Following week two, I can't think of anything that more accurately sums up the 2014 Indianapolis Colts. They are exactly who we thought they were. The 0-2 start shouldn't surprise anyone. I predicted as much before the season started. Yes, 0-2 looks bad in the standings, and when you see the Colts tied for last in the AFC South it's not encouraging. But get this: in the first two weeks of the season, the Colts played two playoff teams from a year ago. In their final fourteen games of the season, the Colts play two playoff teams from a year ago. They have six games against the AFC South. Those jumping ship right now are doing so prematurely. Those saying the Colts are done aren't considering the facts. The Colts will be fine. Right now in the NFL, there are seven winless teams, including the Colts. Three of those teams (the Colts, Saints, and Chiefs) made the playoffs a year ago. The Colts have lost two games to playoff teams from last year. The other six winless teams have lost a combined three games to playoff teams from last year. The spot the Colts are in is not a disastrous one. I know what the stats say, and you'll hear it all week - that only 11.6% of teams that start 0-2 make the playoffs. And the Colts have really diminished their margin for error, but I'm not freaking out yet, and neither should you. The Colts will be fine.
Besides, none of this was unexpected. Many thought the Colts would start 0-2. In fact, there hasn't been much this year from the Colts that should surprise us. Again, they're who we thought they were.
This offense is dependent on Andrew Luck, exactly like we knew it would be. Even in the team's best rushing performance since last year against the 49ers, the Colts lost because they didn't give Luck the chance to go win the game and because, well, he stunk in the first two and a half quarters. No matter how well they run the ball, they still need Luck. And entering the season, I said that one of the only things that could hinder Luck was the playcalling. What'd we see last night? We saw Pep Hamilton not give Luck a chance to go win the game by running the ball twice in a potential game-winning drive situation. Really, none of this is surprising. You could say that they ran the ball better than expected, and that's true. If they keep it up consistently, then that'd be a pleasant surprise. You could say that Luck has been worse than expected so far this year, and that's also true. But overall, this offense has been what we thought it would be. They're in the top-ten in both points and yards per game, and that's without playing their best football by any means.
The defense? They have the exact same weaknesses that everyone noticed entering the season (and the offseason, too). Last night, the safety play was bad. LaRon Landry was awful, and Mike Adams (though making some nice plays), wasn't great overall. When Antoine Bethea, everyone knew the Colts needed safety help. And what'd Ryan Grigson do? He signed Mike Adams - a solid but underwhelming signing. The Colts are getting exactly what should be expected from their safety position - Landry was bad last year and he's been bad this year. Mike Adams has been the better safety, but has shown why he was available so late into free agency. The pass rush? Even last year with Robert Mathis, we knew that the Colts needed help in the area, because it was really all Mathis. Then when the team found out in the spring that they'd be without Mathis for the first four games, everyone knew that they needed to address the pass rush spot. And what'd Grigson do with that one? Even less than he did with the safety position. Instead, he counted on Bjoern Werner (who last year managed just 2.5 sacks) to step in and fill the void left by Mathis. No one can replace Mathis, but Werner wasn't really the best option. Those are the two spots (in addition to the center spot, which I'm reserving judgement on for the time being due to the injuries to the position) are the ones that everybody saw as issues entering the offseason. Ryan Grigson apparently didn't. Those are the issues that everybody saw in training camp and preseason. And those are the issues that everybody is seeing now. There are others, sure (like missed tackles, etc.), but there's not much surprise with the Colts defense in that regard.
And the coaching? Yeah, that's exactly what we thought too. We had questions about the staff entering the season and we still have those questions. So far, they haven't been impressive. And anyone who is surprised obviously wasn't watching the team last season.
Ultimately, the bottom line comes down to the fact that the Colts are exactly the team we thought they'd be. They had plenty of opportunities in both games and lost by just 10 points combined to two of the best teams on their schedule all year. Sure, the way they've lost has been frustrating, but I don't really think the losses tell us anything we didn't already know. The Colts will be fine, but they have issues. Issues that have been around for a while, too. And unfortunately, the time to address them has come and gone, and for the most part the Colts are stuck with what they have for the season. They have Andrew Luck and are through a really tough stretch of their schedule, as it eases up from here. But as we've said all along, Luck can mask a lot of issues, and even though the Colts will win ball games this year because of their quarterback, the issues are still there. We've seen them come up in the first two games, and they shouldn't be surprising. The Colts are exactly who we thought they were.