The Suck for Luck campaign worked wonders, compared with one of the easiest schedules in the NFL, and the #Chuckstrong love. There is some serious momentum coming into this year, but lets not forget this defense was 26th in the NFL.
Its all about Luck, He got beat up, knocked down and threw the 14th most passes in NFL history, and in addition, lead the Colts to 7 4th quarter game-winning drives. You can look at all the things that count against him, but Luck is just a natural QB and a natural leader. With new/old coach Paul Hamilton (a move I LOVE) putting in a different scheme that should cut his hits taken by a third, at least.
The running game sucked, period. You take out Luck’s running, and they tallied 6 TDs,
SIX more than you and I had. Luck was the third leading rusher on the team, and Luck is no Cam Newton. Donald Brown is still a bust, and now he’s a declining bust. Both he and Ballard averaged 3.9 yards a carry. Oh we got issues.
The wideouts are another story. Reggie Wayne is slowing, but the movement of his mind is almost as important as the movement of his legs. The second best guy is gone- Donnie Avery who went to KC, his replacement is Darrius Howard-Bey, who flamed out almost as quickly as he was drafted by Oakland a round early. I expected more out of Coby Fleener, who went early in every fantasy draft I was a part of- and I wanted him early as well. Dwayne Allen is the better guy at TE, and a better blocker.
Speaking of blocking, The Colts did no favors to the franchise guy with the crud infront of him. So a good bit of the free agent money went to a new RT (Cherilus) and RG (Thomas). The only one that is safe is LT Castonzo, who like the other tackle is a BC guy. This group has to do better to keep Luck upright and get some holes open for the running backs to try and make it through.
If you thought the run OFFENSE sucked, even worth was the run DEFENSE. 29th in the NFL.
The Colts have Brandon McKinney back from knee injury, and added Ricky Jean-Francois and Aubrayo Franklin to help that Defensive Line improve. There is going to be a lot of players getting looks here all preseason. Something has to gel or they are going to get run over again. The Linebackers have gotten some support as well, with 1st rounder Werner stepping in and Walden is good vs the run, vs the pass? Not so much. What is not going to help is Dwight Freeney moving on. Robert Mathis is still there, but he’s taking Freeney’s spot- so who is going to play Robert Mathis? Better news is Pat Angerer is going to be recovered from a broken foot. Problem is, how much are they going to improve that putrid run defense?
The secondary is the best thing on this defense, LaRon Landry is an instant starter, who has to play better away from NY. Antoine Bethea is back at the other safety spot, and thats a good thing, with Greg Toler and Vontee Davis as a solid cornerback tandem. Without a good passrush, this backfeild is going to have problems, but its a better start to get better than some teams.
Everyone is back, but Vinatieri is older than dirt, and his leg power is starting to fade. Can’t complain for this year.
My Thoughts are HERE
The Colts spent some cash in the offseason , and most of the newcomers will start- If thats a good idea to sit all the youngsters that busted ass? We will find out.
This all comes down to how Andrew Luck handles year 2, and how much they can improve the O-Line, Front 7 and get the running backs on track. I have a hard time looking at this team and how they are going to win 10 games this year. The AFC and NFC West are not going to be easy, plus games with the Bengals and the Dolphins are going to be hard after last years slate. 6/7 wins might be where they end up.
EJ: I was high on Andrew Luck coming out of Stanford, so he definitely rewarded my confidence in him with a great rookie season. With a running game, the Colts offense should be fine. Luck is a good athlete, he actually is as fast as Cam if you go by their 40 times at the NFL draft combine, but you don’t want Luck running as much as he did last season. Heyward-Bey and TY Hilton bring some speed at wide receiver so look for some down the field throws, and Luck to Fleener should develop even more now that their college offensive coordinator is joining them in the pros.
However, the Colts defense needs to improve if they are going to survive this schedule. Drawing the AFC and NFC West is definitely going to be a challenge on one of the worst defenses last season. So how will the Colts do this season? 8-8 seems fair for this Colts team. That should put them 2nd best in the AFC South.
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