Fuck MKE. KYE continues with the AFC South. First up is the Indianapolis Colts out of the AFC South. The Colts went 7-9 last season under HC Frank Reich after surprisingly making the playoffs in 2018. Frank Reich returns with Nick Sirianni at OC and Matt Eberflus at DC. The Colts were 5-3 at home and 2-6 on the road in 2019. They started 5-2 but finished 2-7. They managed to beat the Chiefs last year too holding them to 13 points. Indy is an interesting team with Phillip Rivers finally leaving the Chargers for a one-year deal with the Colts.
Marlon Mack is a good back and had 1,091 yards at 4.4 YPC with 9 TDs in 2019. Mack returns and the Colts doubled down adding very productive Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor in Round 2 of the draft. This is a great one-two punch along with the Colts good run blocking. All but RG Mark Glowinski are good run blockers for the Colts. Nelson is a beast LG, Costanzo is a good LT, Braden Smith is developing at RT and Ryan Kelly is a good center. The Colts will run the ball and the NFC North run defenses better be ready for it.
The Colts allowed only 97 yards per game and were a top 10 run defense. The unit only got better by giving up a first-round pick for DT DeForest Buckner from the 49ers. Buckner will help with interior pass rush and run defense. Denico Autry had a nice grade in 600 snaps at DT too. Justin Houston is a beast pass rusher still and 2018 2nd round pick Kemoka Turay returns from injury after only 86 snaps at high level but was average his rookie year in 2018.
Grover Stewart was a slightly above average nose tackle. 2019 2nd round pick Ben Banogu had a rough rookie year and backup Al Quadin Mohammed was average in 400 snaps. Buckner and Houston will bring the heat though and we’ll see if Turay and Banogu develop at all as high picks. The Colts should be stout against the run and bring good consistent pressure by adding Buckner with Houston.
Darius Leonard is one of the best Will LBs in the league. Bobby Okreke rated 9th out of 109 as well at SAM LB. Anthony Walker is a young LB but was average in 2019. The Colts have a good LB unit though and should be even stronger with Buckner in front of them. Depth is a concern though.
Could be Strength or Weakness
Passing Game with Protection
Phillip Rivers becomes the Colts starting QB after Jacoby Brissett (88 QB rating) had a down year when Andrew Luck retired in the offseason prior. Rivers had only an 88.5 rating so we’ll see if he is actually an upgrade. Jacob Eason was drafted in Round 4 as well to possibly be the future after the one year with Rivers.
The Colts do have some weapons in TY Hilton, 2nd round pick Michael Pittman and 2019 2nd round pick Paris Campbell in the slot. Campbell and Pittman have talent but they both need to step up quickly for Rivers. Jack Doyle is a solid tight end option (448 yards and 4 TDs) but Eric Ebron left in free agency to Pittsburgh after a big 2018 (TD machine) but injured 2019 regression season. Rivers isn’t as mobile as Brissett but the Colts offensive line is very good in pass protection. If Rivers has time in Indy, unlike LA, then he can have much more success than the last few seasons.
TY Hilton missed 6 games but is typically a 1,000 yard receiver and deep threat. We will see how good Rivers deep ball is. Michael Pittman is a nice big receiver that can handle jump balls but will be asked to do a lot as a rookie. Zach Pascal added 600 yards in 2019 as well and 5 TDs on 72 targets as well. The Colts need TY to get healthy and Pittman/Campbell to succeed early in their careers. Trey Burton was added at TE. We’ll see if he revives his career after his disaster outings with the Bears.
The Colts allowed a 98-passer rating in 2019. Malik Hooker and Khari Willis is a good safety combination in 2019 with above average grades for each. Willis is the box safety and Hooker is the free safety. The Colts drafted Justin Blackmon out of Utah in Round 3 as well for good depth.
The problem was CB for the Colts and lack of pass rush. The Colts dropped number 1 CB Pierre Desir this offseason and replaced him with former Vikings Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes has been regressing big-time but could help the Colts if they have a strong pass rush. Kenny Moore actually graded well and should be the number 2 CB but is smaller. TJ Carrie was average and should be the 4th CB if he doesn’t beat out Moore. Rock Ya Sin was above average as a 2nd round pick in his rookie year in 2019 at nickel.
Don’t know why the Colts struggled so much based on individual grades but it may have been pass rush related. We’ll see if the Rhodes for Desir swap plus pass rush fixes the QB rating allowed and help create more turnovers forced.
The Colts host the Vikings in Week 2 and the Packers in Week 11. They travel to Chicago in Week 4 and to Detroit in Week 8. The Colts are one of those teams that could beat (see KC win last year) anybody but also lose to anybody. They are better at home which hurts the Vikings and Packers but I could see both those teams going to Indy and winning too especially if limited or no fans. Phillip Rivers protected by an offensive line and Hilton back to normal is the wild card for the Colts. Don’t sleep on them but don’t worry too much either.