The Indianapolis Colts patiently stuck to their plan to replace longtime left tackle Anthony Castonzo once he retired this offseason, even bypassing tackles in the draft as the braintrust considered all options. Before the Colts landed on Pro Bowl left tackle Eric Fisher earlier this month, there was serious consideration of moving All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson to the position.
If Nelson was the best option, Indianapolis would have made the switch, but head coach Frank Reich really didn't want to move the best player in the league at his position.
"We did want to do everything we could do to keep him at left guard," Reich said on a conference call at Colts minicamp Monday. "We were keeping the option open to put him out there, but we knew we were going to work pretty hard against that. I just give Chris (Colts general manager Chris Ballard) a lot of credit for – in typical Ballard fashion, (he) was very patient. He was very patient.
"He looked at all the options, had multiple plans – plan A), plan B), backup plans, and it ended up playing out I really think the way Chris originally envisioned it working out. The patience was a good thing."
Fisher's signing allows the Colts to keep Nelson at left guard, solidifying one of the best offensive lines in football. Nelson has been a dominant force at left guard since he entered the league in 2018, allowing just three sacks in 1,822 pass blocking snaps over the past three seasons. Nelson has as many First Team All-Pro appearances (three) as sacks allowed.
Nelson allowed a career-low 15 pressures and 11 hurries in 575 pass-blocking snaps in 2020, arguably his best season at left guard. No wonder the Colts wanted to keep him there if they could.
"I definitely wanted to stay at left guard, but I was going to do whatever the team required me to do," Nelson said. "You just have to do what is required and help the team in any way possible to win games. So if that had me at left tackle or had me at left guard, I was going to do it.
"Everyone staying at their respective spots is what everyone is comfortable with. It's what we've done for the last three years, going on four now. I'm just excited to keep building this thing together. Losing Anthony (Castonzo) was tough, but we are adding a heck of a player in (Eric) Fisher and all four of us were really excited about it when we saw the signing."