Indianapolis Colts Season Review Offseason Preview
As weird as it would sound coming into the season, the Colts went 6-3 without Andrew Luck and only went 2-5 with him. He never really got off to a start to 2015, after losing his first two games and getting harassed in them. They beat the Tennessee Titans in a comeback effort before the first start for Matt Hasselbeck. Luck also was on the field for a win at home against the Denver Broncos, certainly the most impressive win of the year. On the other end of the spectrum, their most devastating came with Hasselback, and it ended with him on the sideline and an ugly 51-16 loss to the Jaguars. The week after the Colts decided to shut down Luck for the rest of the way, and the Colts managed to get to 8-8. It is weird to see Hasselback with a better record,but this should be something for Luck to learn from and that is that you can win games just by managing the game.
More surprising than the coaches staying is the fact that Ryan Grigson is still the general manager. He has mis managed draft picks and trades, and his relationship with some members of the coaching staff have to be awkward amongst more rumors of their change than any thoughts of the change of Grigson. Chuck Pagano is a great coach in the sense that he is a motivator. That said he isn’t the best in game coach, and while a lot of the blame ended up on offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, Rob Chudzinski steps in as a proven coordinator in the league and the hope is to upgrade the line, and more than likely feature the tight end under Chud. If the team doesn’t see progress at this point it would be problem for Pagano.
As mentioned above, a lot of Lucks struggles could be holding on and trying to force it deep too often. With playmakers like TY Hilton and Donte Moncrief who are major deep threats you get sucked into it and it almost makes you one dimensional. The line isn’t great but the way Hasselback won was managing games. Luck will be fine, but needs to learn not to take every hit, and that while he has the ability to drop bombs, it needs to be just another tool.
Running back Play
Frank Gore saw a big drop in numbers compared to his years in San Francisco. To be fair, their line doesn’t have talent but going on age 33 there can’t be thoughts that he will be breaking out any time next year. The team also does not currently have a potential back up plan after signing Boom Herron last year to finish up. The Colts have a lot of holes, but they should still be looking for a back up and young replacement for Gore, as well a change of pace type back younger than Ahmad Bradshaw.
If the Colts thought Frank Gore burnt out they have to going crazy over Andre Johnson. He put in 500 yards, but only in two games he went over 50 yards. He may be spared getting release though as their first round draft pick Phillip Dorsett ended the season needing surgery. They then have the deep threats in Moncrief and Hilton, and the two should be make the wide receiver position a non problem going into the year, especially keeping Johnson as a fourth wide receiver.
At tight end however we have major questions. Both Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are due a contract and the thought would be they want both back. The next thought would be what the demand is for the two and if they can afford the two. Allen is the better prospect but has been injured more, while Fleener has started to ascend due to more playing time. Either way it will be interesting to watch.
Anthony Castonzo was signed to a big extension, but in a lot of people’s eyes it is with the hope that he will be better than what they are getting now. On the right side, 2014 2nd rounder Jack Mewhort has been a more pleasent surprise. On the interior Joe Reitz, Khaled Holmes and Hugh Thornton are the expected starters signed on the team right now. You would imagine the interior is where they look to improve for the offensive line.
The defensive line was respectable in 2015. Kendall Langford had a solid year, and rookie Henry Anderson also had a strong nine game stretch before ending his season with an injury. The big question on the defensive line is what they will get out of Arthur Jones who has been a disappointment for a year or so now. Rookie David Parry started all 16 games at the nose, and while he had flaws, they can go back to him and get Anderson more playing time by spelling both Jones and Lanford. Anderson may also get some time in the nose. It gives them versatility, but knowing that Jones has been a disappointment, but is tough to cut the Colts should add another rookie to the then younger core.
Eric Walden and Trent Cole add to Jones, Johnson and Gore as players who have slipped up since being signed by the Colts. Cole barely saw the field, and Walden is a better run defender, but doesn’t have a strong pass rush ability. Robert Mathis still has it, but at the same time he is now going on age 35. Bjoern Werner was a former first round pick but is a clear bust, and another example of the poor drafting by Grigson.It leaves a huge hole for a pass rush, but a question as to if they can even fix it this year.
On the inside D’qwell Jackson has been steady and can find the ball and the Colts should be looking to sign Jerrell Freeman who is a great fit next to him. If Freeman were to walk it would leave Sio Moore, and Nate Irving, which would give them some big time question marks,
Vontae Davis and Mike Adams fill two of the starting spots in the secondary and with that it gives them a building piece. Davis can man up on receivers and Adams is a steady tackler. Opposite Davis they have a hole and Darius Butler, who can be a fine nickel corner. They will have to decide whether to resign Greg Toler, who honestly wasn’t bad, but not the best, or they will be looking to improve. At free safety they have Dwight Lowery testing free agency but he will not draw much.
Where do they go?
With Luck back the Colts immediately shoot back to division favorites and the spotlight is back on them. The Colts will need to improve, especially in the run and short pass game on offense. It makes their interior line a must improve, and aside from that their front seven can use work. The problem is you don’t really suspect their GM will do the right thing, and you just hope it doesn’t hinder Luck into his prime.