NFL

Indianapolis Colts

Division: AFC SouthGM: Ryan GrigsonHead Coach: Chuck Pagano
2012: 11-5 (2nd AFC South)vs. division 4-2
Points22.3 (18th)
Yards362.4 (10th)
Pass Yards258.0 (7th)
Rush Yards104.4 (22nd)

Colts looking to take the next step

Key Additions

RB A.Bradshaw, OT G.Cherilus,
WR D.Heyward-Bey, S L.Landry,
G D.Thomas, DL R.Jean-Francois

Key Subtractions

LB D.Freeney, WR A.Collie,
OT W.Justice, S T.Zbikowski,
WR D.Avery, QB D.Stanton

Last year was a dream season for the Indianapolis Colts. A year after losing their franchise quarterback to a serious neck injury they found another.

Colts fans had to endure just one season of missing the playoffs before Andrew Luck took the team to where Peyton Manning made a habit of taking them during his 13-tenure in Indy.

With Luck at the helm, the future in Indianapolis is undeniably bright, but the immediate question is whether Year 2 of the Luck era will be as successful as the first. The Colts are likely to grow into perennial playoff contenders; are they there yet?

A lot of things went right for Indy in 2012, and some experts are predicting that won’t be the case this time around, forecasting a drop in the standings and possible fall from the post-season. But while the Colts should expect drop-off in some areas, there are others that should improve and could keep the team inline to challenge for double-digit wins again.

Luck had a strong rookie campaign but his numbers could certainly be improved upon. He threw for 4,374 yards but only had a 54.1 percent completion rate and 23 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. The 23-year-old projects to have much better stat lines when he hits his prime and it’s not unreasonable to think he can’t make at least a modest jump this season.

Luck’s primary target in the passing game returns in Reggie Wayne and if the 34-year-old, fresh off his sixth Pro Bowl season, can still perform at a high level, the QB from Stanford’s second-year development will go that much smoother.

T.Y. Hilton, an impressive rookie last year in his own right, will make to look a similar jump in effectiveness, while Dwayne Allen and Luck’s college teammate Coby Fleener will provide options at tight end.

Add the veteran Matt Hasselbeck, he of 152 career starts and three Pro Bowls, to help guide Luck and it’s easy to see him making a second-year leap.

Another area of improvement for the Colts could be the run game. Vick Ballard filled in admirably for Indy last season but his numbers – 3.86 yards per carry and two touchdowns – left a lot to be desired.

Enter off-season signing Ahmad Bradshaw, and the Colts suddenly have a real weapon at running back, albeit an injury-prone one.

Bradshaw missed two games for the New York Giants last season but still managed to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark with a 4.6 yards per carry average. It was the second year in a row the two-time Super Bowl champion didn’t log a full 16 games, part of the reason the Giants moved on from him, but when healthy, Bradshaw can be a contributor on offence.

Ballard’s job moving forward will be to spell Bradshaw to keep him fresh and fill in if he’s injured, something the 23-year-old may be better suited for. (-Ben Fisher, TSN.ca)

Analysis: Werner has only been playing football for five years, so there are some doubts as to how his game will translate to the pros. The Florida State end is a smart player, who competes hard until every whistle and will be a solid, but not spectacular defender in the NFL... Thorton and Holmes provide depth on the interior of the offensive line and could develop into starters... Hughes a big presence in the middle of the defensive line and will be insurance behind Aubrayo Franklin. Hughes isn't much of a pass rusher, but he could evolve his game in time to be strong against the run. (-TSN.ca)

Round 1 24th overall Bjoern Werner DE Florida State
Round 3 86th overall Hugh Thornton OG Illinois
Round 4 121st overall Khaled Holmes C USC
Round 5 139th overall Montori Hughes DT Tennessee-Martin
Round 6 192nd overall John Boyett SS Oregon
Round 7 230th overall Kerwynn Williams RB Utah State
Round 7 254th overall Justice Cunningham TE South Carolina

Finding Balance

What may not look as rosy this season is the team’s defence. The majority of a unit that gave up the seventh-most yards and 12th-most points returns for 2013.

For the first time in a very long time, Dwight Freeney will be attacking quarterbacks with something other than a horseshoe on his helmet. The seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end had spent his entire 11-year career in Indianapolis prior to this year, recording 258 tackles and 107.5 sacks.

