Monday, August 19, 2013

NFL 2013 Preview - Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS                                                          

Head Coach: Chuck Pagano

2012 Record: 11-5-0 (2nd in AFC South)

New Players: RB Ahmad Bradshaw; WR Darrius Heyward-Bey; OL Gosder Cherilus; DL Aubrayo Franklin; S LaRon Landry; OL Donald Thomas.

Gone Elsewhere: WR Austin Collie; WR Donnie Avery; LB Dwight Freeney; CB Jerraud Powers; S Tom Zbikowski.

Offense: Quarterback Andrew Luck returns after a superb rookie season in which he tossed 23 touchdown passes along with 18 interceptions while also racking up 4,374 passing yards. Luck also showed his mobility, rushing for 255 yards and scoring five touchdowns.
A trio of runners will man the Colts' backfield this season as leading rusher Vick Ballard (814 yards and two
QB Andrew Luck had a huge rookie year.
TD) will team with newcomer Ahmad Bradshaw, who ran for 1,015 yards and scored six touchdowns with the New York Giants last season. In addition, there is Donald Brown, who gained 417 yards and scored one touchdown.
The receivers are led by veteran Reggie Wayne, who enjoyed a big year in 2012, catching 106 passes for 1,355 yards and five touchdowns. Along with Wayne will be Darrius Heyward-Bey, who comes over from Oakland after four seasons. He had 41 receptions for 605 yards and five scores last season.
T.Y. Hilton is back after many big catches last year, including seven TD grabs to go with 50 total receptions for 861 yards. LaVon Brazil is also available at wide receiver. Coby Fleener (26 catches for 281 yards and two TD) is the tight end.
The line has tackles Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus, guards Donald Thomas and Mike McGlynn and the center is Samson Satele.
Indy finished tenth in total offense a year ago, gaining 362 yards per game while averaging 22.3 points per game. The passing game was seventh in the NFL, averaging 258 yards a game.

Defense: Stopping the run will be a big priority for the Colts defense this season after allowing 137 yards per game, which ranked 29th in the NFL a year ago.
Up front in the 3-4 look is nose tackle veteran Aubrayo Franklin, a free agent signee along with end Cory
LB Robert Mathis
Redding and tackle Ricky Jean Francois, another free agent pick up this off-season.
The linebackers will have Robert Mathis (eight QB sacks) and Erik Walden on the outside spots while Pat Angerer and Jerrell Freeman man the inside. Rookie draft pick Bjoern Werner will back up at end or linebacker.
The secondary has LaRon Landry coming over via free agency to play safety along with free safety Antoine Bethea. The corners are Vontae Davis (three interceptions) and either Greg Toler or Darius Butler, who had four picks, at the other corner.

OUTLOOK: A lot of things went right for the Colts in 2012 as they went from 2-14 to 11-5 and in the playoffs with a rookie (Andrew Luck) starting at quarterback. Not to mention Luck was replacing Peyton Manning, an NFL legend, in that position.
There was also the feel good story of  "Chuck Strong" regarding Head Coach Chuck Pagano, who was battling cancer last season while Bruce Arians (now Head Coach in Arizona) did a great job taking over as interim Head Coach.
However, this is a new season and Luck and the Colts will not be catching any teams off guard this year.
The Colts did win eleven games last year, but nine of those were by seven points or less, meaning the Colts had a lot of breaks go their way last season, including several victories in the final minutes and/or seconds.
To repeat as a playoff team and once again challenge Houston in the AFC South, Luck will have to deliver an encore performance while the running back by committee will have to pan out as well.
The defense MUST stop the run and also do better against the pass as they finished 21st overall in that category last year. The defense gave up 24 points per game, meaning the Colts were outscored by their opponents even though they finished six games over the .500 mark.
An 8-8 season is more realistic this time around, but the way Luck and company pulled games out of the fire last year, don't bet against them making a playoff run once again.
Lotsa' Luck!


Sept. 8- vs. Oakland
Sept. 15- vs. Miami
Sept. 22- at San Francisco
Sept. 29- at Jacksonville
Oct. 6- vs. Seattle
Oct. 14- at San Diego
Oct. 20- vs. Denver
Oct. 27- BYE WEEK
Nov. 3- at Houston
Nov. 10- vs. St. Louis
Nov. 14- at Tennessee
Nov. 24- at Arizona
Dec. 1- vs. Tennessee
Dec. 8- at Cincinnati
Dec. 15- vs. Houston
Dec. 22- at Kansas City
Dec. 29- vs. Jacksonville

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