Rushville Republican

Sports

August 6, 2013

Castonzo matches new look of O-line

ANDERSON — Indianapolis Colts fans might not recognize left tackle Anthony Castonzo if not for his No. 74 jersey.

The third-year player is sporting a new look these days. In place of his usual shaved head or close-cropped hair, Castonzo is rocking a thick beard and shaggy mane of dark hair. It’s as if he’s trying to look the part of the elder statesman on the Colts’ offensive line.

“I just told him today I forget how young he actually is. Because he doesn’t carry himself as a young guy,” left guard Donald Thomas said. “We’ve bonded so far, and we’re getting our communication down better. We listen to each other, and we both have suggestions for each other. We don’t get mad at each other. So it’s working out.”

Castonzo’s new look also reflects the new appearance of Indianapolis’ offensive line.

Free agent Thomas has replaced Joe Reitz as Castonzo’s partner on the left side.

Gosder Cherilus was signed to take over for Winston Justice at right tackle. The rebuilt line, which also includes center Samson Satele and right guard Mike McGlynn, must improve its protection of second-year quarterback Andrew Luck, who was sacked 41 times last year.

“We’ve definitely taken it upon ourselves to become more physical,” Castonzo said Sunday following a walkthrough at Anderson University’s Macholtz Stadium. “I think we’ve done that just by a lot of guys in the offseason getting in the weight room and just being out here and just really trying to go through people and hit. So it’s definitely been pretty physical out there.”

Coach Chuck Pagano has been pleased with what he’s seen from Castonzo and company so far. One week into camp, the new additions are fitting in, making a seamless transition on the field and in the meeting room. Happy with his first line and the Colts’ depth, Pagano wants to make a statement in the preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills next Sunday. And it all starts in the trenches with the offensive line.

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