What a difference a year makes. The Colts were expected to still be a playoff team in 2011, even with Peyton Manning missing a ‘few games.’ Well, he went on to miss the entire season, Indianapolis received nothing from the quarterback position and finished with a 2-14 record.
The Indianapolis Colts have many question marks going into the 2012 season. They are just at the beginning of the rebuilding process and fans will have to endure another bad season. Arguably, this season won’t hurt as bad since Kerry Collins won’t out there fumbling their happiness away.
There are a slew of new faces in Indianapolis this year. Forget about Luck, new head coach Chuck Pagano and new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians are the two new guys who will make the biggest impact in 2012.
Key Additions: QB Andrew Luck, RB Mewelde Moore, WR Donnie Avery, S Tom Zbikowski, C Samson Satele, DT Cory Redding, CB Justin King, C Mike McGlynn, DT Brandon McKinney, WR T.Y. Hilton, TE Colby Fleener, TE Dwayne Allen, DT Josh Chapman, OG Zane Taylor, RB Vick Ballard and WR LaVon Brazill.
Key Losses: QB Peyton Manning, RB Joseph Addai, LB Gary Brackett, S Melvin Bullitt, TE Dallas Clark, QB Kerry Collins, WR Pierre Garcon, WR Anthony Gonzalez, CB Jacob Lacey, WR Blair White, QB Dan Orlovsky, QB Curtis Painter, C Jeff Saturday, TE Jacob Tamme, LB Phillip Wheeler, DE Jamaal Anderson, OG Ryan Diem, DT Eric Foster, OG Mike Pollack, OG Jamey Richard, LB Ernie Sims and Brody Eldridge.
Non-Division Schedule: AFC East and NFC North
Fantasy Sleeper: RB Delone Carter – The starting running back job is up for grabs in Indianapolis. Joseph Addai is gone and they will need either Donald Brown, Vick Ballard or Delone Carter to shine during training camp. Brown is the front-runner for the job. If he gets it, Carter should get plenty of goal-line carries. He is currently the front-runner to be the third-down back. I almost picked Ballard for the sleeper, since he has the same build as Carter. If Carter is taken in your fantasy football draft, WR T.Y. Hilton is a nice deep sleeper. WR Donnie Avery is already banged up in training camp and he has left an opening for a receiver to shine.
Team Analysis: Just look at the list of guys who have arrived or left this organization in the last five months. It will take a few weeks just for these guys to know their teammates’ names. Andrew Luck will have a productive, yet humbling rookie season. He will not have Cam Newton’s numbers, but will end the season better than he was when he arrived at training camp. The receiving corps will help him out a lot. Just by having his old college teammate Colby Fleener out there will help Luck feel more comfortable. The running game was horrible last year and does not appear to be improved this season either. Donald Brown could go from ‘draft bust’ to ‘late bloomer’ with a good season. The Colts’ defense is a complete crapshoot. There are so many new faces and young players expected to contribute, they are bound to look bad at times. The coaches hope the learning curve is small for the young players and guys like Pat Angerer can keep improving. Indianapolis will be bad this season, but they will be watchable…something you could not say last season.
2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 3-13