The 2018 Indianapolis Colts Need Lots of Luck
by DS WilliamsonThe Colts have been bad for a while. Last season might have been the worst ever. Star QB Andrew Luck didn’t take a snap as he recovered from a shoulder injury that nearly derailed his entire career. The defense was a mess. The offense was one of the worst in the NFL. It’s amazing that Indianapolis won a single game. The fact that they went 4-12 SU is incredible. The 2018 Indianapolis Colts finally have Luck back, but in his absence the AFC South has suddenly become one of the most competitive in the league. If this team has any shot of staging an unexpected uprising, they won't just need Andrew Luck...they'll need Lady Luck on their side as well.
Luck returns, can Indy’s offensive line protect him? Real football fans - those who know the game - must wonder how professionally run football organizations like the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks could decide to invest so much into quarterbacks and then do nothing to protect them. That’s what Indianapolis has done the past few seasons, placing an insanely underwhelming offensive line in front of their star quarterback. No wonder Luck was hurt in 2016 and didn't come back until this past summer.
For Luck to get back to where he was before the injuries, the Colts had to rebuild the offensive line. Thankfully, they did so during the offseason. Instead of getting suckered into drafting a skill player or a defensive player, the Colts used their sixth pick in Round 1 to draft Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson. Nelson will immediately protect Luck from the up-the-middle rush. Another draft pick, second-rounder Braden Smith, could start at the right guard position. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo will protect Luck’s blind side while the right tackle position, although in flux, is deep.
If the 2018 Indianapolis Colts can protect Luck, Indianapolis should have a good offense. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton remains one of the better WR1s in the NFL. He and Luck already have a great rapport. Running back Marlon Mack should get at last 15 carries per game now that Frank Gore is in Miami. Mack showed flashes of being an every down back in his rookie season. The Colts also signed TE Eric Ebron to pair with Jack Doyle, who broke out last season.
This isn't an overly impressive collection of skill position talent, but Andrew Luck has proven that he can make epic mountains out of proverbial mole hills. He has just enough weapons to unleash hell on the NFL betting world, just as he has in the past. More than anything, he'll be playing behind a capable offensive line for once.
Colts’ defense is a work in progress The 2018 Indianapolis Colts offense should be much improved. The other side of the football, however, remains a glaring problem. The issue with Indy's defense is that there isn’t a single name player. The franchise intelligently cleaned house and are starting over with a mostly fresh roster of new faces.
One thing to note is that the Colts are switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3. That decision was made so that the 2018 Indianapolis Colts could focus on stopping the run, which they ranked 26th against in 2017. That’s a good place to start. However, there’s no way that Indianapolis’s defense can hold fellow AFC South teams Jacksonville, Tennessee, and Houston under 24 points.
Indy must just improve this season Forget the playoffs. The 2018 Indianapolis Colts simply need to be better than they have been. All three of their divisional opponents could very well make it to January, and if that's the dream of the Colts this upcoming season, they're setting the bar too high.
Not only that, but five of Indianapolis’s first 7 games are on the road. Unbelievably, two of those 5 road games are against Philadelphia and New England. Doesn’t seem fair, right?
Sure, doesn’t. Thankfully, fans have a lot to look forward to with the 2018 Indianapolis Colts. Making the playoffs isn’t one of those things. If Indianapolis can win 5 games this season, it should be considered a positive one. More than anything, if Andrew Luck can get to the end of the year without his arm falling off, this season will be a rousing success.