During the 2012 preseason there will be certain players that we'll go back and specifically watch for during the games, trying to get a feel for who will help this team in 2012, and who needs to go home. Prior to the first preseason game against St. Louis, I shared eight players that I would be watching during the game, all eight of which will be reviewed extensively on Colts Authority, along with several other players. The previously reviewed players are listed here:
George Foster is the most experience player on the Colts' offensive line, along with Winston Justice, with seven years of NFL service under his belt. Earlier in his career he was a left tackle for the Denver Broncos, but he's been unable to land a starting job over the last three years. Actually, he's struggled finding ANY kind of NFL job, but seems to have found a place in Indy that might be a good fit.
Foster is currently the backup left tackle, backing up the Colts' first round pick from 2011, Anthony Castonzo. Castonzo missed time last season with injuries (a bad ankle hampered him for most of the season), and it would surprise nobody if he missed time in 2012, leaving Foster to man the spot.
But, is he up to the task?
Before halftime, Foster came in with the rest of the second team, for the last series of the half.
On that series, Foster was much less than impressive. On the couple running plays, Foster's blocks were weak, including one where a move left Foster grasping at air. Foster did get out and ran well in front of Ballard on a draw, keeping a cornerback out of the play. He got help from Ballard on the sole pass play of the series, but didn't allow the defender to get through. On the series, Foster responded to the snap slowly a few times, moving a fraction of a second after the rest of the line.
In the initial series in the second half, Foster seemed to settle down a little bit. A big part of that was due to coaching, as the offense ran a lot of quick screens and short passes, not allowing the line to have much time to hold off any pass rushers. Foster did his part on those plays however, something that should be noted.
The next series, however, started to look back to the form exhibited on the first drive. On the first play, a run play, Foster got pushed back into the backfield right away, causing a three yard loss. On the second play, Foster tried to cut block his man, but failed, and Ballard had to run sideways instead of up the field, leading to just a one yard gain. On third down, Foster was the beneficiary of a chip from TE Dominique Jones, slowing down the DE. Foster knocked him over, and tried to pancake him, but missed horribly.
After the reverse by T.Y. Hilton, the Colts ran the ball again with Ballard, and Foster's bad block led to the defensive lineman getting a clean tackle on Ballard just a yard off the line of scrimmage. For the rest of the series, Foster was mediocre at best, but didn't have any glaring misses.
Overall, Foster played a pretty good amount, along with the rest of the second team. Unfortunately, he looked like a liability on the line (and this was the second team). His run blocking was atrocious, and his pass blocking was serviceable at times, but you can tell that an experienced DE would make him look foolish. He was receiving help from the TE or RB at times, but these were mostly three step drops. If you have to have your RB or TE stay in to block, it really takes a weapon away.
If Castonzo gets hurt, Foster is not a serviceable backup. I'd rather have a guy like Linkenbach backing him up.
Again, comment or tweet me (@ColtsAuth_Kyle) for more information or suggestions!
@ColtsAuth_Kyle I honestly didn't just forget to watch him, I even forgot he was still in the league.
- This is a great series. This is what preseason is for and most of us just don't have the time to analyze individual players like this. Much appreciated.
- Nitpicking on one point - "it would surprise nobody if [Castonzo] missed time in 2012". Really? Obviously he dealt with injuries most of last season, but from my quick and unofficial research, it looks like he started every game at BC for 4 years. Is there something about his injury that I'm forgetting about that leads us to think it'll come back or reoccur? I honestly don't remember much about it (last season's memories are repressed). But unless there's more info, personally, I will be surprised if he misses time.
@psvirsky Nah, but little injuries that cost linemen a game or so are pretty common. I don't know that the ankle is more unstable than usual, and I'm not saying he's injury prone, but I wouldn't be surprised if any of the OL missed a game or two here and there.
@Kyle Rodriguez That's fair. I guess really, we shouldn't be surprised if any player on an NFL team misses time in any given season. I'm sure there are some positions that are more durable than others (interesting study? maybe already been done?) but yeah, injuries are the norm when 300 lb guys are banging into each other (interesting porno? maybe already been done?)