Last season’s version of the Indianapolis Colts was definitely tough to watch; that was to be expected with no Peyton Manning, but I don’t think most expected it to be that bad. With the Andrew Luck sweepstakes upcoming, Colts fans can look forward to a new era. However, there is one item that could come back to haunt them: injuries.
The Colt’s 2-14 record last season had more to do with injuries than Peyton Manning’s absence. Every year the threat of injuries is real because of the violent nature of the sport, but you try not to dwell on it and hope the best players can remain relatively healthy. The 2-14 Colts best players were dropping like flies with injuries. It seemed like every game the situation worsened. Colts ownership may have set a record for filling out paperwork related to injuries and medical care for a season that included everything from individual dental insurance to overall health insurance to protect themselves.
The Lesson from Last Year: Avoid Injuries
If only it were that simple. Everyone knows the lesson the Colts learned last year, as re-hashed by former Colts vice-chairman Bill Polian, when he spoke at the NFL Combine:
“Well, number one, don’t have injuries,” said Polian. “And don’t have them in big bunches either, i.e. offensive line and on the defense. I think we lost nine starters, excluding [QB] Peyton [Manning], for the bulk of the season.”
Indeed, injuries went through the Colts last season and devastated the whole team. From Peyton Manning and Dallas Clark to other pivotal players, it’s no wonder that the Colts finished with the worst record in the NFL. Hopefully those days are over, though we should expect a few bumps with a young quarterback and an ever-changing nucleus.
With regard to those changes, the topic of injuries should be a lesser issue. The team has gotten significantly younger with the player movement that has taken place already.
Changes to the Colts Roster
One way to eliminate possible injuries is to start cleaning house on the veterans. After the release of Peyton on March 7, the following players were cut just two days later:
However, we can’t forget that Jeff Saturday, Pierre Garcon and Jacob Tamme have left in free agency as well. These and other moves have certainly lowered the age of the Colts – and it might not be over.
As the addition of defensive end Cory Redding was announced (to help the Colts move to a 3-4 defense), the report mentioned that Dwight Freeney is being shopped y the Colts. It seems like the 32-year-old veteran could be yet another departure for the rebuilding Colts.
The Future of the Colts
Past injuries have certainly played a role with the Colts. However, don’t be dismayed as a Colts fan. While some beloved players have left Indianapolis – with more possible departures – the Colts have re-signed Reggie Wayne and Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis.
As the Andrew Luck era is set to begin, the Colts are looking much younger and healthier. And, with reference to the veterans that will be in Indy next year, it’s nice to see a mix of youth and veteran savvy. Perhaps the latter will help expedite the rebuilding process a bit, and turn the Colts back into a contender.
One thing is certain: the thought of injuries is certainly a lingering one for the Colts and every team. Let’s hope that the aforementioned measures will help prevent what we saw last year.