafted), because I do not think Saturday is going last much longer.
Anyway, that is just my opinion, and is based off of what I've seen from in depth review of the games. The Colts will have their own opinions on the play of the linemen and the areas which are necessary to make significant changes too. It will be interesting to see where the team focuses, but I do not think it will be possible to get a stud OT in this draft. The talent is all late-1st round through mid-2nd round, all fo which will probably end up being high draft picks as teams reach to shore up their offensive lines.
I have more faith in McClendon than Thomas to contribute next season. It seems like the team made a half hearted attempt to improve the line this season by bringing in Terry, which obviously didn't work.
With the SB in Indy I'm hoping Isray and Polian pull out all the stops, even if it goes against the Colts philosophy of not bringing in high priced FA's.
I think you're spot on with your evaluation. We can only hope the Colts feel the same way.