Indianapolis Colts Season Preview

As the dawn of Colts training camp fast approaches, fans can’t help but wonder if this Cinderella team has what it takes to be playoff contenders in the upcoming season. Last year, the nation watched as one of the worst ranked teams in the NFL triumphed over tragedy, a newly assembled team and an extensive injury roster.

Let’s face it, last season was magical. We watched anxiously on the edge of our seats as the Colts posted an unbelievable record of 11-5 and a wildcard playoff appearance. Here in lies the issue – it may have created some unrealistic expectations for year two. Now, I bleed blue and white and before you go postal on me, hear me out. Many factors play into the challenges for the Colts this year and there are a few areas to monitor as they attempt to build on last year’s accomplishments.

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Colts found motivation from Coach Pagano

The first and most important factor is the team’s chemistry. There have been many changes to the Colts roster on both offense and defense; however, most players have at least one season of familiarity under their belts which is more than they could say at the start of last season. As most of us know, the Colts found unparalleled motivation from Coach Pagano’s battle with leukemia last year.  Pagano missed 12 regular season games, naming Bruce Arians the interim head coach in his absence. Here’s the kicker – Arians and Pagano’s coaching styles greatly differ from one another. Arians, now head coach for Arizona, leaves Pagano with a new offensive philosophy & offensive coordinator.

Now that Pep Hamilton has arrived, the Colts may plan to use more “West Coast principles” in their offense. In turn, emphasizing shorter passes that will open up the field for long passes or runs. Last year, we witnessed Luck being forced outside his comfort zone with the deeper passes down the field so this new strategy may prove to be effective.  Pagano is stepping into his second year as head coach of the Colts and if his passion is any indication, he will utilize the experience and youth of his team to continue to be the dominating force in the NFL that we have come to know.

But how will Chuck Pagano and Pep Hamilton plan to use to ready weapons of the Colts offense? More specifically, will Colts veteran Reggie Wayne be able to mentor wide receivers Ty Hilton and new addition (former Oakland Raiders receiver) Darrius Heyward – Bey? As for TE Dwayne Allen, can he surpass his stellar rookie performance from last year? Another TE to keep your eye on is Coby Fleener, who has faced scrutiny for being one of the under-performing stars of the Colts offense.

Let’s not give ALL the love to the offense, as we have seen some shifting on the defense as well. We are heading into year two of Pagano’s 3-4 defense and this year should be a better indication of whether or not they can deliver the desired results. Pagano does indeed have all the tools necessary to improve the defense, including a slew of key players like Cory Redding, Vontae Davis, Jerrell Freeman and Ricky Jean-Francois. Not only does he have a defense with bone crushing capabilities, he also has depth and quality to work with. Last year’s plague of injuries also gave many rookies and second strings the opportunity to hit the turf more than they were accustomed to, which may prove to come in handy this season.

Let’s not forget about the colts schedule this year either. Somehow the stars aligned and gave the Colts the opportunity to play teams such as Tennessee (twice), Jacksonville (twice), Oakland Raiders (once) and Arizona (once) which should be easy “gimme’s” for the Colts. The tougher challenges lie ahead, facing off against Houston, Seattle, Denver and San Francisco.

My prediction for this season? 10-6. This includes a 4-2 record vs. the AFC South, 7-1 at home and 2-6 on the road. With many fresh faces, I anticipate a slow start for the Colts however, I would not be surprised to see them get a wild card berth for the AFC. All of this will remain to be seen at the start of training camp this Saturday, as veterans and rookies alike vie for coveted spots on the beloved team’s roster.

2 Responses to “Indianapolis Colts Season Preview”

  1. Paul Burke

    Very insightful article and well written…Good to read a knowledgeable writers assessment who is actually a TRUE fan!!

  2. Linda Humerickhouse

    This article was so well written, and easy/fun to read & understand. I know only the basics of football, but feel like I know a lot more about the actual team’s status, players, & coaches than before. Danielle’s writing style is impressive, and I hope to read much more from her this season.

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