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Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Why not give Castonzo every chance?

By Paul Kuharsky

An alteration to a preseason Week 2 unofficial depth chart isn’t a big deal.

But the revised Colts’ depth chart flips left tackle Anthony Castonzo ahead of Jeff Linkenbach and left guard Joe Reitz ahead of Jacques McClendon.

It may merely be the team rotating guys, but it’s hard not to comment on the Castonzo “move.”

Anthony Castonzo
The Colts' Anthony Castonzo has a rather tough assignment on Sunday -- contain the Vikings' Jared Allen.
As a first-round pick, he should be a guy who can start from the beginning, particularly when he isn’t attempting to displace a proven NFL veteran but a player who was an undrafted free agent just a year ago, starting three regular-season games and one playoff contest.

It’s not an easy spot to jump into, especially with Peyton Manning at risk if Castonzo botches blindside blocking. But Manning’s developed an awfully good radar detection system regarding blocking breakdowns, and over the last four years he helped Tony Ugoh (who was bad) and Charlie Johnson (who did the best he could with what he had) avoid catastrophe.

(A blown block Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium against Washington would be putting Curtis Painter or Dan Orlovsky at risk, not the still-rehabbing Manning.)

Castonzo’s pedigree from Boston College and the draft should be enough to make up for the four games worth of experience for Linkenbach.

The team is confident Castonzo has the makeup to contribute quickly or it wouldn’t have drafted him, because the Colts need the offensive line help now as well as later. The question is how quickly, of course.

The early intent was to ease him in as opposed to subjecting him to baptism by fire.

But I’d go baptism by fire now, particularly with Manning not in any danger. They can always flip Castonzo back if he gets singed.