INDIANAPOLIS – Quarterback Andrew Luck will be starting behind his eye-popping 35th different offensive line when the Indianapolis Colts face the Minnesota Vikings and their aggressive defense on Sunday.
Not having Good, Reitz and left guard Jack Mewhort, whose season ended with a knee injury in Week 14, means the Colts will be starting rookies Le'Raven Clark, Joe Haeg and Ryan Kelly along with Anthony Castonzo and Jonotthan Harrison against a Vikings defense that is ranked second in the NFL and giving up only 17.3 points a game.
“Yeah, they’re up for the challenge,” Pagano said. “Yeah, hell yeah. They’re going to play great. [Every opponent is] tough. They’re all tough, we know that. It is what it is.”
Clark is the wild card of the offensive line group. The third-round pick has played only six offensive snaps this season and been inactive for eight games. Pagano said Clark has “gotten better every week” and that he’s a “hard worker.”
Everybody will see if that’s truly the case because the Vikings have 35 quarterback sacks on the season.
Pagano didn’t rule out the possibility of altering their play-calling to help with the offensive line against Minnesota’s defense. Don’t be surprised if offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski tries to get the ball out of Luck’s hands quicker. Luck has been sacked 37 times this season. A key will be the receivers' ability to win their battles at the line of scrimmage to get open.
“Everybody has got tough matchups and they have to do a great job and they have to win their matchups,” Pagano said.