Colts center Shipley familiar with Ravens linemen
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indianapolis Colts have the top-ranked offense in the NFL, but they're far from having it all figured out.
The Colts offensive line is still without an identity, and that doesn't bode well for quarterback Andrew Luck, who leads the NFL in yards passing (1,305) and touchdown passes (13).
During a fun back-and-forth with Baltimore coach and former colleague John Harbaugh this week, Colts coach Chuck Pagano didn't directly address who will start at center against the Ravens (3-1). Former Raven A.Q. Shipley has started at center for Indianapolis (2-2) this season.
''We have a lot of centers on our team,'' Pagano said. ''We've got a bunch of guys in that room that are more than capable of playing a bunch of spots on that offensive line. We talk about position flexibility all the time and everybody has got ample reps at all the spots. Every man is ready to go.''
Shipley started nine games for the Ravens last season, giving him an edge in this week's game plan and possibly an advantage for the starting job. Pagano will make that decision on Sunday.
''It's always great to have a guy on your team that has been with the team you're playing,'' Pagano said. ''There are a lot of things you get from tape and a lot of things you can't get from tape. Having a guy on your squad that knows those guys and can give you some of the intangibles that you can't get off film is a plus for us.''
Shipley echoed his coach's opinion.
''I definitely know (Baltimore). I went against them every day for a year and a half. I've seen their defense, I know their tendencies and I know the moves of the (defensive) lineman,'' Shipley said.
But if it isn't Shipley, what are the options for Indianapolis?
Undrafted rookie Jonotthan Harrison has been getting snaps with the first team offense in practice with Shipley. During camp, Khaled Holmes was the projected starter but has not split reps. Shipley has prepared for this week the same as any other.
''Our job every week is to prepare like you're the starter. That's his job, that's my job and we're going about it the same way,'' Shipley said. ''Whether they call him or whether they call me, we'll both be ready and the other will be ready to back up. (Harrison) is a good player and he's doing a heck of a job.''
Center isn't Indianapolis' only concern. Because of Joe Reitz's ankle injury, rookie left guard Jack Mewhort started the first four games this season. But he'll be out with his own ankle injury on Sunday. Veteran Lance Louis will start in his place.
''We just try to help each other as much as we can. Our O-line has a real good relationship, we gel together and share our experiences,'' Louis said. ''I pride myself on preparation. We know they're a championship caliber team, it's going to be a fight for four quarters and we've prepared for that way all week.''
Indianapolis' search for identity on the offensive line will be tested Sunday by a playoff-caliber team and possible playoff opponent.
''You don't see (Ray Lewis) and (Ed Reed) but what you do see is a bunch of game-wreckers. They're an excellent defense,'' Pagano said. ''Just turn the tape on. They're relentless. It's in their DNA.''