Jumping to another team preview for the Indianapolis Colts this time around. Here are Sayre Bedinger from Naptown’s Finest thoughts on the upcoming season for the Colts.
1. Which player(s) on roster need to step up in order for the season to be successful?
I think the player on the roster that really needs to step up their game this year is Andrew Luck. He took a lot of sacks last year and while he might be the most obvious answer here, there’s a reason for it. Luck is so critical to this team’s success. He led 10 successful two-minute drills last season, and you saw the difference he made on the team, leading them to 11 victories just one year removed from a dreadful two win season. If he can cut down on interceptions and take fewer sacks, the Colts will be wildly successful offensively this year. If that happens, they won’t need so many late-game heroics but even if they do, he’s already proven he can handle it.
2. What position battle(s) will you be paying attention to during training camp?
There are a few position battles to really pay attention to with the Colts, but it’s going to be really interesting to see how the running back position turns out. The Colts don’t have the roster capacity to keep everyone in their backfield currently, so it seems likely that one of Delone Carter or Donald Brown will go. Right now, the chances are high that it will be Carter who is sent packing since Vick Ballard emerged last year and the two are pretty similar style runners. Carter has just been unable to stay healthy. With Ahmad Bradshaw now in the fold and Ballard’s breakout season in the rearview mirror, you have a position with a lot of new faces including a really underrated rookie in Kerwynn Williams, who is expected to resume kick return duties.
Right now, I expect Bradshaw to be the featured back, but he’s starting off camp on the PUP so that theory is now up in the air. It’s anyones guess who will open the season as the #1 tailback on the Colts’ roster, but maybe it was too soon to count out Vick Ballard.
3. Which rookie(s) on the team will make an immediate impact?
The rookie on the team most likely to make an immediate impact is obviously first round pick Bjoern Werner, who could wind up starting at DE/OLB opposite Robert Mathis by the time week one rolls around. Werner was my top ranked player on defense going into the draft and I think he can be huge as a pass rusher in the NFL. You also have to look at the RG competition where Illinois guard Hugh Thornton has a really good chance to start. Thornton was a really reliable player for Illinois over the last couple of years, and his OL coach there is now an assistant OL coach with the Colts.
4. Which player(s) on the roster is the most underrated?
The most underrated player on the Colts’ roster could be T.Y. Hilton. Some people are expecting Hilton to have a huge year–like myself–and if he sees more touches he could become an integral part of the Colts’ offense. Hilton was a third rounder in 2012 who made significant contributions last year as a big play threat but with Donnie Avery moved on, he could see a huge rise in targets this year.
5. Prediction for the season?
I predict the Colts will be strong contenders for the AFC South title this year. They were only one game off last year, and I think they have the best coaching/quarterback in the division. That being said, the Texans are tough to bet against. This could be a really tight battle for first place and I see the Colts winning 10 games this season.
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