Team Profiles- Indianapolis Colts by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
Team Profiles – Indianapolis Colts. Chuck Pagano is the current head coach for the Indianapolis Colts, and although he’s been coaching in the NFL since 2001, this is his first head coaching position. Pagano has coached for the Cleveland Browns, the Oakland Raiders, and the Baltimore Ravens prior to joining the Colts. Consistency is the best term to use when describing Pagano’s coaching recording in Indianapolis, because in 3 years as the head coach, he has recorded 11-5 seasons in each. The Colts will have at least 11 wins in 2015.
2015 Team Outlook– Indianapolis has won the AFC South 4 out of the past 6 years (Houston won it in 2010 & 2011.) The Colts have all the pieces in place to easily lead the AFC South in wins again in 2015. The Colts however need a stronger defense, need to figure out their running game and replenish their receiving corps. The Colts will be champs of the AFC South in 2015, with Houston in 2nd place, and Jacksonville and Tennessee well under .500.
QB– How’s this for stability at the quarterback position…since 1990, the Indianapolis Colts have only needed 4 different quarterbacks to be the starting QB the franchise (excluding the 2011). Jeff George (’90-’93), Jim Harbaugh (’94-’97), Peyton Manning (’99-’10) and Andrew Luck (’12-’14). Peyton Manning was selected first overall in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Colts, and Luck was selected first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. Having only 2 quarterbacks play for a franchise over a span of 16+ years is a luxury only very few teams can boast of having. Luck was the #1 QB in the NFL in 2014 with 4761 yards passing – 43 total TDs. If he stays injury-free, he should be battling QB Aaron Rodgers as the #1 QB again in 2015.
RBs– Only the Colts know why on September 18, 2013 they traded Cleveland for RB Trent Richardson in exchange for a 2014 first-round draft pick. Granted, The Colts were looking for a running back after a season-ending injury to Vick Ballard. Other running backs were available however, and Richardson had shown nothing in Cleveland despite being a third overall by the Browns in 2012. Their willingness to trade him should have told the Colts something about the running back. Right now, the Colts are trying to find grounds to void the $3.184 million left on his contract. This could get messy. The running back that did show promise in 2014 was 3rd year player Dan Herron. Herron became the featured back for Indianapolis from Week 12 on. Although RB Herron handled himself very well in 2014, the Colts seem to consider him “more of a backup than starter”. Look for Indianapolis to grab 1 or 2 RBs in April’s NFL Draft or in free agency. UPDATE: Colts waive RB Richardson and Michael Hill. Colts sign former 49er RB Frank Gore to a 3 year deal. He is one of my favorite sleepers for 2015!
WRs– Few Colts are as revered in Indianapolis as WR Reggie Wayne is. Johnny Unitas (a Baltimore Colt), Peyton Manning, and Edgerrin James are a few others. On December 14th WR Reggie Wayne broke the Colt’s franchise record of 209 for games played. Wayne has played for the Colts his entire career, since being drafted in 2001. Some great things must come to end however, and although a sensational player, Wayne was a negative impact on Indianapolis’ offense. At 36 years old, Wayne can no longer be the player he was, and had only 791 yards and 2 TDs in 2014. If the Colts are going to keep up with the Pats, the Steelers and the Broncos in the AFC, they need young play-makers. The Colts have a special one in WR TY Hilton and perhaps another in WR Donte Moncrief. (Moncrief was one of the talented young wide receivers drafted in 2014.) WR TY Hilton ended the 2014 as the #10 WR in the NFL. Indianapolis also had veteran Hakeem Nicks playing for them in 2014, but the Colts seriously need to move on from that guy. UPDATE: Colts sign former Texan WR Andre Johnson and former Charger/Raider Vincent Brown. The Colts selected 5’10” WR Phillip Dorsett with their 1st pick, which was odd to say the least! The Colts defense is atrocious, yet they felt they needed another WR for QB Luck, who already has more than he can make happy.
TEs– In 2014, Indianapolis had not one, but two tight ends that ended the season ranked in the top 15 of NFL TEs. Coby Fleener ranked #6 with 774 and 8 TDs, and Dwayne Allen ranked #14 with 395 and 8 TDs. The Colts have always had tight ends play a big role in their offense, and 2015 will be more of the same.
K– In 2014, Adam Vinatieri made a career-high 35 field goals last, going 19-of-23 from 40-plus yards out. He is the first kicker ever to win four Super Bowl rings. As of the 2014 season, Vinatieri, 42, is the oldest active player in the NFL. The Colts think he has a ton of leg left, re-signing Vinatieri to a two-year, $5 million contract.
DEF– The Seahawks and the Patriots went to the Super Bowl in 2014, and the biggest thing they have, that the Colts don’t have, is a championship defense. The Colts made it to the playoffs, but they play in a weak division and their defense was badly exposed in the AFC Championship vs the Patriots. They got their butts kicked…45-7. The Colts need to put a priority on getting some serious run-stopping play-makers for their defense because teams ran all over them last season. There really isn’t any area of the Indy defensive that doesn’t need help. UPDATE: Colts sign CB Deveron Carr, ILB Nate Irving and S Dwight Lowery.
2014 Indianapolis Fantasy Surprises– This one’s an easy one. Even into week 17, the Colts never gave up on RB Trent Richardson, WR Reggie Wayne or WR Hakeem Nicks, when it was apparent to everyone except the Colts, that other players should be on the field. Indianapolis has other talent that should have been getting playing time and experience earlier in the season. RB Richardson averaged 3 yards carry and had only 3 TDs. WR Wayne and WR Nicks didn’t even end the 2014 season in the top 50 among wide receivers (and that’s with Andrew Luck as the quarterback!)
2015 Free Agents that Indianapolis Needs to Address– RB Ahmad Bradshaw- WR Josh Cribbs- WR Hakeem Nicks- WR Reggie Wayne- DE Corey Redding (signed w/ Arizona)- DT Ricky Jean Francois- CB Josh Gordy- CB Darius Butler (re-signed)- S Sergio Brown (signed w/ the Jags)- S LaRon Landry-(released)
2015 NFL Draft– The immediate needs of Indianapolis are at running back, run-stoppers, O-Line help, and at safety. The Colts first need to dump RB Richardson, but hopefully they use their 1st round selection on a defensive player and address the running back position later (RB), right tackle remains the most glaring weakness on Indianapolis’ O- line (OL) and the Colts gave up too many points last year (S). UPDATE: Indianapolis’entire 2015 NFL Draft can be seen at this link- INDIANAPOLIS’ DRAFT
Did You Know– The Indianapolis Colts have had only had one losing season in past 13 years, and that all 12 winning seasons since 2001 have had double digit wins? From 2002-2014, the Colts record is 144 wins and only 64 loses. Only in the 2011 season under HC Jim Caldwell, did the team have less than 10 wins.
All team reports can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS
Team Home Page: www.colts.com