What a difference a year has made for the Indianapolis Colts. In 2012, they went into the off season with their star quarterback a question mark to return, a new head coach and the first pick in the NFL draft. Their 2013 off season will be spent trying to add the pieces needed to improve on a season in which they won 11 games and earned a spot in the playoffs.
The quarterback situation was taken care of when Indianapolis decided not to keep injured Peyton Manning along with his hefty salary and chose Andrew Luck of Stanford with the number one pick. The head coach position went to Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. Along with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians who took over as interim head coach when Pagano underwent chemotherapy for leukemia, they helped the Colts go from 2-14 in 2011 to 11-5 in 2012.
Going into last off season, there were those who thought that Indianapolis was a long ways from returning to respectability. After being led for 13 years by Manning, the Colts were ill prepared to replace him when he sat out the 2011 season due to neck surgery. Without his future hall of famer under center, head coach Jim Caldwell had the misfortune of being the first Indianapolis head coach in 10 years to miss the playoffs. The lack of a quarterback ended up costing him his job.
This season, Pagano does not have to worry about his job or where he is going to find a quarterback. The Colts were lucky in that there were two accomplished college passers available when they had the number one pick. They were Luck and Robert Griffin III of Baylor. Indianapolis decided to draft the conventional drop back passer in Luck and he immediately became their starter.
With a first year head coach and rookie quarterback, the Colts were expected to struggle. Experts believed that they were a bad team which Manning made into a very good one. The truth was that Pagano and Luck were not going to a typical last place team. Indianapolis did have talent. They had been to the playoffs 10 consecutive years. Like most NFL teams they were only as good as their quarterback. If Luck played up to his potential then they would immediately become competitive.
Luck played up to his potential and people found out that the Colts weren’t that bad after all. Now Indianapolis will pick 23 spots lower than they did in 2012. The Colts have Luck at the most important position in the game and can now concentrate on finding the players to help him win a championship.
Thanks to some new faces and a little bit of good fortunate, Indianapolis is in much better shape now than they were during the winter of 2012.