Anthony Castonzo was the first pick by the Colts in the 2011 NFL Draft, and looked to be the perfect pick for the Colts at #24 overall. After a promising first three games, Castonzo was hurt versus the Buccaneers, and missed four more games.
Since coming back, Castonzo hasn't seemed the same, and as the future cornerstone of the offensive line, that's concerning. The Falcons game, as a whole, was one of the worst for the Colts in terms of pass protection.
So, it seems that it would be a good one to assess the play of Anthony Castonzo. For the purposes of this study, I'll only be looking at pass protection, as that is the main function he was drafted for.
The Colts ran 34 passing plays against the Jaguars, and Castonzo was in for every one. Of those, there were 10 plays that could be viewed as questionable on his part. Of those ten, five of them negatively affected the play. So, first, we'll take a look at those five.
3-11-IND 19 (14:42, 1st) (No Huddle, Shotgun) C.Painter pass short left intended for R.Wayne INTERCEPTED by D.Coleman at IND
Ben Savage did a great breakdown of this play at Coltzilla, of which the blame goes to both Castonzo and Painter. John Chick surprises Castonzo with a bull rush, and pushes him right back into Painter's face. Of course, Painter's decision and throw were both awful, but Castonzo got embarrassed on this play regardless.
3-10-IND 31 (8:07, 1st) (No Huddle, Shotgun) C.Painter sacked at IND 27 for -4 yards (J.Mincey).
During this play, the entire line collapses, and RT Jeff Linkenbach is the man who actually gives up the sack. However, Castonzo got beat by a spin move by Chick on this play, and it likely would have resulted in a sack even if Link had held his block.
1-10-IND 34 (12:48, 2nd) (Pass formation) C.Painter sacked at IND 23 for -11 yards (sack split by J.Mincey and D.Smith).
Castonzo is credited with half a sack here, but in reality this play should in no way be blamed on him. As the ball is snapped, Castonzo blocks the defensive end, as Mike Tepper and Jeff Saturday block the defensive tackle. Tepper has failed to read the incoming blitz from #52 LB Darryl Smith, who flies in between the gap toward Curtis Painter. Painter retreats back, directly into Mincey, who helps Smith bring him down. Castonzo was blocking Mincey adequately on the play, and Painter would have had a solid pocket to step up into if Tepper would have picked up the blitz.
3-8-IND 36 (11:44, 2nd) (Shotgun) C.Painter sacked at IND 27 for -9 yards (sack split by P.Posluszny and J.Chick).
Once again, Castonzo is credited with giving up half a sack here, but he doesn't deserve it. He pushes Chick very wide, and ten yards behind the line of scrimmage. The middle of the Colts' line collapses, mainly behind Diem and Saturday. A couple of Jaguar defenders begin to break through, and Painter tries to escape, by backpedaling. By this point, Chick had come so far around that he actually helped bring down Painter by hitting him on Painter's right side.
3-3-IND 20 (4:56, 4th) (No Huddle, Shotgun) D.Orlovsky sacked at IND 11 for -9 yards (J.Mincey). FUMBLES (J.Mincey) [J.Mincey], RECOVERED by JAX-T.Alualu at IND 15. T.Alualu to IND 8 for 7 yards (J.Saturday). JAX – Mincey 5 sack yards.
Savage also broke down this play this week, and came up with a similar feeling as I did. Basically, Castonzo pushes Mincey wide and back, right into Dan Orlosky. But, Orlovsky not only drops 9 yards back from the line of scrimmage, and fails to feel the outside pressure and step up. Basically, Castonzo gets beat on the outside, but this play should not have ended in a sack.
Castonzo had five other "questionable" blocks, two in the first half and three in the first. In three of those, Castonzo either intentionally blocks the DE wide, or just gets beat to the outside. On one of those three, he had Donald Brown to help him on the outside, so Castonzo just let him go to the outside. On the other two, one is where it looked like he would get beat, but the DE lost his balance. The final play was a screen, and Castonzo intentionally let the DE through.
Overall, it seems that Castonzo's play wasn't as bad as it first seemed that it may have been. Castonzo started out slow, as four of those negative plays happened in the first seven pass plays. From there on out he only allowed one negative play, the Orlovsky fumble. If he has a weakness in pass protection, it's an outside speed rush, but he's usually ok with those. If he does get beat, he was doing a good job of pushing them wide and back. Unfortunately, the Colts' quarterbacks have no pocket presence whatsoever, making it even harder for those offensive tackles.
I think Castonzo can still be a solid LT. He's a rookie, and John Chick and Jeremy Mincey surprised him with a variety of moves early in the game. He was abused by them early, but as soon as he saw them, he did a good job of containing those moves for the rest of the day. He'll have days like that, but if he can always recover to improve on them like he did in this game, he will end up being a very good left tackle.