The real unsung hero

A really nice piece by Bob Kravitz in the star this morning: (and no my keyboard didn’t melt just by typing that phrase)

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070610/COLUMNISTS01/706100453/1100/SPORTS03

It’s about Colts backup guard Charlie Johnson who filled in for Ryan Diem during the Super Bowl. This story is a microcosm of what has made the Colts so successful over the past decade. I’m always stunned whenever lists and ranking of the best offensive lines come out, because they really name the Colts despite a freakishly low sack rate and constantly pumping out 1500-1700 yard rushing seasons.

Howard Mudd, the line coach and the real unsung hero on this franchise, has to be the best in the NFL at training and preparing young linemen. The Colts have invested heavily in their left tackle, Tarik Glenn, but none of their other linemen were high draft choices (Diem was next the highest regular-a 4th rounder!). Guys like Charlie Johnson, a 6th round pick, come in and don’t miss a beat. The Colts line play, with the exception of that dark day against Pittsburgh two Januaries ago, has been stellar for this entire run.

This also explains why we remain so sure that Glenn is gone after this year. The Colts trade up to get Tony Ugoh is completely atypical for them unless they feel that they are going for their future left tackle. We all know the guy who protects #18’s blindside has to be a special player, because you can’t have Peyton taking big shots to his back. If the Colts had anything other than future starting left guard in mind for Ugoh, they would never have taken him so high. They get too much production from linemen taken in the late rounds.

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