Pretty much everyone and their mother thinks the 2012 Indianapolis Colts will suck. Hell, even Reggie Wayne broke from the "we're not rebuilding" script yesterday and admitted that this franchise (with 50 new players on the roster) is indeed rebuilding.
In the NFL, rebuilding is a euphemism for "the roster stinks."
CBS Sports' Pete Prisco thinks Indianapolis will win only one game, which also (again, according to him) be the only game they will score more than 17 points in.
However, despite a gutted roster, severe salary cap restrictions, a defense shifting to a new philosophy, a brand new coaching staff, and a rookie quarterback, owner Jim Irsay told the media today at training camp in Anderson, IN that he hopes his Colts will contend for the playoffs in 2012.
#Colts Owner Jim Irsay says teams hopes to surprise people this season and be in competition for playoffs in December— Jason Spells (@JasonSpells) July 29, 2012
Irsay seemed to stop short of saying he expects the team to contend, but it seems clear that he would not be pleased if this team goes 1-15, and for good reason. If this years Colts are worse than the train wreck people saw last year, Lucas Oil Stadium will be a house for crickets on Sundays.
[UPDATE]: I changed the title to reflect this update from Mike Chappell:
#colts owner Jim Irsay with high hopes: We want to have a chance to win games this year and be thinking about the playoffs in December.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) July 29, 2012
For me, I take that to mean the owner expects the Colts to contend for a playoff spot. It's kind of like how when your boss tells you he or she "hopes" you'll meet your quarterly goals is a not-so-subtle way of saying, "You better make your quarterly goals."
We've said for a while that Jim Irsay expects the 2012 Colts to be in the playoff race come December. His comments to the media today pretty much confirm that. Sure, it's possible he's saying this publicly but saying something very different to Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano behind closed doors, but I doubt that. Irsay expects this team to compete, because if they don't (and the Broncos succeed) he will never hear the end of it.