NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports the Indianapolis Colts are signing Dave DeGuglielmo as their offensive line coach to serve under projected head coach and New England Patriots current offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
This is a bizarre move, despite their familiarity.
Luck has battled injuries, playing just 22 of a possible 48 games over the past three season, so creating an offensive line that can keep him safe should be the top priority for the Colts. Based on his time with the Patriots, DeGuglielmo doesn’t seem to be the right choice to accomplish that goal.
DeGuglielmo served as the Patriots offensive line coach in 2014 and 2015 when Dante Scarnecchia was temporarily retired. It did not go well.
The Patriots have annually boasted one of the top offensive lines in the league and from 2004-12, they could claim to be one of the top five units in the entire NFL. The 2013 experienced a dip due to the injuries and turnover on the offense affecting the entire unit and they were simply “average” that year.
In 2014 and 2015, though, the Patriots had one of the bottom ten offensive lines in the league, particularly with respect to their pass blocking, ranking 31st in Pro Football Focus’s pass blocking ratings in each season.
The Patriots parted way with DeGuglielmo for the 2016 season and, lo, the Patriots offensive line went back to a top 10 unit under the guidance of Scarnecchia, including an incredible turnaround for All Pro right tackle Marcus Cannon, and they’ve been great again in 2017.
So the Colts are asking a coach who turned a top 10 offensive line into a bottom 10 unit, and when the Patriots moved away from DeGuglielmo it went right back to being a top 10 grouping.
There were a lot of problems with how DeGuglielmo coached the Patriots offensive line, too. They lunged a lot, which allowed defenders to win every leverage battle; they also stopped focusing on maintaining their leverage and rose up in their stances before engaging with the defender; they shifted their weight forward while also narrowing their base, which affected their balance and power and ability to slide in their protections.
Scarnecchia focuses on the smallest adjustments to technique and preaches consistency that simply didn’t exist under DeGuglielmo.
Hopefully DeGuglielmo’s learned from his experience in New England and from his subsequent stops with the Chargers and Dolphins because you never want to see someone fail, but this is a weird decision by McDaniels after having a front row seat to all of the struggles with the Patriots offensive line under DeGuglielmo.