Shipley vs. Holmes – Who Should Start at Center?

Injuries have derailed Holmes' opportunity.

Injuries have derailed Holmes’ opportunity.

We are three weeks into the NFL season and already there is “controversy” brewing over who should start at center for the Colts. We all thought that Khaled Holmes – hands down – was the chosen one going into training camp, but unfortunately he got injured on the first drive of the first preseason game. Undrafted free agent Jonotthan Harrison stepped in, and despite a few botched snaps he played fairly well; well enough that many fans felt that Harrison should be starting even when Holmes returned from injury.
Then came the regular season. Finals cuts had been made and an old face found his way onto the open market. The Colts wasted little time in snatching up A.Q. Shipley who had been cut by the Ravens. Now, according to the numbers, Shipley was a terrible offensive lineman. If you go by numbers alone then why sign him? However, we all saw how he played in 2012 when Samson Satele got injured. Shipley was the glue that held the line together and the hope was that history would repeat itself.
Shipley has found himself starting since his arrival back in Indy. Even with Holmes and Harrison ready to go they have been healthy scratches for the first three games. Now there is something brewing. Holmes has been practicing without issue. So now the question arises – who should start? Should Holmes get the start just because he was SUPPOSED to be the starter or should Shipley remain the starter because we can already see this line beginning to gel?
I’m not even going to try and say that Shipley hasn’t had some lackluster moments during his tenure in Indy. He has been beaten by blitzes and at times doesn’t seem able to maintain his blocks. On the other hand, there are the times when he obliterates the defender and creates holes for Bradshaw and Richardson. In his limited snaps last season and only getting a handful of plays this preseason, we haven’t been able to properly say whether Holmes has what it takes. Should he start just so we can see what he can bring to this offensive line? If so, shouldn’t that have happened last week when the opposing defensive line was so far inferior that the risk of Luck getting his head taken off was minimal?
I’m torn here. On one hand I love what Shipley brings to this team. For some reason when he is in the game, the line plays much better. Maybe he is more vocal than others like Jeff Saturday was or maybe they just like him better than Holmes. Who knows? On the other hand, I feel that Holmes has put in the work and deserves the chance to showcase his ability to Colts Nation that he too is a good center and can do everything Shipley does, but better.
In the end I just couldn’t bring myself to say that Holmes should start. I would much rather see him try to beat Shipley out in practice rather than see the reigns handed over to him…..just because. I want to see this current O-Line continue to grow together. Hell, this is the best pass protecting line in the NFL right now. Why would you want to mess up a good thing? The running game has not been this effective in years and obviously the line is a big part of that. The Colts offense is the most “balanced” it has been since Addai and Rhodes were in the backfield together. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it…am I right?


2 responses to “Shipley vs. Holmes – Who Should Start at Center?

  1. Why fix it if it’s not broken ? If or when Shipley fails to do the job then talk about a replacement., No need for a change unless Luck is more comfortable with someone else.

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