Colts now lack experience on interior

ANDERSON, Ind. -- The interior part of the Indianapolis Colts offensive line was weak link last season.

The return of veteran guard Donald Thomas was supposed to help as he lined up alongside center Khaled Holmes and guard Hugh Thornton.

That won’t happen now. Not with Thomas on the line, at least. Thomas’ season, like it did in 2013, came to an end because of a torn quad. He re-tore his quad late in the team’s Wednesday afternoon practice. Thomas was also the Colts’ backup center.

Enter Jack Mewhort.

The rookie out of Ohio State had been splitting snaps with Thomas at left guard, but all indications pointed to Thomas starting.

Now Mewhort will likely move into the starting lineup at that position and add to the inexperience the Colts have on the interior part of the line.

I had a conversation with former Colts center and ESPN NFL analyst Jeff Saturday earlier this week and he had nothing but high marks for Mewhort because of his physical style and how smart he is. Mewhort will have to grow up fast -- much like Thornton had to do last season -- rather than feel his way out during his rookie season.

Barring a move by general manager Ryan Grigson, the Colts' two starting guards and centers will have combined for a total of 840 NFL snaps in their careers. Holmes (12 snaps) and Thornton (828 snaps) are only in their second seasons.

That doesn’t scream of an improved interior offensive line for the Colts. It does scream quarterback Andrew Luck having to be on the lookout for swarming defenses for the third straight season. It also doesn’t bode well for a team that needs to open lanes for running backs Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw.