This is a topic that has been beaten over and over again by my fellow bloggers and sports radio show hosts for a month. Why is Harrison starting over Shipley? The question may be old and worn but it’s just as prevalent now as it was then. What has A.Q. done to the coaching staff or the Colts organization?
Khaled Holmes was slated to be the starter when the season began. It was a move that many of us didn’t care for because Holmes was very unproven and we didn’t know how he would do. We were hoping to get a taste in the preseason but 5 plays into the first game Holmes gets hurt and missed the rest of the preseason. When the regular season began, same song and dance. Started, gets hurt quickly. Enter A.Q. Shipley. He is a fan favorite from his time with the Colts in 2012. I sincerely thought after that season Shipley would be signed to stay here but was traded to Baltimore where he wasn’t very productive. When the Ravens cut him, everyone and their mother tweeted, wrote or called in about the Colts picking him up. That’s just what they did. He started the first few games but then something happened that none of us saw coming. The coaching staff felt that Jonotthan Harrison would do a better job. That remains to be seen.
Harrison has had moments where he looked so damn good that it was hard to believe he went undrafted. Then those moments became few and far between. So much so that, when watching film, having Harrison as the starting center was a hazard to the team. So who does the coaching staff put into shore up the protection? Shipley. When an offensive lineman with the Colts goes down, who gets put in to replace them? Shipley. This past week, Reitz went down with an ankle and Harrison went out with a neck injury. Who came in to “save” the day? Shipley and Holmes. The two men who have been treated like they have a disease were called upon in the moment the Colts needed protection the most and they got it.
It’s been widely said and shown in film that when Shipley is in the game, the blocking across the offensive line is exponentially better than when Harrison is in a center. Now I’m not sure what Shipley brings to the table that Harrison can’t but it’s something for sure. It’s almost as if the rest of the offensive line respects Shipley more than Harrison. Maybe that’s the case or maybe it isn’t; nevertheless, it’s shown that Shipley is superior to Harrison in almost every way.
Now that the Colts have been preparing for the Texans, the reports coming out of practice are that Harrison was with the starters. So once again, Shipley gets tossed to the side after coming in as the Colts super hero last week. At a time where the Colts are going to face a major division foe with quite possibly the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in J.J. Watt, you would think they would go with their best offensive line and that doesn’t include Harrison. Shipley may only be a Band-Aid for the problem the Colts face along the offensive line but myself, along with so many Colts fan, would rather have the Band-Aid on the field than the cut that is gushing blood. All I have to say to the Colts coaching staff is this; if the Colts offensive line issues are fixed when Shipley is in please leave him there. This isn’t the time to develop a young center as the Colts are trying to get things figured out for the playoff run. Stop playing Dr. Frankenstein and put the real monster on the field. Please?