We all know if Peyton Manning’s knee doesn’t hold up, the Indianapolis Colts’ season is over. With Jim Sorgi at the helm, this is a five-win team at best.

The Colts desperately need help at left guard. Is this guy available to help?

The Colts desperately need help at left guard. Is this guy available to help?

Without the luxury of training camp and preseason to get in game shape and adjust to a constantly changing offensive line, these first few weeks will be dangerous for Manning.

His offensive line has endured more changes than Meg Ryan’s face the past couple years and he’s going to have to be quick on the trigger – particularly early in the season – to keep defenders off his knee.

In 2006 the Colts’ offensive line was at its best. Manning was sacked just 14 times and the team ran the ball at will in the postseason.

Last year, left tackle Tarik Glenn announced his retirement prior to training camp and the Colts plugged rookie Tony Ugoh into his spot. Ugoh struggled at times, but held his own. Injuries plagued the unit and it allowed 21 sacks in 2007. In the Colts’ first-round playoff exit, the team ran for just 44 yards and averaged 2.4 yards per carry.

Now, the offensive line is a mess. Right guard Jake Scott signed with the Titans in the offseason; left guard Ryan Lilja missed the preseason and was recently put on the PUP list, meaning he will miss the first six weeks of the season; and center Jeff Saturday will miss at least the first five weeks of the season with an injured MCL.

Who will replace Lilja, Scott, and Saturday isn’t exactly clear, but one thing is for sure – the Colts offensive line will feature a wealth of inexperience.

Expect rookies Steve Justice and Mike Pollak and third-year men Charlie Johnson and Dan Federkeil to see plenty of time. Of course Ugoh – a second year player – is in charge of protecting Manning’s blind side.

The Colts will begin the 2008 season with one offensive lineman who started in the Super Bowl just 18 months ago – Ryan Diem.

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