With the draft finally in the books I'm poised and excited for the upcoming season and I hope you are, too. NFL.com's experts take on who will have the first pick in 2013 has me even more fired up because I don't see us as a lock for picking first next year. After the jump you can read my take on what it takes for our Colts to prove them "gurus" wrong come september
Everybody's talking about Andrew Luck, obviously. How quick will he make the transition, how many rookie records will he set, how much or how little help will he get from the rest of the team when it comes to win games. I think offensive success next season comes from two sides: first, we need to have a beasty line which has to stay healthy as opposed to last year and second, Donald Brown has to prove that he's the guy at RB. Defenses will have a nice walk with us if we cannot manage to establish the run.
Pagano already said that we'll be a run first team and that we'll be heavy users of the I-formation. Brown will be a heavily used player in our system. He'll have to carry the load, he'll have many check down receptions and he'll have to help Luck stay on his feet. In my opinion, the rise or fall of Donald Brown is a heavy predictor of our offensive success. Even more so if you look at our thin receiver corps. If we can run the ball successfully, defenses have to open up on our receivers giving Luck the chance to prove that he really is the man. Brown needs to improve his blocking and he'll have to hit the holes that our line hopefully create.
Our new TE's are a nice acquisition and I hope that they make up for our thin receiving corps. Though it's highly doubtful that they can succeed as much as the New England TE twins early on, I think they can be good contributors and they better prepare to be at their best starting day one.
The defensive side of the ball remains a constant headache. First, we don't have much talent around and second we're getting a new system and none of us can really figure out how it'll look like. A few months back, I posted that I was hoping for a defensive mastermind as a head coach and I got what I was hoping for in Chuck Pagano.
The task will be to create a system which allows us to maximize production from a talent lacking defense. I think on the defensive side of the ball, a good system can cover up lack of talent to a great extent. As I see it, there are two things our Defensive system has to provide in order to be successful: a) creating as much confusion in the opposing QB as possible (play "hide and seek" aka disguised coverages) and b) use that confusion to pressure the QB as best you can. A QB cannot explore the weaknesses in our secondary when he's flat on the ground. Get yourself ready to see the Colts defense blitz from different spots at any given play. No more laid back Tampa 2- we're gonna try to rip them offenses. And this will be our only chance cause if we can't manage to confuse and pressure the QB's we're set for many a long plays and many touchdowns.
We're in exciting times. We're gonna be a completely different team compared to what we used to see. It will be a tough season with many face palm mistakes and quite a bit of frustration from time to time. But always remember that this is beginning of a new era and honestly, it can't get any worse than it was last season. I fully expect us to win some 4-6 games and we're not gonna wind with the first pick in 2013. Hopefully, in a year from now we're all gonna say that we're closer to be the monster we want to be!