ANDERSON — Second-year offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo and first-year head coach Chuck Pagano may have had trouble sleeping overnight.
Both are looking forward to today’s afternoon practice when the pads are on for the very first time.
Castonzo, 6-foot-7 and 315 pounds out of Boston College, fought through a leg injury that plagued him through the 12 games he started and caused him to miss four games in the 2011 season. Even so, in those 12 games, he was never flagged for a single holding penalty.
Now Castonzo is prepared for a much healthier and more productive season.
“I feel way better than I did last season when I was playing with the injury,” said Castonzo. “I feel a whole, heckuva a lot better so I’m feeling good, 100 percent going into the season.”
When the pads go on today, Pagano is anxious to see his big tackle go to work.
“Big. Athletic. Strong,” he said of Castanzo. “I can’t wait until (today).
I’ve said it before, where rubber meets the road.”
Pagano recognizes the difference between shorts and pads.
“When you’re in shorts, you get to see athleticism,” he said. “You get to see guys run around. The mental part you get and you understand, but you always say, ‘Look, we’ll find out a lot about everybody when we put the pads on.’ I’ve got a good idea of what we’re going to see. I love what I see so far. It looks like he’s knocked the rust off to this point. Once we get the pads on, I fully expect him to be a mauler and a great pass protector.”
Castonzo isn’t just excited about his health and performance. He likes what he sees from his teammates.
“I think we have a real solid offensive line from tackle to tackle,” he said. “Every position is real good, and I don’t think we have any weak links which is awesome. We’re just hitting the ground running. ‘Rebuild’ means you’re going to take a couple years. I think no one’s in a position where we want to do that. We want to hit the ground running and have a good season this year.”