Dogged on Underdog

Last year, Colts fans were super excited. The Colts were one win away from the Super Bowl the year before. The Colts added a number of free agents, including Frank Gore, Andre Johnson and Trent Cole. It seemed the Super Bowl was within the Colts grasp. Andrew Luck was a favorite for MVP at the start of the season and the Colts were one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl....

Then it all IMPLODED!!!

This year the Colts are dogged by an 8-8 record from last year. Andrew Luck went 2-5 while throwing 15 interceptions, going out for over half the season injured. Sports "experts" are now saying the Colts will be lucky to win 8-9 games and that they won't even finish above 3rd in the division. The off-season additions haven't been flashy. They lost Freeman. They lost Fleener. Gore couldn't make 1,000 yards and his yards per carry were down. The backups behind Gore are no-names. Andre Johnson is gone. Meanwhile the "experts" state that Luck is just mediocre and the Colts will suck.

Too much is focused on flash, records and stats instead of watching the games and seeing what is really going on. "Experts" think Gore may be done because he didn't hit 1,000 yards last year and his yards per carry were down. However, his play was outstanding. The offensive line just didn't open up the holes. Gore didn't really have a chance. No wonder Gore was so incredibly frustrated at the end of the season. Gore hasn't lost it at all. He's a rare breed that defies his age. And last year lit a fire under him to prove he still has it. Watch out opposing defenses, Gore is PO'd.

It also would be hard to argue with anyone that Andrew Luck played HORRIBLE last year. The start of the season was horrible for him. Keep in mind though that he kept the game against the Patriots to within 1 touchdown. He took the NFC champ Panthers to Overtime on the road. And he beat the Super Bowl Champion Broncos in what was his last and by far best game of the season. If Luck plays like he did against the Broncos (minus getting hurt), last year's horrible image of him could be wiped away.

Since 2012, Andrew Luck has played with a patched together offensive line. Sports commentators have noticed this. When the first graphics they pop up is a slot machine with the offensive line players' faces on the slot wheels, you know something needs done incredibly bad. From 2012 to 2015, the Colts offensive line has lacked depth, forcing guys to rotate and adjust. This year, the Colts have addressed that and added a lot of depth to the offensive line. The addition of Kelly to the offensive line will be huge. Not only is he athletic, but he is incredibly smart. And when you watch the interviews of this guy, it really shows. Kelly is a guy that has the kind of intelligence that you love to see in a quarterback, but this guy is a center. Pair that off with a very smart Andrew Luck and the combo of Luck and Kelly could surpass that of Peyton and Saturday. Saturday was awesome, but Saturday didn't have the size and athleticism of Kelly. And Kelly's intelligence for a center is off the charts. That's probably why he allowed zero (0) sacks in his last 2 years at Alabama.

Another improvement has been the replacement of Greg Toler (CB) with Patrick Robinson. Toler got beat on a regular basis and the Colts finally replaced him with a guy that is much closer to the level of Vontae Davis than Toler.

The Colts lost a few key players like Freeman and Fleener. But I have little doubt that they will be better than last year. Sure, the defense still needs upgraded. But there is plenty to be positive about:

1. The Colts now have an OC that likes to throw it deep and punish defenses instead of an OC that runs too many plays where the receivers get confused.

2. The new DC loves to attack the quarterback. I love hearing that. Hopefully he makes some great play calls.

3. The Colts have probably the best center they've ever had. Sorry Jeff Saturday, I think Ryan Kelly will prove me right on this one.

4. Toler is gone! Can we play "Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead" or a Hallelujah chorus?

5. Luck has had a full year to reflect on his play. That usually results in big quarterback improvements.

6. The Colts may be getting some key players like Anderson and Jones back healthy. If so, that could be a huge help.

7. The Colts may be finally able to fully utilize the speed of Dorsett and the Rushing ability of Frank Gore.

The Colts may not be the best team going into the season. But they are better than what all of these "experts" state that are dogging on them. And I have a hard time believing "experts" that state the Colts backup quarterbacks were to blame when the Colts backup QBs went 6-3.

Us Colts fans know this team is better than an 8-8 or 9-7 record, and I hope the Colts make them eat those predictions.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.