NFL Season Preview: The Indianapolis Colts Youth Movement Continues
The Colts made it clear that they were moving into another phase of their franchise’s progression before 2012. They cut legendary QB Peyton Manning and drafted Andrew Luck out of Stanford, along with a host of young guys ranging from WR T.Y. Hilton and RB Vick Ballard to a completely made over offensive line. And although the Colts had retained Reggie Wayne, who is the clear leader of the receiving corps, and had one of his best seasons yet, the team decided to part ways with stalwart DE Dwight Freeney following the 2012 season. It is clear that the Colts want to make over the team completely, with an offense that compliments the talents of Luck, and a young, fast defense that will eventually come into its own.
The Colts surprised the NFL with their 11-5 season and a playoff berth. Many people wrote them off as a 5 or 6-win team in 2012. They doubled that output. They don’t quite have the top-level talent to go beyond that level in wins. However, there is tons of room for growth defensively, because the Colts were green and rather smallish. Given that Freeney and Robert Mathis failed to play the run effectively, this was an area of concern for the Colts entering 2013. As such, the Colts drafted DE Bjoern Werner (Florida State) to help solidify the defensive front. The Colts love Jerrell Freeman and Pat Angerer, and both are tackling mavens, however they will need to shore up their pass coverage, which really cost them at crucial junctures in 2012. The Colts linebackers play relatively well against the run, but the linebacking corps and the secondary had major issues against the pass, despite acquiring Vontae Davis from Miami last offseason.
The Colts selected Sheldon Price (UCLA) and Allen Chapman (Kansas State) to boost the depth at the corner position. Indy does not have any real playmaker of name recognition at safety other than the newly-acquired Laron Landry, who knows how to terminate plays in both phases of the game. This could be an area that could cost the Colts in the long run, however. Their secondary has shown a proclivity to get beaten for crucial first downs in close games. It did not come back to haunt them in 2012, because Luck was clutch late in several games last season, but once you pull the covers off the Colts’ defense, their secondary will have to play better if they are to advance beyond the Wild Card level of the playoffs in 2013.
” It Is Only A Game, Until You Bet It ”