The Indianapolis Colts should feel confident that quarterback Andrew Luck will solve some problems this season. It’s the defense which is the team’s true question mark in 2013. Here’s a look at the Colts and their football futures:
Best Offseason Move:
The Colts are going to be fine on offense, so their defense was and is (and will be) their foremost point of focus in the near future as far as offseasons are concerned. You could debate the merits of Indianapolis’ selections, but one should at least applaud the organization’s concerted efforts to bolster its front seven, which has to become more physically imposing and generate substantial degrees of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
What is likely the team’s best move was drafting defensive end Bjoern Werner with its first selection. Werner was a beast at Florida State. He is a player who, to use a bit of draft-speak, has a non-stop motor. He’s a player who doesn’t easily give up when attempting to get off a block or chase down a quarterback. He carries plays through to their conclusions and provides the kind of work ethic that head coach Chuck Pagano should really like. His combination of attitude and athleticism should serve Werner quite well in the NFL. He should be able to carve out a very solid career in the pros and give Indianapolis a lot of bang for its buck.
Worst Offseason Move:
The Colts’ other attempts to bolster their defense didn’t seem to hit the sweet spot, although there’s certainly a chance that what seems like a bad move today could become a good move tomorrow. Erik Walden was plucked from the Green Bay Packers, where the defensive end (sometimes an outside linebacker) did not make that much of an impression. There’s obviously a hope among Colts executives that the change of scenery and the coaching of Pagano – the former defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens during that team’s run as one of the elite defensive squads in the NFL – will bring out Walden’s best. It’s true that he registered a sack of Eli Manning this past Sunday night in a Colts victory over the New York Giants. Yet, over the long run of the NFL season, it’s hard to be particularly confident in Walden and see him as the answer to the Colts’ persistent problems in their front seven.
How They’ll Finish In The Division:
This season is an anything-but-certain one for the Colts – let’s be honest in admitting as much. The Colts won many games in the final two minutes of regulation last season. Quarterback Andrew Luck displayed an uncanny ability, as a rookie, to lead his team to scoring drives at crunch time. However, Luck turned the ball over a lot. The Colts really walked along a tightrope and somehow managed to survive. In 2013, Luck simply can’t turn the ball over as much as he did last season – if the turnover bug is not addressed, the Colts will miss the playoffs with a 9-7 record. However, Luck seems to have the intangible qualities that belong to great quarterbacks. He should fix the deficiencies that held him back in 2012, and if that does prove to be the case, the Colts should be able to nudge past a Houston Texan team whose own quarterback, Matt Schaub, is unlikely to play particularly well this season. The Colts are not seen as a playoff team in NFL betting circles precisely because they defied the odds last year and are perceived as being ripe for a comedown (or a regression to the mean, in analytical terms). However, Luck is the real deal, and that’s why this franchise will return to the postseason.
Super Bowl Odds: +2000