INDIANAPOLIS – Colts right tackle Ryan Diem certainly would like to earn his second Super Bowl ring, but he has an even more modest goal Sunday.
Im looking forward to playing the whole game this time, Diem said with a smile.
Diem broke a bone in his foot during the second quarter of Indianapolis last Super Bowl, a victory over his hometown Chicago Bears.
Thats one of the few hiccups in an otherwise steady career.
Since his second season in 2002, Diem has been entrenched as a starter on the Colts line. In his eight full seasons as a starter – he was a part-time starter as a rookie at right guard and moved to tackle in 2003 – he has started at least 15 games five
times. He was the only member of the line to start all 16 regular-season games at one position last season.
He would have started 16 this season had the Colts not held out some of their starters for the regular-season finale. Diem rested for that one but said last week his body feels good.
And thats a good thing for the Colts.
He has been outstanding, coach Jim Caldwell said of Diem. There is a guy that you can depend on week in and week out. He is very steady. He is very mature. Hes been around awhile. When you dont have to worry about a position, you know he is going to take care of his spot, there is a huge comfort level in that.
Left tackle Charlie Johnson, who said hes been tutored by the older Diem, offered a similar assessment.
Hes seen everything, Johnson said. Hes been with Peyton (Manning), so he has that experience. He just brings a steady presence on this line. Hes always playing well. You hardly ever see him out of position.
Diem considered last season his best individually, in part because he was able to stay healthy, and he rates this season as pretty solid.
It has shown in the offensive lines productivity.
Five times during Diems career, the Colts have led the NFL in fewest sacks allowed. That includes giving up only 13 sacks in the regular season this year, the lowest in the last decade.
Thats where we pride ourselves, is as a group looking at stats like sacks allowed, pressures, hits on Peyton, Diem said. As long as were keeping him clean, hes piling up the yardage and the touchdowns and things are going pretty well.
Though the Colts running game ranked last in the NFL in rushing (80.9 ypg), Diem said he thinks thats not an accurate representation of the production in that area.
Our running game wasnt exactly where we wanted it as far as stats-wise, but it seems like were efficient when we need a run and when we need a few yards, we can get them.