2013 Indianapolis Colts NFL Team Preview
Odds from 5dimes.com
The Colts were the surprise story of last season, if it could be called a surprise. After a dismal two-win season in 2011, they came back to win 11 of their 16 games and once again are a threat in the AFC. Their offense features a young Andrew Luck, the prize of the 2012 draft, and a host of pro bowlers who should help the young stud propel the Colts into the postseason.
Luck will be working with a new offensive coordinator this year in Pep Hamilton. Hamilton is hoping to utilize Luck much the same way he did when they worked together during Luck’s final two years at Stanford. He’ll utilize a more power running game to open things up for Luck, and hope that the youngster can adapt to play action routes as well.
He completed just 54.1% of his passes last season, but much of that inefficiency was due to former coordinator Bruce Arians’ desire to air out the long ball. He was sacked 41 times, but when the season was done he had attempted the sixth most passes of any QB in a season (627). That’s a huge workload for a rookie quarterback, and Luck floated. He’ll improve a lot in year two, and that is the argument for this Colts team potentially a contender.
The running back position in Indy is handled by committee, as it has been for quite some time. Last season, the Colts were poor rushing, but a lot of that was due to lack of attempts. Arians didn’t exploit the talent on the roster, and Indy hasn’t had a 1,000+ yard back since 2007 when Joseph Addai did it.
Vick Ballard showed a lot last season as a rookie, but he was just a fifth round pick, so is his talent high enough to be the featured back? Their other back, Donald Brown, is injury prone. The lack of backs is the chink in Indy’s armor, to be sure. Outside of Ballard, with questionable upside, and Brown sidelined, they have only Delone Carter, but he carried just 32 times last year for 122 yards.
The huge x-factor in all of this could be Stanley Havili. He’s built powerfully and seems to fit what Hamilton wants to do with the power running game, so he could come through in a big way. Last year, the hulking back was used mostly in short yardage and goal-line situations.
What they lack in backs, the Colts make up for in receivers, though. Reggie Wayne is the leader of a core of young WRs who combined to catch 3,204 yards last season. The Colts did lose Donnie Avery to free agency, but they took Oakland’s best receiver in Darius Heyward-Bey, as the Raiders shaved cap room. The Colts will have Heyward-Bey, T.Y. Hilton, Wayne and LaVon Brazill to haul in Luck’s throws. They couldn’t ask for a better corp.
Defensively, there is a lot of work to be done. The Colts had the second-to-worst running defense in the league last year based on yards per carry, and were third-to-last in yards allowed per game. They did, however, add safety LaRon Landry and DL Ricky Jean-Francois and Aubrayo Franklin. All three will strengthen the defense immensely.
Even so, the Colts defense is average at best, and it will ultimately be up to Luck and his receivers to carry this team once again. A trip to the playoffs is not inconceivable, but there are too many question marks to take this team seriously as a contender yet.
Be sure to check out Maddux’s picks for this NFL season, as we line our bettors pockets once again in big fashion.