Colts News NFL: Indianapolis Colts placed Andrew Luck on the PUP list after shoulder surgery in the offseason. Luck will be ready by week 1 of the 2017 NFL Season.



Indianapolis Colts 2017 Season Preview




Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Posted on 7/30/2017.


Indianapolis Colts Free Agency Recap


Indianapolis got some short-term starters at 3-4 outside linebacker in John Simon as the 3-4 right outside linebacker and Jabaal Sheard as the 3-4 left outside linebacker. The Colts also revamped their defensive line with Margus Hunt a backup on Cincinnati for four years who finally gets to start at 3-4 right end along with Jonathan Hankins as their starting nose tackle. Sean Spence at 3-4 middle linebacker was another solid addition. Barkevious Mingo was a guy the Colts brought in, but he may get cut in training camp. The Colts also brought in Kamar Aiken for depth at wide receiver.



Indianapolis Colts Draft Recap


The Colts got two players that can start on the secondary right away in free safety Malik Hooker and boundary cornerback Quincy Wilson. Their third round pick Tarrell Basham was initially listed as a third stringer, but he's already jumped Barkevious Mingo as the backup outside linebacker to John Simon at 3-4 right outside linebacker.


Zach Banner is listed as the backup right tackle on the Colts' depth chart, but they may move Joe Haeg back to right tackle if something happens to Le'Raven Clark. Grover Stewart is honestly better than Margus Hunt for the 3-4 right end job and moved up from third string to backup during rookie minicamp and OTA's.


Marlon Mack is their third string running back, but I like him better than Robert Turbin their current backup. Nate Hairston their fifth round pick out of Temple began as the #7 cornerback on the Colts' depth chart and is now the dime cornerback meaning only three corners rank ahead of Hairston. The Colts may use Hairston in four cornerback sets.


Anthony Walker III entered the year as a potential first round pick at middle linebacker. The Colts got him late in the draft, and if one of their middle linebackers gets injured, he will see time as a rookie.




Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Summary: Andrew Luck is the only quality quarterback on this roster. The Colts two main backups are Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris who is the third string quarterback. Brian Schottenheimer is the Colts quarterback coach for the second year in a row. Luck was dominant when Schottenheimer was his quarterbacks coach. I don't think this PUP injury with Luck is as bad as people are making it out to be because he's already throwing in rehab and will be out until September 3rd at the very worst. The 2017 NFL Season starts September 10th for every team outside of Kansas City and New England.


Indianapolis Colts Running Back Summary: Frank Gore is the starting running back for the Indianapolis Colts. Indianapolis has Robert Turbin as a backup running back, and rookie Marlon Mack is the third string running back on this roster. Josh Ferguson is the fourth string running back and he should he will be used on special teams. Running backs coach Jemal Singleton enters year two with the Indianapolis Colts so maybe we will see more from the running game this year.


Indianapolis Colts Wide Receiver Summary: Right now the Colts have T.Y. Hilton as their #1 flanker receiver on the outside. Donte Moncrief compliments Hilton. Phillip Dorsett the Colts 2015 first round pick is the teams slot receiver. The Colts added Kamar Aiken for depth.


Sanjay Lal is coming off a down year as the Bills wide receivers coach. Sammy Watkins was injured, and that really shouldn't be on Lal since in 2015 the year before Watkins got injured, Watkins produced his first career season with 1,000 receiving yards in 2015.


Indianapolis Colts Tight End Summary: Jack Doyle is the Colts starting tight end. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is excellent with developing tight ends. Jim Hostler is a good tight ends coach too.


Indianapolis Colts Offensive Line Summary: Indianapolis has an okay offensive line. Anthony Costanzo is one of the leagues better left tackles. Jack Mewhort is a quality left guard, but a horrible right tackle. It depends on where they start him. Ryan Kelly will start at center. Joe Haeg will start at right guard. Le'Raven Clark is expected to start at right tackle.


The Colts have depth on their offensive line. Le'Raven Clark will move to left tackle if anything happens to Costanzo with Haeg moving back to right tackle allowing Denzelle Goode their backup right guard to kick into the starting lineup. If something happened to Clark, then Haeg would move to right tackle with Goode as a right guard. The only way the Colts are screwed is if both Costanzo and Clark get injured leaving Joe Haeg at left tackle and Zach Banner at right tackle. Banner can be talented, but he needs another year or two to develop. Throwing him into the fire at this point would be irresponsible. Former Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin will be the Colts offensive line coach and will also take over as interim head coach if Chuck Pagano gets fired during the season.


The Colts were 8th in points per game, 10th in total yards, 6th in passing yards, and 23rd in rushing yards in 2016. The Colts improved in every offensive category in 2016. That speaks volumes about how Rob Chudzinski has improved this team as the Colts offensive coordinator as he enters his second season with the Colts.



Indianapolis Colts Defensive Line Summary: Indianapolis has a strong defensive line. Margus Hunt starts at 3-4 right end with Jonathan Hankins starting at nose tackle and Kendall Langford complimenting Jones and Parry at 3-4 left end. The Colts also have solid depth on their defensive line.


