Well, I didn’t think I would be re-writing the Colts previews of all previews, literally 10 days ago I was locking them in as my favourites for the big one and now, well now I just don’t know where they go from here.
I hope you’ll forgive me, but given the news surrounding Andrew Luck I wanted to write this slightly differently to the other previews being uploaded on Lazy Fan Sports throughout the week.
After a disappointing, luck-less 2017 campaign, the 2018 Indianapolis Colts were heading in a similar direction after compiling a 1-5 start only to come to life and roar into the playoffs as a 6 seed from week 6 onwards. For a rejuvenated Andrew Luck and rookie head coach Frank Reich, defeating a team like their divisional rival Houston Texans in the Wild-Card Round was a major success (though what the Chiefs did to them is something you only read about in Viking invasion books).
In one of the biggest shocks, I think I’ve ever witnessed so close to the start of a season, the Colts find themselves on the wrong end of a major personnel decision, 12 months prior they were messed around by Josh McDaniels and now Luck has retired on them with 2 weeks to go until week 1.
In my opinion, the Colts have gone from walking this division to potentially the basement of it regardless of the additions they’ve made, no franchise gets to lose Andrew Luck and remain as strong as it was prior.
The rest offence returns largely intact, with TY Hilton still leading the receiver group. In addition, breakout tight end Eric Ebron and the other top tight end Jack Doyle also highlight a pass-catching group that welcomes former Panthers WR Devin Funchess and 2nd round draft pick WR Parris Campbell from Ohio State.
Indianapolis Colts out of Luck
The RBs group returns surprising workhorse Marlon Mack, who is slated for the starting role. Complimenting him will be Nyheim Hines, former Texans D’onta Foreman, and former Chiefs Spencer Ware, who will likely compete for the backup role. Of course, the strength of this unit amplifies with the presence of a strong QB. The reins will be handed to Jacoby Brissett in midst of Luck’s stunning retirement; however, this may not be comforting for Colts fans considering Brissett played QB a large part of the 2017 season where the team garnered a 4-12 record. Although in his defence he was thrust into a new offence with 8 days already gone in the season.
The defence also made strides after a horrendous 2017 campaign and returns tackling leader/ DROY Darius Leonard, who is hoping to reach even greater heights his sophomore season. Alongside him is the longtime Chief Justin Houston, who hopes to improve the Colts measly outside sack total. Other notable players returning include Clayton Geathers, Malik Hooker, and Pierre Desir from the secondary. This group returns as an improving unit, padded by 2nd round pick CB Rock Ya-Sin from Temple.
To prove that they can move forward with their heads high after Luck’s retirement, the Colts must bring the fire in Week 1’s road matchup at the Chargers. If not the Chargers then wins against any of their notable road opponents would be an absolute minimum (including the Chiefs, Saints, and Steelers).
Aside from the typical division matchups and a home game against the Falcons, the Colts have a reasonable schedule, which includes contests against the likely 5-win Dolphins, Buccaneers, and the NFL’s basement Team, the Raiders.
A team can have all the firepower it wants, but every good team needs a leader to guide them to greater heights. On the Colts, it has been Andrew Luck, and the distinct endings to the 2017 and 2018 campaigns speak for themselves on Luck’s value to the team.
Now that the QB has emotionally chosen to leave football, the team’s ability to make a Super Bowl run is severely hindered. With him, they can make a case for being one of the top teams in the AFC. Without him, they may be hovering around being a 500 team. For now, all the Colts can do is move forward with Brissett during the 2019 season, and look to the 2020 draft for a future franchise QB to lead this organization.