AFC South: Bradley Sowell

Indianapolis Colts cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
Most significant move: Defensive lineman Fili Moala didn’t play in the preseason because was he was still rehabbing a knee injury from late 2012, but that didn’t stop him from making the roster. Keeping Moala put an end to fellow defensive lineman Drake Nevis’ time with the Colts. Fullback Dominique Jones was cut, leaving the Colts with only one fullback on the roster, Stanley Havili.

A feel-good story: Linebacker Caesar Rayford kept hearing from NFL teams over the years that they liked what they saw out of him on video while he played in the Arena Football League. Rayford, however, never got an invite to a training camp from any of those teams. That changed this year when the Colts, led by general manager Ryan Grigson’s willingness to search anywhere for talent, invited Rayford to camp. Rayford didn’t disappoint, either. He had a team-high five sacks during the preseason. Rayford now has a spot on the 53-man roster. The 27-year-old rookie’s best bet to get on the field will likely be on special teams. He’ll take it after getting looked over for so many years while he played in the Canadian and Arena Football League.

What’s next: Grigson and his staff aren’t going to sit tight. They’ll continue to monitor which players -- especially offensive linemen and possibly fullback -- around the league were released, and don’t be surprised if the roster the Colts take into their season opener against Oakland on Sept. 8 is completely different than the current one. The Colts will likely add quarterback Chandler Harnish and linebacker Daniel Adongo to the practice squad if both players clear waivers. Adongo didn’t play in the preseason, but the Colts are intrigued by the former rugby player. Harnish was on the practice squad last season.

Colts cuts: LB: Daniel Adongo, Josh McNary, Monte Simmons, Shawn Loiseau. DB: Larry Asante, Marshay Green, Sheldon Price, Daxton Swanson. OL: Thomas Austin, Ben Ijalana, Bradley Sowell, Lee Ziemba, Emmett Cleary. DL: Lawrence Guy, Drake Nevis, Martin Tevaseu. QB: Chandler Harnish. FB: Robert Hughes. TE: Dominique Jones. WR: Jeremy Kelley, Jabin Sambrano, Lanear Sampson
INDIANAPOLIS -- Joe Reitz, who didn’t play football in college, entered the NFL as a tackle back in 2008. That move barely lasted two years before the Indianapolis Colts moved him back to guard in 2010.

The Colts weren’t done moving Reitz.

They shifted him back to tackle before training camp last month because they were looking for a “swing tackle.”

With left tackle Anthony Castonzo’s recent knee injury, Reitz will be responsible for protecting quarterback Andrew Luck’s blind side.

For how long?

That’s anybody’s guess.

It could be for one or two series in Thursday’s preseason finale at Cincinnati if Luck even plays, or it could be in Week 1 against Oakland if Castonzo’s mildly sprained MCL isn’t completely healed.

Castonzo and the Colts are optimistic he’ll be ready for the Sept. 8 opener.

“We preach ‘next man up’ around here,” Reitz said. “You always hate to see anybody get injured, especially AC, he’s such a great guy. Happy to hear it’s not too serious. I was just excited to go in there and prepare like a starter, because you’re always one play away.”

The Colts like Reitz’s size -- 6-7, 323 pounds -- at tackle. They believe his skill set helps him at that position. Reitz was a college basketball player at Western Michigan. The Colts wanted to move him back to tackle sooner, but they didn’t have depth on the offensive line in the past.

Now Reitz is auditioning to be the team’s swing tackle.

“Just still evaluating that position and still looking for a swing tackle,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “Joe is a big, athletic guy, and we wanted to throw him in the mix with Bradley (Sowell) and (Jeff Linkenbach) and the other guys to find out who that swing guy is. Obviously we feel great about (Gosder Cherilus) at right tackle and AC on the left, but you’ve got to have a swing tackle.”

Don’t ask Reitz, who has started in 17 of the 20 games he's apperaaed in with the Colts, if he prefers one over the other, because he doesn’t have a concrete answer.

It’s a matter of doing whatever is necessary to prove he’s worthy of being on the roster.

“There are harder things at both,” Reitz said. “Obviously at tackle on the edge, a lot of times you’re one-on-one with the defensive end. But when you go in there at guard and you’re blocking the Vince Wilfork’s of the world. That’s not necessarily an easy job either.”

Colts have options if RT Justice is out

September, 11, 2012
Winston Justice is coming off a concussion suffered in Chicago and wasn’t playing particularly well at right tackle for the Colts before he was hurt.

Holdover Jeff Linkenbach took over for him against the Bears.

He may be in the spot Sunday versus Minnesota. But the Colts are trying to give themselves more options on the line. They signed veteran lineman Trai Essex, who played under coordinator Bruce Arians in Pittsburgh, and signed Bradley Sowell off of the practice squad of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Sowell, 6-7, 320 pounds, is in his rookie season after being signed by Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent out of Ole Miss.

Essex played seven seasons with the Steelers. He also brings good size at 6-4, 324. The Colts put him at backup left guard on their unofficial depth chart, but he’s played both guard and tackle.

Said Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.: “Pretty much the beauty of Essex is that he is tough and very versatile -- being able to play four positions. Arians will be very familiar with him so overall, this signing makes a lot of sense. The problem is that he really doesn’t play any of the positions particularly well at all and isn’t really suited for one over the other.”

Will we see a new starter at right tackle Sunday?

I’m guessing Justice either won’t be ready or that the Colts can protect him and see a chance to make a change at the same time.

My guess is we see Linkenbach, with only an outside chance of Essex. Sowell will need some time to learn what the Colts do.