There are a lot self-proclaimed experts who write blogs, call into radio talk shows and post on massage boards. They all have their opinion as to how the Colts will do. One moron said that Colts would be lucky to win 2 games and that Andrew Luck would be a horrible NFL quarterback. Others (myself included) have said that Andrew Luck will be much better as a rookie than Peyton Manning. Some say the Colts will go 3-13 – others say 10-6. I say it will probably be somewhere in between, something between 5-11 and 8-8.
How well the Colts do this season will be largely determined by the injuries they incur. They can’t sustain injuries to key players and continue to do well. It’s not that team… yet! Let’s take a quick snapshot of the team:
Pat McAfee and Adam Vinatieri are two of the best in the game. That may be the Colts greatest strength.
This has always been a weakness of the Bill Polian Colts and Ryan Grigson is determined to have guys on special teams that “have a few loose screws and run down-field like their hair is on fire.” If the coaching staff can succeed in doing that, the team will be much better for it, but only time will tell. Predictions have to be tempered because none of us really know how this will play out.
Depth-wise, the Colts are better than they have ever been. Drew Stanton is a real backup QB and Chandler Harnish has shown signs that he can indeed play in this league. However, it’s all about Luck – Andrew Luck. I predict that he will put up “eye-popping” numbers as a rookie. The Colts will try and run the ball, but I can’t see them being very adept at it this season. Luck will be forced to throw. Look for 4,000 yards and 30 TD passes. I knew he was good before the Colts drafted him, but he’s better than I thought. He’s scary good!
Donald Brown continues to have “potential” but has yet to show he can really bring it. This is his chance and I have no opinion as to whether he will or not. Vic Ballard and Delone Carter are fill-ins. If Brown can’t deliver, the running game won’t be very good. A 1,200 yard year by Brown would really help this team immensely.
I include Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener in this crew, and again, they have lots of potential, but we will have to see how that translates at the Pro Level. If they can play at any level close to New England’s Dynamic Duo, the offense could be awesome. That’s a lot to ask from rookies, but they have a world of potential. Allen is a much better blocker and will probably play some Fullback as well. Reggie Wayne should have a solid year – he will be Lucks favorite target and T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill are burners who will stretch the field and break your heart a few times with drops. Hilton and Brazill will both play special teams, which could be exciting on the return side. Kris Adams is a solid receiver, but how this group does as a whole, depends upon Austin Collies’ health. He has switched to the Simpson Helmet, and if healthy could put up a 100 catch season – he’s that kind of receiver.
Justice, McGlynn, Satele, Olsen and Castonzo have yet to play a down in a regular seasons game as a group. Jeff Linkenback is a backup at 3 of the 5 spots and will see lots of time too. Perhaps no group is as important as the offensive line. All we can do is watch and see how they develop as a group, but they are bigger than any Colts offensive line in the past (all over 300 pounds). That might bode well…
Again, there’s little history to go on. But, Moala, Redding, Nevis and Matthews at defensive ends are all near 300 pounds and the nose tackles, Johnson and Tevaseu are also 300+. Both Colts lines are significantly bigger this year. That is by design.
With Pat Angerer out for a few more weeks, this is an area of concern and Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are newcomers to the position, although it should not be such a big change for them. Watch for Jerry Hughes to blossom in this new scheme. Freeman and Fokou hardly strike fear into anyone, so the sooner Angerer gets back the better. How this group fares will depend a lot on Freeney and Mathis. Can old dogs learn new tricks?
Can cornerback Vontae Davis step up and be an All-Star? The Colts are praying that he can. Jeraud Powers and Davis make up what could be a very good cornerbcak duo, and Antoine Bethea and Tom Zbikowski can be solid safeties. Any injury would probably decimate this group, as they don’t have much depth.
I look for very good production from the return team and special teams in general. I look for a lively passing game. How well the line blocks depends upon how well the team can run. If they can run, it will be an exciting season. If they can’t, it will be tough. The defense is where this team will win or die. How they can gel as a unit will determine their future. I will have to watch for a while to make that determination.
Bears 27 – Colts 24