INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s no secret the pressure players such as quarterback Andrew Luck and linebacker Robert Mathis are under to be at their best every week for the Indianapolis Colts. But you don’t have to wonder if those players will show up to play on a week-to-week basis.
The same can’t be said about some other players on the roster.
With the start of training camp less than two weeks away, we’re going to take a look at a number of players who are under pressure to step up this season.
Time to step up: Center Khaled Holmes
Why he needs to step up: Colts general manager Ryan Grigson has put all his faith in Holmes. He didn’t select a center in the draft, didn’t trade for one and signed a marginal one -- Phil Costa -- during free agency who ended up retiring before ever taking a snap for the Colts in offseason workouts. Holmes only played 12 snaps as a rookie in 2013 after an ankle injury in training camp put him behind the rest of his teammates. For those questioning Holmes’ ability, Grigson likes to remind those doubters that it’s not like his second-year center went to “Whatsa Matta U.” Holmes had 37 starts while at USC. The goal is to have Holmes team with quarterback Andrew Luck for years to come.
What he has to do: Holmes has to lead the offensive line to ensure Luck is able to stand on his two feet and the running backs have holes to run through. He has to make the correct calls so the rest of the offensive line knows what’s going on. The Colts have high expectations this season. That means Holmes can’t play like he’s basically a rookie. He has to play like he’s veteran, and one who will be the only player snapping the ball to Luck for at least the next decade.
Outlook: As mentioned earlier, the Colts weren’t worried enough to heavily pursue a center during a free agency, so they’re going to give Holmes as many opportunities as possible to keep the job.
Quotable: “He’s doing a really good job of making all the calls. As a tackle with the relationship that we have to have, he’s doing a real good job keeping us on the same page.” -- left tackle Anthony Castonzo