One season under the belt for Andrew Luck and everyone in Indianapolis has forgotten about Peyton Manning. The Indianapolis Colts finished last season 11-5 after a dreadful 2-14 in 2011, and in turn made a statement with the biggest jump in win totals from one season to the next in NFL history at nine. There is just one caveat to that 11-win season, the Colts overachieved. Everyone, including me, had the Colts winning six to eight games last year. A great quarterback can account for four to five wins in a season, so I assumed the Colts would get six to eight wins, based on what they won the year before, and based upon Luck being what everyone said he would be. But I undervalued how great Luck is. He wasn’t the highest rated quarterback coming out of college since John Elway for nothing. Luck wasn’t just great last season; he was unworldly, and played like a 10-year perennial all-pro at the quarterback position. Luck had four 4th quarter comebacks and seven game winning drives last year. This is the first problem I see with the Colts; they cannot assume Luck will do that again. If Luck only had five game winning drives last year, the Colts end the season at 9-7 and probably miss the playoffs.
The second thing wrong with the Colts is that they are a one-dimensional team. Luck threw the ball the fifth most times last year (627), behind only Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees, Tony Romo and Tom Brady. He had, and still has, one of the worst running games in the league, averaging only 104 yards per game (22nd in NFL), and 3.8 yards per carry (27th in NFL). Ahmad Bradshaw should help a little, but only until he gets injured again.
The third thing wrong with the Colts is their pass offense. Some may look at Luck’s completion percentage (53.9%), and say that it isn’t what it should be. But Luck got hit more than any other quarterback last year, and he played in a vertical passing game. Under Bruce Arians, now the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, Luck attempted more throws of 20 yards or more down the field, accounting for his poor completion percentage. Their new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton comes in from Stanford, and the Colts want to establish a power run game, just like Luck had for the Cardinals. The problem with that, is that they don’t have the personnel for the power run, and the Colts will end up in a lot of third and longs with Luck carrying the burden to move this team down the field with deep passes again. Being in a lot of third and longs, Luck is going to get hit a lot again this year, opening up the possibility of the quarterback getting injured. Without Luck, the Colts are a 3-13 team, as I don’t feel that Matt Hasselbeck can step in and lead a team to the playoffs at his age.
Luck evening out (no pun there), a one-dimensional offense, and wrong personnel are the problems with the Indianapolis Colts.