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Indianapolis Colts sticking with young OL through growing pains

Indianapolis Colts plan for Bernhard Raimann as starting left tackle

Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Jeff Saturday gave a vote of confidence to a pair of young players on the offensive line in left tackle Bernhard Raimann and right guard Will Fries.

Despite their struggles in the Week 11 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles, Saturday told the media that they are sticking with the young players as they go through some growing pains.

Saturday believes that is partly necessary for players to go through when it comes to their development.

“No, we’re going to stick with what we got,” Saturday told reporters Monday. “Again, some of it’s growing pains when you talk about Bernie (Bernhard Raimann) out at left tackle and (Will) Fries at guard. There’s some things that they’re just going to have to learn and you learn by experience. As rough as that sounds, it happens.”

According to Pro Football Focus, both Raimann and Fries allowed a team-high four pressures each in pass protection while Raimann was credited with allowing two sacks and Fries was credited with one.

It was certainly a tough matchup for any young offensive lineman. The Eagles defensive front is one of the best in the NFL so it was going to be a difficult task regardless.

But after showing some life in Saturday’s debut against the Las Vegas Raiders, the offensive line reverted back to its typical ways. They allowed pressure at a pretty consistent rate and failed to generate any push in the run game outside of the opening drive.

Saturday acknowledges the struggles but also makes it clear he believes it’s part of the learning process.

“Both guys have competed, they’ve battled, they’ve done all the things that we ask them to do in practice,” said Saturday. “Again, they’re getting better each week. They’re learning and unfortunately, some of those times, it shows in very inopportune times like it did [Sunday] but both guys are still progressing. I like their effort and I like the way they are progressing. We just have to get there as fast as possible.”

The Colts still have six games left and are falling out of the playoff race. These growing pains are necessary, but they also could be part of the reason the playoff hopes continue to dwindle.

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