On March 12, the Colts signed offensive tackle Adam Terry to a one year contract. Terry is entering his sixth season in the NFL. He played college ball at Syracuse and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the 2005 draft. He didn't start in his rookie season, but did appear in seven games.
Terry has never started more than nine games in a given season throughout his career, with 18 starts in 48 appearances over four seasons — 2005 through 2008, since he had neither a start nor an appearance during the 2009 season since he was placed on injured reserve before the season started due to chronic problems with his right knee.
Aaron Wilson of Ravens Insider thinks that Terry still has something left in the tank.
"He's big, has quick feet for his size, long arms," Wilson said. "He needs to lower his pad level, but has good balance. Durability is his biggest issue and tolerance of pain. He's had ankle and knee issues. If healthy, he's a low-risk signing. Has the ability to be a starter in the NFL. Good kick step, not a lunger most of the time. Good pass protector, run blocking isn't as great, but has some ability to push people around."
Current Ravens right tackle Michael Oher was drafted in the first round before Terry went on injured reserve, though, so the team's confidence in him was probably low to begin with and the ankle and knee issues Terry had been working through inspired Baltimore not to re-sign him. Oher has ascended to the top of the depth chart and is secure in his position, which is another reason the Ravens decided to part ways with Terry.
If he is fully healed from his injury — and the troublesome part of the knee injury is the "chronic" that appears in front of it, as one would assume that carrying around a large frame on a chronically bad knee is not a healthy combination — then he can certainly compete for a starting role. Unlike many of the free agents that the Colts have brought on in recent years, Terry is a little bit older — he will turn 28 by the time the 2010 season begins — and has a fair number of starts under his belt.
He's three years younger than incumbent Ryan Diem, has a significantly lower price tag, and is a more physically imposing presence at 6-foot-8 and 335 pounds, which is what Indianapolis prefers at the right tackle position. If they are indeed looking to get tougher and more physical up front, then Terry would appear to be an upgrade over Diem.\
Still, there's a reason that Terry, an experienced player at a premium position, was still available after a full week of free agency. Injury concerns will be a problem for him — the Colts have plenty of experience with "chronic" and "nagging" injuries and know when to press a player and when to let him "rest old injuries" — but Diem is far from entrenched at his position.
The coaching staff has shown that they will not hesitate to replace a player on the offensive line if they feel as though someone else on the roster could do a better job, with the switches to Kyle DeVan and Charlie Johnson. Provided that Terry can prove he is more physical than Diem, is fully motivated and fully healthy in mini-camps and OTAs, he has a very good chance to unseat Diem. That's a lot of variables, though.
As far as character and personality is concerned, Wilson thinks that Terry has the attributes to succeed with the Colts. "He's an intelligent player," Wilson said. "Fairly quiet with the media until trust is gained. Low-key guy."
Diem has always been a good player, but not a great one. The Indianapolis front office — and the staff of ColtPower.com — has always been looking for alternatives to Diem and his surprisingly high salary, but Diem has staved off competition since 2001. Can he survive another challenge? Well, this may be the most formidable challenger he's had in a while. Terry has size, a mean streak, experience, and a chance to possibly get revenge on his former team.
"Terry definitely has something to prove after Baltimore gave up on him," Wilson said. That's good news for the Colts and potentially bad news for Diem.
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