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NFL Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts’ 5 Biggest Red Flags Heading into 2014

Indianapolis Colts' 5 Biggest Red Flags Heading into 2014

Trent Richardson
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts, fresh off back-to-back playoff appearances since nabbing quarterback Andrew Luck in the 2012 NFL Draft, will be looking to make the jump from playoff contender to Super Bowl contender in 2014. Here are five red flags that could impede those ambitions.

5. Colts Likely Won't Be Challenged in AFC South

Colts vs. Jaguars
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

5. Colts Likely Won't Be Challenged in AFC South

Colts vs. Jaguars
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts' easy schedule could be viewed as a pro or con. With the latter mindset, it's hard to envision Indianapolis being challenged within its division in 2014, which could be detrimental come playoff time. The .430 winning percentage of the Colts' opponents, when factoring in records from 2013, is the lowest in the NFL. While that makes for any easy path to the postseason, it doesn't make for a team that has been battle tested to get there.

4. Vontae Davis Needs Help in Secondary

Vontae Davis
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

4. Vontae Davis Needs Help in Secondary

Vontae Davis
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Although inconsistent at times, cornerback Vontae Davis showed flashes of dominance last fall. According to Pro Football Focus, only Darrelle Revis and Brent Grimes produced better accumulative scores at the position than Davis. The rest of the Colts' secondary remains a big question mark, though. Opposite Davis, Greg Toler has been shaky in coverage when healthy. And at safety, LaRon Landry and Mike Adams have both left something to be desired.

3. Offensive Line Far from Solidified

Colts vs. Broncos
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

3. Offensive Line Far from Solidified

Colts vs. Broncos
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts' offensive line is still a work in progress. By Pro Football Focus' estimate, the unit was the league's eighth-worst in pass protection and its 10th-worst in run blocking last season. It's a young group, with the average age of the five projected starters being only 26, so perhaps improvement is on the horizon. For Andrew Luck's sake, it better be.

2. Trent Richardson Projects as Starter

Trent Richardson
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2. Trent Richardson Projects as Starter

Trent Richardson
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Two teams have invested a first-round pick in Trent Richardson. The Browns burned pick No. 3 overall on the Alabama standout in 2012 and the Colts traded their 2014 first-round choice for Richardson last September. All for a back who averaged 2.9 yards per carry in Indianapolis last season. With Donald Brown gone, Richardson is penciled in as the starter. Unless something finally clicks for him, the Colts should struggle on the ground once again.

1. Run Defense Remains Suspect

Colts vs. Patriots
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

1. Run Defense Remains Suspect

Colts vs. Patriots
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Signing D'Qwell Jackson to play inside linebacker probably won't lead to drastic improvements against the run. Drastic improvements, however, is probably what the Colts need. The Colts ranked 26th in run defense last season. Meanwhile, Jackson ranked as Pro Football Focus' seventh-worst inside linebacker versus the run among qualifying players at the position. The struggles should continue.