The Indianapolis Colts are a team full of inspiration and promise. Last year’s 11-5 finish and a showing in the AFC Wild Card game has expectations high. Last year head coach Chuck Pagano missed most of the season during his inspirational battle with Leukemia. In his place 2012 Coach of the Year, Bruce Arians, mentored quarterback Andrew Luck in his growth and understanding of the pro game.
Arians has moved on to the Arizona Cardinals, and Andrew Luck’s former offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton, takes his place. When Darius Heyward-Bey was brought in there was some concern that his hands of stone would continue to keep him from making the most of his laser light speed. So far he’s flashed success catching smoke routes, while Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton run crisp routes and make great plays down field.
On the surface there is every reason to believe that the defense and special teams can keep the Colts in every game this season while trying to make the most of some opportunistic turnovers.
The run game is a source of concern for the offense. Vick Ballard proved serviceable last season but seemed to have a limited ceiling. You can’t put the game on his shoulder pads and hope to win. So in the offseason the Colts went out and got Ahmad Bradshaw to challenge Ballard for the starting job or at the very least add depth to a possible committee approach. Bradshaw has struggled through most of his career to stay healthy, so Ballard may just stay the lead dog in the backfield.
Ultimately what limits the running game the most is the poor blocking of the offensive line. Last year the only thing that was sacked more times than Andrew Luck was groceries! He recorded 40 sacks and was pressured or hit on 38.1 percent of all his drop backs. Fortunately Luck is elusive with his feet, avoiding sacks and negative plays while scampering for 255 yards on the ground.
If this trend continues through 2013 Andrew Luck will just be a red stain on the turf by mid-season. Behind Andrew Luck on the Colts depth chart is soon-to-be 38 year old Matt Hasselbeck, a quarterback with slightly more gas left in the tank than hair left on his head.
Bottom line is that if the offensive line can keep Andrew Luck clean inside the pocket, this team could put up a 12-4 season and challenge the Houston Texans for the AFC South title. If the offensive line keeps playing patty-cake until Luck goes down, then a 4-12 finish will give them an early draft pick to use on a top 5 tackle in the 2014 draft.
Eric Beuning is a Fantasy Football writer for RantSports.com.