The Indianapolis Colts went from Peyton Manning-less bottom feeders in 2011 to Andrew Luck-lead wild card contenders. Simply put, having competence at the quarterback position was the difference, and in just one year the Colts appeared to have replaced a legend with a player who appears to already be carving out a legacy of his own.
Because of Indy’s quick resurrection from the dead, it’s no shock that they have reasonable 40/1 odds to win this year’s Super Bowl. It’s going to take more than a pass-happy offense that relies solely on Luck to get the job done, but with the right additions, the Colts might not be that far away.
Luck’s own improvement will surely give Indy a chance at maintaining the momentum given off of their 11-5 season from a year ago, but it can’t stop with him if Indianapolis is to take the next step and win a playoff game in the new era. It’s going to take better pass protection and more balance, which might be able to be obtained with veteran running back Ahmad Bradshaw taking over as the new starting running back.
But offense really isn’t going to be the issue is Indianapolis. Even without consistent balance, the Colts are still going to move the ball and find a way to put points on the board. It’s squeezing consistency out of their still transitioning 3-4 defense that will be the real task.
Indy began their transition to the 3-4 defense under new head coach Chuck Pagano last year, but didn’t have the personnel to make it a smooth switch. Despite letting some ill-fitting pieces go and adding a solid talent in Bjoern Werner, it appears to still be open for debate if the Colts are really any closer to finalizing the move.
When it’s all said and done, the success or failure of the 2013 Indianapolis Colts is surely to rest on the arm of Andrew Luck. However, if the defense can’t start bailing Luck and the offense out when they need it most, the Colts are likely destined to simply repeat their one-and-done playoff effort from a year ago.
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