As the Indianapolis Colts 2017 season comes to a disappointing end there’s nothing any of the coaches or players can do to take their team to the postseason. While many teams are battling for either a divisional crown or a wild card berth, the Colts aren’t seen to be playing meaningful football right now.
Many expect the players to have checked out on the season simply because there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Many fans have, as you can tell by the empty seats in Lucas Oil Stadium, but don’t think for a second that those currently donning the horseshoe are mailing it in.
You’d think that due to the likelihood of Chuck Pagano and a large handful of coordinators and position coaches not being retained after the season ends that maybe even those wearing the headsets have given up. But, while most of what we as fans are doing is evaluating those with the potential to return, that’s exactly why most of the current Colts are treating these last two games like any others they’ve taken the field for this season.
Especially because the coaching dynamic is very likely to be different next season very few players would be considered safe regardless of contract. But, for those who fall into that category, it isn’t just Chris Ballard and the new coach they’ll have to impress, it’s the rest of the coaches around the league as well.
For example, Donte Moncrief is an unrestricted free agent following this season though it’s possible we won’t even see him the rest of the way out. But guys like Matt Jones — if he plays — and Josh Ferguson from the backfield, Kamar Aiken who is also an UFA, and Chester Rogers who is playing for a light contract and could be considered expendable if the incoming regime doesn’t find him to be all that necessary.
Multiple offensive linemen such as Jeremy Vujnovich and Mike Person who are some form of free agents this offseason, and guys like Denzelle Good and Le’Raven Clark and many others like them who are likely to find themselves expendable as well. Even guys getting a ton of snaps of late like Barkevious Mingo, Jeremiah George, Darius Butler and Chris Milton, just to name a few, could all be gone next season, or just as likely sitting in Indy on the sidelines.
Additionally, Frank Gore could be auditioning for another team which would take him into his 35-year-old season as well as some other players with uncertain futures.
Also you have to think about some of the practice squad guys, or those who’ve been just recently brought onto the active roster and so on. This puts all of these guys, and likely even more, under the microscope and gives them something very real to play for as the season winds down.
The receiver position seems to turn over very quickly in the league, especially for those on the fringe of being that No. 3 guy on the depth chart — same for the running back, and tight end positions. Just look at Ross Travis over the last couple of weeks. They clearly like him and he stands a real chance of taking over the role — in terms of depth chart — that Brandon Williams and Darrell Daniels have held this season.
So while we are considering these final 2 weeks as extended preseason matchups to look over the talent who could see their future right where they’re at in Indy, with another team or even outside of the league looking in. And while we’ve grown accustomed to some very poor play lately, don’t let it surprise you to see one of these guys pop off the screen and force the conversation through the offseason.