Frank Reich is tasked with turning around a franchise that has failed to make the post season in the last 3 years. Everything depends on the health of returning QB Andrew Luck.
Reasons to be cheerful?
Luck is back, fit, surviving big hits in the pre-season and driving his team down the field well. There are bound to be spots of rust and the odd head spinning decision early on but if he’s back to being 95% of the Luck we saw pre-injury then the Colts will be delighted
Jack Doyle has been an excellent Tight End especially during the teams QB issues over the last couple of years, providing safe hands and assured route running as well as blocking. He is now joined by athletic underachiever Eric Ebron which opens up plenty of offensive options that the Colts haven’t had since Dwayne Allen left after 2016.
The O-line isn’t perfect but its improving. This is Key as Luck cannot go on enduring the beatings he took back in 2016. Left Guard Quenton Nelson will be busy but he looks ready to keep Luck upright.
T.Y Hilton will benefit from having Luck back. He performed well last year with Brissett under Centre, 966 yards and 4scores, so expect a thousand yard year with 6-10 TDs.
Adam Vinatieri needs just 57 points to become the highest scoring player of all time-overtaking Morten Andersen’s 2544. He can also pass Andersen for the most FGs made by scoring just 7 to eclipse the 565 record.
Reasons to be fearful?
Oh the running game. Marlon Mack is nicked-up, and despite favourable whisperings about Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines I’d need to see them perform before I think all is well. If there is no run game to speak of the opponents will be able to pressure Luck with ease.
The defense in general is poor. It has been for years. Very little was done to address this in the off season. Jabaal Shead is a decent D.E but the rest of the line lacks star-quality or ability to flush the opposing QB from the pocket, I also see very little to like in the linebacking corps or the D-backfield.
How does the season shape up?
It wont be pretty. The return of Luck will be negated by an awful defense and a mediocre running game. This team is 2 years away from relevance, and two years of hoping Luck stays healthy is going to be a long, rough ride.
Playoffs? No. Titans, Jags and Texans all have significantly better teams in either QB, RB, DEF or all three. The colts should avoid the no.1 pick in next years draft, but If they finish 3rd in this division that will be success this time out