The 2013 incarnation of the Indianapolis Colts will have more of the same faces that you saw from the 2012 season but will have many more unfamiliar faces. Did the 2013 draft and making a big splash in free agency help create a better Colts team to open the 2013 season than the 2012 Colts?
Aug 18, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) drops back to pass against the New York Giants during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Quarterbacks: Andrew Luck, Drew Stanton, Chandler Harnish
2013 Quarterbacks: Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck
Better. Andrew Luck will be more experienced than he was in 2012 and Matt Hasselbeck is a better option at backup than not only Drew Stanton but in the entire league. The Colts have learned from past mistakes and invested in a backup quarterback as a fallback plan in case Luck would to ever go down with injury.
Dec 30, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Vick Ballard (33) runs past Houston Texans outside linebacker Connor Barwin (98) during the game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Running Backs: Donald Brown, Mewelde Moore, Vick Ballard, Mewelde Moore
2013 Running Backs: Ahmad Bradshaw, Vick Ballard, Donald Brown, Stanley Havili (Fullback)
Better. Ahmad Bradshaw, when healthy, is a very dual threat running back whether it be running or pass catching. The emergence of Vick Ballard also has helped bolster the talent at this position. The Colts now use a fullback too in Stanley Havili.
Oct. 07, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne (87) crosses the goal line to score the game winning touchdown in the second half as the Indianapolis Colts defeat the Green bay Packers, 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Donnie Avery, T.Y Hilton, LaVon Brazill, Kris Adams
2013 Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey, T.Y Hilton, Griff Whalen, David Reed
Better. With the emergence of T.Y Hilton, it bolstered the Colts receiving core exponentially. Despite the turnover from 2012, Heyward-Bey looks to rectify is poor NFL career thus far with a new team in the Colts. Griff Whalen looks to take over slot receiver duties with Collie gone.
Dec. 2, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener (80) catches a pass for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Tight Ends: Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, Dominique Jones
2013 Tight Ends: Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, Justice Cunningham, Jack Doyle
Even. With the added depth being great, Coby Fleener has under delivered at the tight end position with Dwayne Allen out performing him in the 2012 season. Fleener also has gotten dinged up this past preseason and one can question his toughness on the field.
Dec 16, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith (94) is blocked by Indianapolis Colts tackle Anthony Castonzo (74) in the first quarter at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Offensive Tackles: Anthony Castonzo, Winston Justice, Jeff Linkenbach
2013 Offensive Tackles: Anthony Castonzo, Gosder Cherilus, Jeff Linkenbach
Better. It’s mostly the same other than the loss of Justice and the addition of Cherilus who is far better than Justice.
Jul 29, 2013; Anderson, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts offensive guard Donald Thomas (66) and offensive tackle Jeff Linkenbach (72) go through blocking drills during the Indianapolis Colts training camp at Anderson University. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Offensive Guards: Mike McGlynn, Joe Reitz, Seth Olsen, Mike Pearson
2013: Offensive Guards: Donald Thomas, Mike McGlynn, Hugh Thorton, Joe Reitz
Better. Seth Olsen was pretty terrible last year and with Thomas coming over from New England, the line is exponentially better.
Nov 18, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; Indianapolis Colts center Samson Satele (64) at the line of scrimmage against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts 59-24. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
2012: Offensive Center: Samson Satele, A.Q. Shipley
2013 Offensive Center: Samson Satele, Khaled Holmes
Worse. A.Q Shipley played very well at the center position and the questionable move to trade them left me and possibly other Colts fans confused. Khaled Holmes was drafted in the 2013 draft but has had injuries throughout preseason.
November 8, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; Indianapolis Colts defensive end Fili Moala (95) prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Nose Tackles: Antonio Johnson, Fili Moala
2013 Nose Tackles: Aubrayo Franklin, Josh Chapman, Fili Moala
Better. Indianapolis gets a new face at the nose tackle position as Johnson and Moala couldn’t get the job done. Franklin is a big guy who has imposed his will on players and Chapman has done the same during Alabama’s 2011 National Championship run.
Dec 9 2012, Indianapolis, USA; Indianapolis Colts defensive end Cory Redding (90) reacts to the Colts making a defensive play against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeated Tennessee 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
2012: Defensive Ends: Cory Redding, Drake Nevis, Ricardo Mathews, Martin Tevaseu
2013 Defensive Ends: Cory Redding, Ricky Jean Francois, Montori Hughes, Ricardo Mathews
Better. It’s more of the same but with the addition of Francois and the drafting of Hughes (who raised eyes during preseason) , it looks to be better than the makeshift line that was had in 2012
Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces defensive end Bjoern Werner (Florida State) as the twenty fourth overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Outside Linebackers: Robert Mathis, Dwight Freeney, Jerry Hughes, Justin Hickman
2013 Outside Linebackers: Robert Mathis, Erik Walden, Bjoern Werner, Cam Johnson
Better. Freeney wasn’t comfortable in the standing position and Jerry Hughes did nothing to show any progress in his skill set in 2012. The signing of Walden was to stop the run while the drafting of Werner was to provide the pass rush even though he is still a raw player.
November 8, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (50) gets ready to rush during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Indianapolis Colts defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Inside Linebackers: Pat Angerer, Kavell Conner, Jerrell Freeman, Moise Fokou, Mario Harvey
2013 Inside Linebackers: Jerrell Freeman, Kelvin Sheppard, Kavell Conner, Pat Angerer, Mario Harvey
Even. The linebacker core from 2012 was one of the few bright spots of the Colts defense with Freeman having a breakout year. Kelvin Sheppard, who played well in Buffalo looks to play opposite of Freeman.
Dec 23, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Darius Butler (20) returns an interception for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Cornerbacks: Jerraud Powers, Vontae Davis, Cassius Vaughn, Justin King, Josh Gordy
2013 Cornerbacks: Vontae Davis, Greg Toler, Darius Butler, Cassius Vaughn, Josh Gordy
Better. Losing Jerraud Powers hurts but he was injured every season since his rookie campaign in 2009. Toler had played very well in Arizona over the past few seasons while Butler is good enough to be a starter.
Dec 16, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts free safety Antoine Bethea (41) plays against the Houston Texans during the second quarter at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Safeties: Antoine Bethea, Tom Zbikowski, Joe Lefeged, Sergio Brown
2013 Safeties: LaRon Landry, Antoine Bethea, Joe Lefeged, Sergio Brown, Delano Howell
Better. Zbikowski was not a very good safety last year plain and simple. That safety position hadn’t had the type of talent that LaRon Landry brings since Bob Sanders was still on the team.
Nov 18, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (4) kicks a field goal during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Special Teams: Adam Vinatieri, Pat McAfee, Matt Overton
2013 Special Teams: Adam Vinatieri, Pat McAfee, Matt Overton
Even. It’s the same squad with McAfee kicking like a pro-bowler and Vinatieri still has life in his leg.
On paper, the team looks better in ever facet than the 2012 team which bodes well for their 2013 outlook. However, we have yet to see them play on the field yet and in less than 24 hours, we will see what this team is made of.