By Mike Lucas
Featured Columnist

The Indianapolis Colts were arguably the biggest surprise in the NFL last season, going from the worst overall team in the league in 2011 to making the playoffs in 2012 with an 11-5 record.

The Colts have brought in an array of players this offseason, including offensive linemen Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas, wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, defensive backs Greg Toler and LaRon Landry, linebacker Erik Walden and defensive tackles Ricky Jean-Francois and Aubrayo Franklin.

The only key player the Colts let go in free agency was defensive end Dwight Freeney.

With almost the entire roster returning from their playoff team last season, the Colts will certainly be looking to get back to the postseason in 2013.

Here is their season preview.


For a rookie, Andrew Luck played phenomenally last season, throwing for more than 4,000 yards and 23 touchdowns. Luck should be even better in year two with an improved offensive line and the development of his young receivers.

Vick Ballard has solidified the starting running back spot in Indy, and the Colts first official depth chart has Donald Brown listed as the No. 2 back and Ahmad Bradshaw as the third back.

The Colts were one of the worst teams in the league at running the ball, and coach Chuck Pagano has stressed during training camp so far that the team needs to be more balanced on offense. Look for the Colts running game to be much better in 2013.

Reggie Wayne had nearly 70 more targets last season than any other Colts receiver. Wayne is getting up there in age though, and the Colts are going to rely on their young receivers much more this year than they did last year.

Darius Heyward-Bey is listed as their No. 2 receiver, and T.Y. Hilton is listed as their third receiver. Heyward-Bey is looking to revitalize his career in Indy, and he had looked impressive so far in camp before spraining his MCL in practice yesterday.

Tight end Coby Fleener, the Colts second-round pick in 2012, is poised for a breakout season. Fleener and Luck already have great chemistry from their days at Stanford together, and he is an athletic monster with great hands.

The Colts offensive line stunk last year, and the addition of Gosder Cherilus at left tackle and Donald Thomas at guard will really help keep Andrew Luck upright in the pocket. The Colts may have given both of these offensive linemen huge contracts this offseason, but keeping Luck healthy is priceless.


Statistically, the Colts defense wasn’t very good last year, finishing 21st in the league against the pass and 29th in the league against the rush. With all the new additions to the defense, Indianapolis’ defense should be much better in 2013.

Jean-Francois and Franklin are two huge defensive tackles, and should really help solidify the Colts run defense.

Erik Walden is slotted in to play the Sam-linebacker position, and although he has been inconsistent throughout his career, is a very talented player. Pat Angerer and Jerrell Freeman are slotted to play the middle linebacker spots, and both of them are solid NFL players.

Robert Mathis is still a work in progress as far as his transition goes from defensive end to rush linebacker, and he should be better this year with another training camp under his belt. First-round pick Bjoern Werner is Mathis’ backup, and should learn a lot from watching Mathis.

Adding Toler and Landry to the Colts secondary gives them a lot of talent at the position, but not a lot of depth. Toler and Vontae Davis are the starting cornerbacks, but after those two, the talent drop off is significant.

The Colts secondary is one injury away from being a huge liability.

2013 Prediction: 10-6

The Colts are going to be very good again in 2013, but play one of the hardest schedules in the NFL this season. Look for Indy to have one of the best offenses in the league and their defense to be better, but not great.

Wins: Oakland, Miami, @Jacksonville, Seattle, St. Louis, @Tennessee, @Arizona, Houston, @Kansas City, Jacksonville

Losses: @San Francisco, @San Diego, Denver, @Houston, Tennessee, @Cincinnati


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