What's that Jim Mora?
What's that Jim Mora?
One more time please...
(This is probably better if I could just play the clip. Don't worry, you'll still be reading after I say this next thing...) Are the 2012 Colts a playoff team? Maybe.
Indianapolis has absolutely cleaned house from the front office to the coaching staff to the players, all of which combined for just two wins last season. First of all, the Colts were not one of the worst teams of all-time last season. Scratch that 62-7 loss to the Saints, maybe the best team in the NFL, and you'll see that they did lose a lot of close games. Yeah their offense was terrible and their defense was bad, but they've got new players on offense and they've got the Ravens 2011 defensive coordinator as their new head coach.
Chuck Pagano would be my first pick for Head Coach of the Year right now, since it's all about taking unlikely teams further than anyone expects, and it would only take six more wins for people to be convinced that Pagano is the guy. But is it possible that they could go further than that and maybe even reach 10-6 and make the playoffs?
I think so.
I wouldn't say that their schedule is easy, but they do play Minnesota, Jacksonville (at home), at the Jets, Browns, and Dolphins in their first half schedule. Really they could win those games and maybe stroll into their difficult final three (at Texans, at Chiefs, Texans) with a shot at winning a wild card or more. The fact is that it's mostly going to come down to how quickly these players can gel and buy into the coaching staff.
It worked pretty well in their preseason opener, a 38-3 win over the Rams. It still worked okay in their 26-24 loss to the Steelers last week. Frankly, the Colts could be the surprise team of 2012. And they've got some fantasy players you'll want to keep an eye on too. Join me, won't you?
You too, Mora.
2011 Record: 2-14
Well you did it, Indy. You sucked. Here is your prize and it's a doozy. Luck is possibly the best QB to enter the league in years and arguably could be the best to come into the NFL since Manning, Peyton. That's not a fun thing to say if you hate seeing other teams or people get all the good stuff, but it's true. He's going to be the week one starter and he might outdo what Manning did for the Colts when he was a rookie. Not that it would be surprising, considering Manning's rookie season.
In two preseason games, Luck is 26 of 41 for 363 yards, 2 TD and 2 INT for 8.9 yards an attempt. That would be elite if he actually does that during the regular season, which he most certainly won't, but he could be well above-average. The Colts might have drafted the most offensive players this year (I can't be certain right now but I'm halfway done with my previews and that's definitely the most drafted skill players I've written by far) and surrounded Luck with more talent than any of the QBs had last year.
I asked Brad Wells of Stampede Blue what he would predict for Luck and I'll stick right around his numbers but be a bit more conservative. It's still well worth a backup fantasy QB spot.
2012 Projection: 61%, 3,600 yards, 24 TD, 19 INT. It certainly doesn't suck!
Drew Stanton and Harnish would be worrisome to see, however.
What are the new-look Colts going to do in regards to the running game? TO THE OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR-MOBILE!!!
New OC Bruce Arians had been the Steelers OC since 2007. They ranked 3rd in rushing in 2007, 23rd in 2008 when they won the Super Bowl, 19th in 2009, 11th in 2010, and 14th in 2011.
Wow, I learned less than I knew from before. :(
Well, they were all over the board but they were never bad at it, really. They like rush attempts, they score TDs on the ground often enough. The Colts ranked 26th in rushing and rushing TDs last season but I don't expect that again. I expect the ball to be shared, however. Brown led the team in carries last season with 134 and he had 4.8 yards per carry. In the Arian (uhh) offense, he'll do a bit more.
2012 Projection: 200 carries for 900 yards, 9 TD
Part of the reason that Brown may not top 1,000 yards is Ballard, who has impressed coaches in camp and preseason with "make-miss ability" according to Pagano. He's not super fast, but he could prove to be the number one back eventually. He's the Colts leading rushing the preseason with 62 yards on 16 carries.
2012 Projection: 100 carries for 450 yards and 4 TD
I came to the conclusion yesterday that Reggie Wayne isn't done. He also hasn't missed a game since his rookie year in 2001. 34 is approaching the hill, but it's not over the hill for Hall of Fame wide receivers and Wayne has a case to be one of those. With a better QB, he'll be much better. His Catch% on targets was down to 57% last year but I blame the QBs plenty for that.
2012 Projection: 90 catches, 1,170 yards, 9 TD
Going into last season I tabbed Collie as maybe THE breakout player of the year. He's broken a lot of things in the last year, but mainly it's been his head. His future right now is so uncertain (could he play week one or retire? covers basically all of the bases) that I won't project or draft Collie even though I think he could(ve) been a great player. Maybe he will be.
Okay, so if the Colts had a glaring weakness as of today, it might be the receiving group. Or it might not be. The truth is that we simply don't know because outside of Wayne, the injury to Collie makes it incredibly inexperienced. Avery was almost a first round pick (33rd) in 2008 with the Rams but has missed most of the last two years with injuries. He'll make his preseason debut this week, does he have anything left?
LaVon Brazill and T.Y. Hilton
Brazill has 5 catches for 63 yards in the pre and Hilton has 5 for 62. Will either of them step up this season and be fantasy players? It's tough to say for sure which, if either, could do that but the yards have to go somewhere. I like Brazill as a sleeper.
Not only one of the coolest names in the league, but also a former teammate of Luck and Fleener at Stanford that signed as an UDFA. He's also impressed some people and the injury to Collie could give him a spot. Griff "Tannen" Whalen has 4 catches for 59 yards in the preseason.
The season hasn't even started yet and I think some people are ready to deem Fleener a bust. Okay, maybe not that far, but more has been expected out of the young tight end and maybe expectations are too high. Or maybe we're freakin' out man because it's the preseason. Is he Rob Gronkowski or simply Kevin Boss? I think that either way, him and Allen will split time and not sure that the offense is ready to "Tom Brady" it's way to two of the best fantasy tight ends in the game. He's a solid sleeper who should have some solid games.
2012 Projections: Fleener catches 45 passes for 550 yards and 4 TD. Allen catches 35 passes for 400 yards and 3 TDs. I also acknowledge that Fleener could also grab 800 yards if everything fell right. We didn't expect the Gronk and Graham to necessarily break records last season either. Maybe this is the TE version of Cam Newton, but he's been unproductive in the preseason. Newton sucked in the preseason last year too.
That's it. Now... what was that you were saying Mora?