Last season, the Indianapolis Colts sucked. That goes without saying (even though I went ahead and said it). It sucked for fans, for the players, and for the career of the most decorated quarterback in NFL history.
2012 will not suck for the Colts.
Now, let me explain something. When I say it “won’t suck,” do not mistake that for me saying the Colts will win the Super Bowl, or even make the playoffs. We’re going to be watching a team that has a lot of holes on the roster after a massive purge in the off season, and in all likelihood, GM Ryan Grigson will have fairly high draft picks to play with in 2013.
So why will 2012 not suck?
Can Andrew Luck pass the throw the Colts to back to respectability this year? Probably not.
For one, we have an exciting young, rookie quarterback. Even if Luck struggles (which he very well could with the schedule Indy drew), it’s going to be 1000% better than watching the three-headed monster named Collins-Painter-Orlovsky. If you didn’t know already, all three have been given the boot. If you doubt how excited Indianapolis really is about Andrew Luck, walk into any local sporting goods store and see how many Luck jerseys they sell in a day. Look in the stands for the pre-season games. Yes, there are tickets still available for all 8 home games, but I’ll bet you dollars to donuts every single one of those will “sell out” by the Thursday deadline needed to avoid black-outs. The Colts are no longer the power in the AFC they were for 14 years, but the fans can feel that this team will at least be competitive in year 1 of the Luck era, and may contend as early as 2013.
Change in Defensive Philosophy
For as long as I have been able to watch football and actually understand what’s going on, the Colts have relied on a 4-3/cover-2 defense that focused solely on smaller, faster defensive players rushing the opposing quarterback and playing with a lead. And for that long, the defense has large in part blown severely. That trend continued into the crescendo of crap that was 2011. To be fair, several key players were injured for various portions of the year, including CB Jerraud Powers and now-former MLB Gary Brackett. But that team was going to struggle on defense regardless, because it always has.
With a new season comes a new coaching staff with a change in philosophy. The defense is already bigger, with DE Corey Redding and NTs Brandon McKinney and Josh Chapman. Of course, size only matters if you can actually play (McKinney is out for the season on IR, Chapman is still rehabbing an ACL injury, and Redding has suffered various minor injuries all pre-season), but the Colts are headed into a new, exciting direction. And if new Colt CB Vontae Davis actually applies himself, he could be the player the Colts need to occupy the LCB spot that has been a real problem the last few years.
By “good” I mean “tough.” So why is that good? Because it’s going to be fun to watch the Colts try and compete against the likes of Green Bay, New England, Detroit, and division rival Houston. The Colts will almost definitely lose most, if not all, of these games, and that would be rough to watch (assuming anyone actually did watch) if C-Paint was still slinging the pigskin. But he’s not. Andrew Luck is. These teams will throw all they can think of at the rook, and we should be able to tell exactly how fast he is developing in year one during these games. What more can you ask for from a team that went 2-14 last year and is in hardcore rebuild mode?
So, the bottom line is that 2012 will still be a losing season. But there’s a big difference between losing because you suck, and losing because you’re just not there yet. It’s going to be exciting to watch if/how this team will begin to mesh and grow. Fans should have a good time regardless. Now on to the predictions:
Overall Record – 5-11
Wk 1: @ CHI – L, 27-10
Wk 2: MIN – W, 21-6
Wk 3: JAC – W, 30-17
Wk 4: BYE
Wk 5: GB – L, 38-13
Wk 6: @ NYJ – W, 21-17
Wk 7: CLE – W, 35-20
Wk 8: @ TEN – L, 21-20
Wk 9: MIA – L, 17-9
Wk 10: @ JAC – L, 28-14
Wk 11: @ NE – L, 41-14
Wk 12: BUF – L, 27-6
Wk 13: @ DET, L – 31-17
Wk 14: TEN – W, 28-7
Wk 15: @ HOU – L, 24-10
Wk 16: KC – L, 30-28
Wk 17: @ HOU, L 24-21
307/529, 58% completion, 2913 yards, 18 TDs, 15 INTs, 75 yards rushing, 2 TDs.
So, Colts fans, get strapped in. This year will not be unlike a roller coaster, with ups, downs, and the occasional loop. Don’t get discouraged or disheartened, however. Because no matter how rough this season could potentially get, this is a team on the upswing. It’s good times in Indy, you just may not know it yet.
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