Let me first get this out of the way and say that I do not... I repeat.... I DO NOT THINK THE COLTS WILL HAVE A SETBACK SEASON FROM LAST YEAR. Now that we have that clarified, although the Colts are poised for a successful season with their free agency upgrades, growth of younger playmakers on offense, the addition of Pep Hamilton running a more efficient offense, and most importantly Andrew Luck, it is still possible the Colts could end the season 6-10 in disappointing fashion and there are a few reasons why they just might take a step back.
Many "experts" on radio and TV (mainly ESPN) are saying the Colts are poised for an 8-8 season and missing the playoffs. The main reason they say this is because the "Pagano Magic" will have worn off. Last season, the Colts rallied behind #ChuckStrong and played with heart and passion. It was truly an inspiration to watch the Colts last season play the way they did, but the question is can they play with the same heart and passion with their head coach fully healthy? That is still to be seen.
Because our head coach was out last season, Bruce Arians stepped in and had to be the interim coach. Say what you guys want about Bruce Arians and his offensive system, but the man can coach and motivate as we seen last season by him winning the coach of the year and getting his own coaching gig in Arizona. I was one who thought Arians should have became an official assistant head coach while hiring another OC to take care of the offense, but seeing how BA is a control freak, that wasn't likely to happen. The loss of Bruce Arians could end up hurting this team more than you think.
Offensive line is still a major problem for this team. If Luck is getting hit again and again, I don't know how he's going to stay healthy after watching the beating he took last season. We see what a bad offensive line can do to a QB and his growth and development. Look at Jay Cutler. I know Jay makes mistakes, but since joining Chicsgo he's never had an adequate OL. I don't want the same to happen to Luck. We will need to create more running lanes for our RBs and from watching preseason, looks like we're going to be another bad running team.
A surprise team from the year before doesn't surprise anymore. After the Patriots won their first SB, the following season in 2002 they didn't even make the playoffs. There are the 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Josh Freeman who failed to make the playoffs in the 2011 season, and the 2011 Detroit Lions who failed to make the playoffs in 2012. There are many other examples of teams unexpectedly making the playoffs one year and the next year missing the playoffs. However, these are some of the most recent teams in the NFL, and it's quite possible the Colts could fall under this same category because teams are now prepared for them and have some game film of guys like Luck, Hilton, and Allen.
I'm expecting the Colts to go 10-6 and winning the AFC South to host their first playoff game since 2010. I know one thing for certain is that Andrew Luck is not going to have a setback season and he alone can lead this team to 10 wins. However, I would rather not see that because during the Peyton era this happened every year, and by playoff time he was worn down from having to carry the team. Andrew is still young, but it's not good to put so much pressure on a QB so early into his career even though he has the ability to carry the team like he did last season. What do you guys think the Colts will do this season?