The expectations are very high for the Indianapolis Colts entering 2015. The main reasons for those expectations lie on the offensive side of the football, as the Colts are projected to have one of the top offensive units in the league.
Andrew Luck is leading the charge at quarterback, one of the best in the game at his position. He has a plethora of receiving targets, such as T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett, and Duron Carter, as well as tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. At running back, the Colts have Frank Gore as their starter and then depth players such as Boom Herron, Josh Robinson, Vick Ballard, and Zurlon Tipton. Simply put, the unit is loaded and primed for a huge year.
Head coach Chuck Pagano knows it. And holding a defensive background, he knows just how tough it will be for opposing defenses to try to stop Indy's offense. "You've got to pick your poison defensively," Pagano told the media on Wednesday. "I'm not in the other guys' heads, but being on that side of the ball for a long time… You've got to pick your poison. You've got to decide what you're going to do and who you want to take away and who are the game wreckers, and how are you going to stop them. If you load up to stop the run, hopefully you have success running the football. We've got to have success for people to do that. Then it's going to open up things for guys on the outside. I feel like we have as good a group of wideouts as anybody."
The point is simple and it's true: defenses will have to pick where to focus on when it comes to trying to stop the Colts' offense. In 2014 with the 49ers, Frank Gore faced more eight-man boxes than any other running back in the NFL. Pagano knows what it's like to try to stop Gore, as in 2013 the Colts resorted to using eight-man boxes to try to stop him, and still Pagano said that the reason Indy limited Gore was because the 49ers stopped giving it to him. In 2015, with Gore in the blue and white, opposing teams won't be able to focus in on Gore that much without Andrew Luck and his group of receivers making them pay for it.
Defenses, therefore, will face a tough challenge: do you focus in on stopping the receivers? The tight ends? The running back? The Colts have the players that can beat you in a number of areas, making them all the more dangerous. "Pick your poison" might be a good description of the Colts' offense in 2015 with all their weapons, as defensive coordinators are going to have their hands full trying to figure out where to focus on and how to slow down Indy's attack. One thing is for sure: being a defensive coordinator having to gameplan against the Colts won't be an enviable task in 2015.