At mid-season, the 2019 Indianapolis Colts sit at 5-2, atop the AFC South and second place in the AFC. The awards up for grabs at the mid-point of the season are offensive and defensive MVP, most improved on offense and defense, offensive and defensive rookie of the year, biggest disappointment on offense and defense and coach of the year.
Without further ado lets get into the awards:
MVP - Quenton Nelson
Quenton Nelson was first team all pro and voted to the pro bowl in his rookie year. Nelson has shown no signs of a sophomore slump, instead he has continued his upward development. He has consistently shown dominance in both pass protection and run blocking.
Quenton Nelson is one of the best offensive guards in the league right now and he very well could be the best offensive lineman in the league by years end, if he continues his dominance. Nelson has been a big part of the reason Marlon Mack has managed to run for 590 yards with 3 touchdowns and Jacoby Brissett being able to throw for 1590 yards and 14 touchdowns. Nelson has not missed a single snap on the year so far and on 284 pass blocking snaps had allowed just 1 QB hit and 11 pressures (per PFF), amazing!
When the Colts drafted Nelson they didn’t just draft a guard they drafted a leader, culture changer and the future best offensive lineman in the league.
Runner Up - Marlon Mack
Most improved - Jacoby Brissett
Jacoby Brissett has been nothing short of a revelation at quarterback for the Colts so far this year. The Colts were thrown into uncertainty at the quarterback position when Luck retired three weeks before the season opener. Since then, Jacoby Brissett has come in and steadied the ship, showing genuine leadership and solid ability.
Brissett has improved massively from the quarterback who had to take over when Andrew Luck was injured in 2017. He has shown improvements in confidence, pressure evasion, footwork and patience. Brissett still has things to work on but his improvements have been night and day from when he last played in 2017.
Runner Up - Zach Pascal
Rookie of the year - N/A
The Colts drafted three offensive players in the 2019 NFL draft, wide receiver Parris Campbell and offensive linemen Jackson Barton and Javon Patterson. Patterson torn his ACL before the season even started and was put on IR. Barton was underwhelming in the preseason and was waived but signed to the practice squad. Campbell has 10 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown so far this year and has missed two games due to injury, he has underwhelmed so far. Not great production offensively from the 2019 draft class.
Biggest disappointment - Deon Cain
Deon Cain was probably the most hyped Colts player in the run up to the season. The problem is Cain has not lived up to that hype one bit. Cain has had every opportunity to have a breakout year, he was even put into a starting role after Devin Funchess was injured and put on IR after week 1. However, Cain has managed 4 receptions and 53 yards in 7 games and has been overtaken by other wide receivers like Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers. Unfortunately Cain has been a big disappointment and was even made a healthy scratch against the Broncos last Sunday.
Runner Ups - Mark Glowinski and Eric Ebron
MVP - Justin Houston
Choosing an MVP on a defense like the Colts has been difficult, not because they haven't played well, they have, but because the defense plays as a unit more than standout individuals. That’s not to say there haven’t been any standout performers, Justin Houston being the biggest one.
Houston has been exactly what the Colts wished for when they signed him in free agency this past offseason. Houston has managed to produce consistent pass rush disruption. Houston started the season off a bit slow but has ramped up as the year has gone on, in the Colts 7 games this year he has produced 31 total pressures which include; 5 sacks, 21 hurries and 5 QB hits.
Runner Up - Pierre Desir
Most improved - Grover Stewart
The Colts biggest struggle on defense this year has been defending the run. The Colts started the season allowing over 100 yards rushing to the Chargers, Titans, Raiders and over 90 to the Falcons. This warranted a change at the starting nose tackle position with Margus Hunt losing his starting position to Grover Stewart.
Stewart had never been more than a rotational piece along the defensive line, however the Colts promoted him to the starting lineup after Hunt wasn’t getting it done in defending the run. Since becoming a starter, the Colts have managed to shut down the Kansas City Chiefs, the Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos rushing attacks. Stewart has played exceptionally well since joining the starting line up and if he continues his current play and development could be playing his way to a permanent starting role.
Rookie of the year - Khari Willis
Khari Willis has been by far the best Colts rookie this year, not only on defense, but on the entire team. Willis played well in a smaller role to start the year and his continued good play plus an injury to Malik Hooker thrust him into a starting role. Willis has played so well that even when starting safety Malik Hooker returned from injury the team knew they couldn’t keep Willis on the bench. Willis has played so well this year that he deserves to be a starter on defense alongside fellow safety Malik Hooker. The Colts found their starting strong safety in the fourth round of the 2019 Draft, Khari Willis.
Runner Up - Bobby Okereke
Biggest disappointment - Margus Hunt
Margus Hunt 2018 stats: 22 tackles with 13 for a loss and 5 sacks in 15 games. Starting DT
Margus Hunt 2019 stats: 2 tackles with 0 for a loss and 0 sacks in 7 games. Demoted to backup role
Margus Hunt signed a 2 year 9 million contact extension after the 2018 season and it was fully deserved, he was part of the reason why the Colts defense was so good. Hunt was good in the run defense which did not allow a 100 yard rusher all year and also added 5 sacks on the year. This year, however, he has been a big disappointment and after the first few week was demoted to a back up role, replaced by Grover Stewart. If Hunt doesn’t improve and try to get back to his 2018 play, it could be his last year in a Colts uniform.
Runner Up - Quincy Wilson
Coach of the year - Frank Reich
The Colts coaching staff have been great this year from defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus masterminding defensive tactics to overcome the Kansas City Chiefs, running backs coach Tom Rathman helping turn Marlon Mack into the dominant running back this year to offensive line coach Chris Strausser continuing the dominance of the offensive line. But there has been one coach that has been nothing short of elite, head coach Frank Reich.
Reich has been pivotal in the Colts 5-2 record, the resurgence of Brisett, Mack and Co. and the offense’s play. Reich has been an amazing leader, teacher and offensive mastermind. Frank Reich consistently has the team prepared each week no matter the opponent and has the whole team fully bought in. No wonder PFF recently ranked him as the number 2 head coach in the league.