Ok. I’ve been thinking about this for months now and nothing I’ve seen or read has changed my mind. I think the Colts will be a better team in 2012 than the experts give them credit for. Most people I’ve heard have said that the team will be the worst team in the league or at least one of the two worst.
The reasons they’ve given are what we already know, the team was gutted of most of its best players. While that is true, if we look objectively at it, you’ll see that the Colts bottomed out last year. We all know who we lost: Peyton Manning, Gary Brackett, Melvin Bullet, Joseph Addai, Jeff Saturday, Mike Pollack, Ryan Diem, Philip Wheeler, Dan Orlovsky, Jacob Tamme, Dallas Clark, Curtis Painter, Anthony Gonzales, Pierre Garcon.
Damn that’s a long list.
But here’s the thing. Precious view of those guys contributed last year. Peyton missing the entire year. That’s why we have Luck. Brackett and Bullet were on IR after a couple of games. Addai missing signifigant time and wasn’t the same when he came back. Wheeler was never a game changer. Tamme and Gonzales weren’t used. Clark played like crap and should have been replaced by Tamme. Diem was on his last legs. On his best days, Mike Pollack was the OLine’s version of Philip Wheeler. Curtis Painter is addition by subtraction. That leaves the only real losses from last year to this one as Jeff Saturday and Pierre Garcon. Saturday is a borderline Hall-of-Famer and will he missed. Garcon had blazing speed and was improving on his catch rate.
Last year, the main problem with the team was the incompetent boobery at quarterback. If the Colts had had, at least, an average QB, they would have beaten Cleveland, Kansas City, and Carolina. The way the rest of the team played against Pittsburg, they probably would have won that game as well. By default, the situation has improved. There is no way that Andrew Luck can be worse than Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter and from what I’ve seen so far, he’s better than Orlovsky.
The Colts have replaced Garcon with three receivers, Donnie Avery, TY Hilton, and Lavon Brazill. One of them hopefully will stick and can give the team at least the same consistancy of down field threat that Pierre did. Two TE’s have been drafted to replace the 1.5 we’ve lost. They may be rookies, but they looked good in practice. Plus, we don’t need them to be world beaters to replace last year’s production from that position. Our receiving corps outside of Garcon is fine. Experts are saying that Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie had bad years, Reggie due to age and Collie because he isn’t the same after his concussions. I have to call BS on both of those. It’s real hard to catch a pass that’s bounced to you or six feet over your head. With better quarterbacking comes better production. Just look at how much better Steve Smith at Carolina looked with Cam Newton over the junk he had the year prior.
Our defence may not be very good, to put it mildly, but it hasn’t been very good for a while now. Peyton just covered that up. The Colts have added a couple of big bodies on the DLine that they didn’t have before which should at least keep them from being blown off the line in the run game. Like the quarterbacking, that’s improvement by default. We’ll still have Freeney and Mathis pressing the opposing Qb’s. Pat Angerer and Kavell Conner played well last year and return and we still have Antuan Beathea and Jerraud Powers in the secondary. We have holes at strong saftey and opposite Powers, but those holes were there last year. And if Grigson can pry Jenkins away from the plastic man in Dallas, that hole will be fixed.
Special teams may still be a mess this year – you can’t fix everything in one year – but they’ve been crap forever. We still have a great kicking game from McAfee and Vintatieri.
Put that all together and you have a better team than what was on the field last year which means more wins. I’m not predicting a winning season or even an 8 – 8 record, but I can see at least five wins this year, maybe more. Cam Newton meant five more wins for his team his rookie year. Some say Luck can’t have that type of impact here. I say why not? Actually, I say SHUT UP, but that’s the homer in me. The logical me says that anything is possible and no one knows until the teams hit the field. One thing I’ve learned is that when all the experts count a team out, that team can really surprise… unless their the Browns.