There are legitimate reasons that the Colts offensive line should improve in 2014. Hugh Thornton, for example, should develop and improve in his second season in the league. Donald Thomas returning from injury should help at left guard. Samson Satele didn’t exactly set a high bar for Khaled Holmes to live up to.
With Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus providing relatively steady play at tackle, the interior can’t really be worse than it was in 2013, right?
Yes and no, would be my answer. One would think Thornton would develop in his second year, but there are plenty of players in the league that never seem to put it together. Considering how unimpressive Thornton was for most of last season, that would put the Colts in a poor position.
There’s no guarantee that Thomas, who’s never started 16 games in a season, returns from injury well. Khaled Holmes couldn’t get on the field when Satele was in Indianapolis last year, so there’s definitely no guarantee that he’s an upgrade. While Satele was not a starting-quality center, he did have a massive experience edge over Holmes.
Jack Mewhort is an addition, but he’s a rookie with no NFL experience. And if you don’t think that injuries are going to continue to be an issue on the offensive line, you are an eternal optimist.
I think the interior will improve in 2014, but the extent of that improvement will be much smaller than some expect, and it may not be very noticeable. It’s definitely not turning into a strength anytime soon.