AFC SOUTH PROJECTIONS

Texans (12-4)

Division Winner once again


Colts (9-7)

Lose tiebreaker, miss playoffs


Jaguars (3-13)

Need to find a quarterback


Titans (3-13)

Time to upgrade on defence

The 33-year-old was a mainstay on the Colts defence but wasn’t as effective as an outside linebacker in Indy’s switch to a 3-4 defence and was allowed to walk (to San Diego eventually) in free agency.

26-year-old Ricky Jean Francois was signed from San Francisco to replace Freeney and hopefully help with the Colts troubles against the run. Indy gave up 137.5 yards per game on the ground last season and will have to lower that number to take another step in 2013. Francois never recorded more than 12 tackles during his time with the 49ers but the 295-pounder figures to be at the very least, a big body for running backs to get around at his defensive end position.

Indy was slightly better against the pass last year and with the off-season signing of safety LaRon Landry, could be better still this year. Landry is another free agent addition that comes with a fairly extensive injury history, but one that is an impact player while healthy.

The 28-year-old was named to the Pro Bowl last season after logging a full 16 games for the New York Jets, the first time he’s played a full year since 2008, his second in the league.

Indianapolis hopes they are getting 2012 Landry and his 76 tackles and two interceptions, rather than the Landry that missed 16 games from 2009-11.

Not everything will fall in Indy’s favour as it seemingly did in 2012, but the development of Luck and other youngsters on the roster should account for that fall-off. Having four games against the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars on their schedule doesn’t hurt either, so the Colts should once again be in the playoff picture come late December. (-Ben Fisher, TSN.ca)

OFFENCE

DEFENCE

LT

A. Castonzo
B. Sowell
B. Ijalana

LG

D. Thomas
J. Reitz
D. Estenor

C

S. Satele
K. Holmes
R. Schmeig
T. Austin

RG

M. McGlynn
H. Thornton
J. Linkenbach
L. Ziemba

RT

G. Cherilus
E. Cleary
J. Anderson

WR1

R. Wayne
L. Brazill
G. Whalen
J. Sambrano

TE

D. Allen
C. Fleener
J.Cunningham

WR2

D. Heyward-Bey
T. Hilton
J. Kelley
N. Palmer

QB

A. Luck
M. Hasselbeck
C. Harnish

FB

S. Havili
D. Jones
D. Moore
R. Hughes

RB

A. Bradshaw
V. Ballard
D. Brown
D. Carter


Special Teams: K A. Vinatieri, P P. McAfee, KR K. Williams, PR T. Hilton

Fantasy - By The Numbers

QB Andrew Luck entered the league with the hype of being the first overall pick, and he lived up to it, passing for 4,374 yards as a rookie, despite completing a modest 54.1% of his passes.

Get ready for the fantasy season with the latest from TSN.ca.
Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | DEF
Fantasy Schedules: AFC | NFC
2013 Auction Values: Cheat Sheet
Fantasy Depth Charts: AFC | NFC

Luck's arrival re-established the value of veteran WR Reggie Wayne and then rookies WR T.Y. Hilton and tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener all have some measure of appeal based on the potential they showed in 2012.

The running game should get a boost with the addition of RB Ahmad Bradshaw, who has been productive for the New York Giants (3,735 yards, 25 touchdowns over the last three years) when he could manage to stay healthy.

The Colts' defence isn't full of impact players, but MLB Jerrell Freeman and safeties Antoine Bethea and LaRon Landry are worthy of selection in IDP leagues. (-Scott Cullen)

WK AGAINST DATE WK AGAINST DATE
1 vs Sun, Sep. 8, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 10 vs Sun, Nov. 10, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
2 vs Sun, Sep. 15, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 11 @ Thu, Nov. 14, 8:25pm et/5:25pm pt
3 @ Sun, Sep. 22, 4:25pm et/1:25pm pt 12 @ Sun, Nov. 24, 4:05pm et/1:05pm pt
4 @ Sun, Sep. 29, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 13 vs Sun, Dec. 1, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
5 vs Sun, Oct. 6, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 14 @ Sun, Dec. 8, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
6 @ Mon, Oct. 14, 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt 15 vs Sun, Dec. 15, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
7 vs Sun, Oct. 20, 8:30pm et/5:30m pt 16 @ Sun, Dec. 22, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
8   BYE WEEK 17 @ Sun, Dec. 29, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
9 vs Sun, Nov. 3, 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt      



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TSN 1050: Game Night: Joe Horrigan - July 30

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