How boxing classes prepared Matt Pryor for LT competition
Indianapolis Colts offensive lineman Matt Pryor re-signed with the team this offseason knowing he’d have a chance to compete for a starting role at the vacant left tackle position.
Following the retirement of Anthony Castonzo during the 2021 offseason, the Colts opted to take a risk on veteran Eric Fisher, who was coming off of a torn Achilles at the time. That move didn’t work out so well, but Pryor showed flashes of potential as a starter when he had to step in during a Week 17 game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
While they lost that game, Pryor showed a lot of potential at the position. So, he made it a priority to do all he can to get ready for the competition this offseason, which included training his body to mirror movements on the left side.
“Before last season, I never thought about playing that position. I got game time, I started the Raiders game and then I played some in the last game of the season against the Jaguars. The comfortability level kind of came while playing the game but this offseason, I really focused in on working that out when I was training in Texas,” Pryor told reporters Wednesday. “I did some boxing classes and I worked southpaw so I could get used to my hips being flipped the opposite way. So, now going out here during OTAs, it feels natural.”
It’s not a simple switch train the body to work on the opposite side of the offensive line. Several current and former players have likened the transition to going from a right-handed golf swing to a left-handed one. They are almost completely separate movements in a way.
Pryor spent most of the 2021 season working as a valuable depth piece along the offensive line. His versatility to work both on the edge and the interior was likely one of the selling points for the Colts to bring him back.
Now, after re-upping with the Colts on a one-year deal, Pryor will be leading the competition to start on the blindside.
“As of now, I’m doing just left tackle. That’s the position I’m really keying in on. If it came down to it, it’s whatever the team really needs,” Pryor told reporters Wednesday. “If I have to play right guard, that’s fine with me. I’ve played it before but right now my main goal is just focusing in on left tackle and owning it.”
Entering the offseason workout program, Pryor is leading the charge. But he knows there is some stiff competition to go up against after the Colts used a third-round pick on rookie Bernhard Raimann while adding veteran swing tackle Dennis Kelly following the draft.
Having this kind of depth is exactly the kind of situation the Colts want to be in. Whether Pryor wins the job remains to be seen, but his offseason work is already showing up in the competition.