By now many Colts fans have already learned that Charlie Johnson has suffered a foot injury — which is rumored to be a sprain — and was carted off of the field during Friday’s practice. Andy Alleman also suffered an injury (back) and had to be carted from the field.
Tony Ugoh has an undisclosed injury and missed time over the weekend. This leaves many scrambling with concern about the Colts offensive line. The Trenches at Sporting News pointed out the offensive lines’ struggles in the absence of Johnson, Ugoh, and Diem — who missed time to attend the birth of his first child.
[media-credit name="Matt Kryger | The Star" align="aligncenter" width="326"][/media-credit]Fans should resist the urge to get overly alarmed. It is expected that when the three top tackles on most people’s preseason Colts depth chart miss time, those asked to fill in against Pro Bowl pass rushers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will struggle.
Unless Johnson’s injury is severe, he has plenty of time to get healthy and be ready to go for the regular season. He was the starter last year and should only improve, so this little setback should not worry folks until an announcement is made confirming bad news.
Additionally, Tony Ugoh may be one of Colts’ fans favorite whipping boys — since he has not filled the large shoes left behind by Tarik Glenn — but he is entirely capable of protecting Peyton Manning and keeping the Colts offense moving. Fans may not feel that Ugoh or Johnson are the long-term solution at left tackle, but it is important that fans not jump to doomsday conclusions if a scenario should play out that leads to Ugoh starting again.
A lot of NFL clubs would like to have the flexibility the Colts have to move Ugoh over or up so quickly into a starting role with such a small expectation for a drop-off. While Ugoh may be missing some time, he is one of the players who often gets a good deal of rest between games during the regular season.
Diem is fine, although some have also mentioned that they would prefer to find a permanent replacement for the right tackle position. He will get back to the field early this week and take over on the right side.
Look on the bright side, I think it is great for Adam Terry and Jeff Linkenbach to put in more time against the first team defense. There can be no greater opportunity for the players to grow, learn the system, and be tested as options along the offensive line.
Honestly, short of starting in regular season games to gain experience, what better situation could you ask for than for your players to learn against true professionals like Freeney and Mathis? I will be attending training camp Monday and will provide an update on Ugoh, should he get back onto the field.