There is nothing wrong with predicting who the better players in 2013/14 will be on the Colts..and who will let us down. So now, I will analyse each offensive position and predict who will start (and i also have another prediction: ill get verbally abused by some of you). Without further ado, this is what the Colts look like at:
Thankfully, the Colts look to be in fantastic shape in the most important position on the football field: Quarterback. When your team has Andrew Luck, who did things in his rookie year that 10 year veterans couldnt even do (eg, lead a 18 point comeback against Aaron Rodgers), you know you will be competitive against any team you verse. With the addition of Hassellbeck, a veteran presence looks like it will benefit Andrew in his sophomore season. Harnish is pretty good for a third rounder. So, far and away Colts have the best QB team in the AFC South, which will allow us to compete with Houston for as long as Schaub's the QB, no matter who they surround with him. I give our QB situation an A. Luck will have to control his turnovers to get this grade an A+, but Colts fans are lucky to have a great QB situation. RUNNINGBACKS
Runningbacks in indy are solid. No more, no less. The oline that the Colts runningbacks had to carry the ball behind was quite bad in 2012, so i cant 100% fault them for the low rush yards/game average. We should see an increase in Ballards, Browns and Carters productivity in 2013, due to increased maturity, playoff experience and running behind a better oline (ill get to that later). Im excited to see if rookie Kerwynn Williams makes the roster- he could be a steal. Also, our new FB Stanley Havili will play a vital role in the West Coast scheme. Ill give this group a B-: this not a group with a feature back. But they can make plays (see Ballards OT screen pass TD against Titans in Nashville). They are reliable and I really really hope ex first rounder Brown can stay on the field.
OFFENSIVE LINE Im liking this group must better than last year. The talent is there. But whether the 5 big fellows on the field can work cohesively as a team is yet to be seen: JJ Watt has to be stopped. It may take time for them to get use to each other as their will be a whole new starting group. The best starting combination in this group is: Costanzo at LT, Thomas at LG, Shipley at C, Thornton at RG and Cherilus at RT. There will be headaches, as it will take time for them to get use to each other. But an upgrade from last year is totally expected. Depth players are abundant and will create serious competition, particularly at the centre positon, where the Colts have Satele and Holmes too. Satele is on the bigger contract, but was not the better centre in 2012. Rookie Holmes will create competition too. Overall, i'd give this group a B, much better than the D+ grade i'd give the pathetic 2012 Colt line, which included Justice, Reitz and McGlynn starting.
TIGHT END Tight end is another strong position. Its young too, whixh i like. 2012 Third rounder Allen seems like the better TE over second rounder Fleener, but given the injuries sustained by Fleener, its too early to count him out of the #1 string position. Allen is an underrated blocker and Fleener still played average and I think theyll be better in 2013. A third spot is up for grabs. At this point, Id give this group a B+. Its up to Fleener, to live up to the high expectations of being the first TE drafted in 2012 and raise this grade. Allen looks like an excellent pick.
WIDE RECIEVERS Reggie Wayne is a stud. Maybe not elite (as he is much slower than he use to be), but he has perhaps the best route running in the game. DHB should be better than he was at Oakland, given the more stable environment in indy and TY should be able to stretch the field and be a nice slot reciever. Fourth spot is Brazill and fifth spot will be battled out in training camp. Colts DESPERATELY DESPERATELY need to starting looking at long term options, as Wayne is 35. This is why Patton should have been considered at the draft, instead of drafting K.Holmes at Centre, as he probably wont even be an impact draftee (and Patton slid majorly to the 128th pick in the draft). Ill still give this group a B. Theres no Megatron, AJ Green in this group...But with a QB like Luck throwing the ball, their play will be elevated.
OVERALL 5 Colt rookies (Luck, Allen, Hilton, Ballard, Fleener) played huge roles in their surprise wildcard seeding. A 6th (Brazill) too played a part. Its all up to these players to avoid the sophomore slump...but given the stable environment in indy, the high level of talent and the fine attitudes of these players, I can only see them getting better (scary for the rest of the AFC South). Free Agent additions will too improve this team. Given there was no major losses on offense this offseason (the only starter to go was Avery: he dropped a ton of crucial passes, ran sloppy routes and I have no worries about him going to the Chiefs). The Colt offense is an A-. A solid oline, solid RBs, solid recievers contribute to this grade...but this team has one thing the rest of the South dont, and thats an exceptionally talent QB, which is why it looks bright in 2013 and beyond. Stay tuned for my defense and special teams analysis within the next few days.