Rookie Grover Stewart is the backup 3-4 right end. Henry Anderson is a 3-4 left end that can push Langford for a starting job. David Parry provides depth behind Jonathan Hankins at nose tackle. Hassan Ridgeway is on the Colts third string unit at 3-4 defensive end.


Gary Emmanuel has been a reliable defensive line coach for the Indianapolis Colts. With the depth he has on the defensive line, we may see more pressures on the opposing quarterback.


Indianapolis Colts Linebacker Summary: Indianapolis has John Simon starting at 3-4 right outside linebacker and Jabaal Sheard starting at 3-4 left outside linebacker. The Colts got Tarrell Basham in the 2017 NFL Draft to groom behind Simon. Antonio Morrison their 2016 fourth round pick out of Florida who I spoke highly of is finally starting at 3-4 middle linebacker. Sean Spence compliments him at 3-4 middle linebacker. You also got Anthony Walker III a rookie out of Northwestern for depth who may end up getting to start this season if Morrison or Spence gets injured.


The Colts have two coaches that can coach their linebackers. Defensive coordinator Ted Monachino and linebackers coach Jim Hermann both specialize in developing linebackers.


Indianapolis Colts Defensive Backs Summary: The Colts have some cornerback depth it's not great though. Vontae Davis returns as the #1 field cornerback. Quincy Wilson their 2017 second round pick will be the boundary cornerback. Rashaan Melvin will play nickel cornerback. Nate Hairston will be a dime cornerback on the Colts. Darius Butler will be the quarter cornerback. As long as Vontae Davis stays healthy there is enough depth for the Colts cornerbacks to have their moments. I expect Davis to stay healthy with him in a huge contract year.


Clayton Geathers a 2015 third round pick from Central Florida will start at his natural position which is strong safety. Geathers played strong safety at Central Florida, but moved over to free safety. Now that the Colts have Malik Hooker they can start Hooker at free safety. T.J. Green gives you a good free safety for depth.


Head coach Chuck Pagano and defensive backs coach Greg Williams both specialize in developing defensive backs. I love how the Colts used the 2017 NFL Draft to play to their strengths by getting much stronger at both cornerback and safety.


The Colts had one of the worst defenses in 2016. Indianapolis was 20th in sacks, 22nd in points allowed, 30th in total yards allowed, 27th in pass defense, and 25th in run defense. The Colts made a lot of additions defensively. Indianapolis still went 8-8 in consecutive seasons with a mediocre defense. They should win more games with a much better defense.



Indianapolis Colts Special Teams Summary: Indianapolis has one of the best special teams units. They have Adam Vinatieri at kicker, Jeff Locke at punter, and Josh Ferguson as a return specialist. Tom McMahon has been the Colts special teams coordinator for five years now. He's been consistent enough to be considered reliable, but you can joke about how he kept his job after that special teams play against the Patriots that Chuck Pagano called a few years ago.




Indianapolis Colts Worst Case Scenario: The Colts go 5-11 and are the worst team in the AFC South due to a lousy defense and Andrew Luck's shoulder injury. These two things hinder the Colts with Irsay finally pulling the plug on Chuck Pagano.


Indianapolis Colts Best Case Scenario: Indianapolis finds a way to get home field in the AFC. If they beat Pittsburgh in head to head play and tie New England for the same regular season record, they would end up with home field. I doubt this scenario happens, but its a best case scenario at this point for the Colts.


Indianapolis Colts 2017 NFL Schedule


Week
Date
Opponent
Time
Cable Network
Result
Week 1
September 10
AT
4:05 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 2
September 17
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 3
September 24
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 4
October 1
AT
8:30 PM EST
NBC
L
Week 5
October 8
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 6
October 16
AT
8:30 PM EST
ESPN
W
Week 7
October 22
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 8
October 29
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 9
November 5
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 10
November 12
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 11
Bye Week
Week 12
November 26
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 13
December 3
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 14
December 10
VS
1 EST
CBS
L
Week 15
December 14
AT
8:25 PM EST
NBC
W
Week 16
December 23
AT
4:30 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 17
December 31
VS
1 EST
CBS
W


Indianapolis Colts 2017 Projected Record (11-5): Last year I had Jacksonville and Indianapolis both going 10-6 with Jacksonville winning the tiebreaker. I have determined that from this preview that the Colts clinched the AFC South.


This Indianapolis Colts 2017 Season Preview has the Colts 5-1 versus the AFC South teams. We also have the Tennessee Titans going 10-6 and the Jacksonville Jaguars going 7-9.


Houston could still go 3-3 versus AFC South teams and win out. They would still be eligible to win the division, but we have them getting swept by the Colts and they get other division winners on their schedule which does work against them.


Right now I have the Colts as my AFC South champion for 2017 in large part to the defensive moves the Colts made because I believe they have enough protection for quarterback Andrew Luck up front on that offensive line. It's time for Luck to get back to the playoffs and I think the Colts can win a wild card game with home field. It's just gonna come down to who they end up playing.


Not playing Oakland, Kansas City, or New England in the regular season is a huge advantage for the Colts and gives the Colts a great chance to secure the 3 seed perhaps even the 2 seed if they can pull off an upset over Pittsburgh. Luck has been injured each of the last two seasons when the Colts played Pittsburgh which is why I'm leaning more towards giving the Colts the 3 seed at this point.









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