The Indianapolis Colts are back in town for voluntary workouts and are under two weeks away from the NFL Draft.
The Colts have, for the most part, returned to their complex on West 56th Street for voluntary workouts. It is the first time they’re back in the building since the season ended in early January. The team has had a lot of turnover since they met this time a year ago.
More from Horseshoe Heroes
- Colts explored hiring former quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky
- When is the NFL Combine 2023? NFL Combine schedule, events, how to stream
- Latest NFL mock draft has Colts trading up to No. 1 for star QB
- Eagles offensive free agents that could follow Shane Steichen to Colts
- Here’s why Colts linebacker Shaq Leonard is going to love Shane Steichen
There are a few new faces in the building, and some that have left the team. After making it rain in free agency last year, the Colts have been almost painfully quiet this offseason. They’ve watched every team in the AFC South make big moves in an effort to get better and close the gap. But the simple fact of the matter is that if Andrew Luck is healthy all year, Indy is still the team to beat.
Even though this team seems to be going through a mini-rebuilding phase (or perhaps just some fine tuning) the expectations haven’t changed. After hearing from some of the players and GM Ryan Grigson, it is clear that while there is less pressure this team still expects to compete in the AFC and their ultimate goal is a Super Bowl championship.
Here’s what fans should be watching for during the early days of these offseason workouts:
- Coaching changes. Despite preaching continuity after retaining Chuck Pagano and Grigson (for better or worse), the staff was largely gutted. A new offensive and defensive coordinator will mean changes to how both of those units operate and what schemes the team will use. The defensive packages are far less important than what this new offense is going to look like.
- Will the Colts keep preaching run the ball when all their personnel screams spread offense? Probably. Pagano has preached this since day one. It is why their offense has gone from spread, vertical attacks one minute and then switches to a power run formation the next. This team desperately needs to find something they do exceptionally well and then hammer opponents with that facet. In 2014, it was passing. They still have the personnel to be a run heavy team and as long as Luck is under center, shouldn’t be a run oriented team.
- Luck’s development. This team is only going to go as far as Luck lets them. He has to learn to protect himself not only when he scrambles (learn to slide, avoid contact) but also in the pocket (get the ball out quicker). Tony Dungy said his first task when taking over the Colts was to convince Peyton Manning it was OK to punt, that is something Pagano has to do with Luck. Yes, the offense needs to score but Luck needs to learn some patience and know when it is alright to throw the ball away and live to fight another day (or series).
- New roles. A few second year players are going to have the inside track on starting position.
- Clayton Geathers is will start at safety next to Mike Adams this season. At time we saw flashes of a tenacious run stuffer who played a bit like Bob Sanders. He needs to improve his coverage skills, but considering how much the team schemed to get him on the field last year it seems obvious he’ll be an impact player in 2016.
- Denzelle Good has been talked about a lot this offseason by both Grigson and Pagano. In his press conference this week, Grigson noted that he needed to talk with Pagano about where Good stands and if he could start at guard or tackle this year. If that’s the case, the Colts offensive line needs become less pressing and they won’t be pressured to draft a lineman in the first round (not that they feel that way regardless).
- Healing players. Luck will be good to go this year (despite what he might say), but he’s hardly the only player who missed games last year. Defensive tackle Henry Anderson was having a Defensive Rookie of the Year caliber season before he tore his ACL. By all accounts the Colts will bring him back slowly and he might not be ready to go by camp in July. Running back Tyler Varga looked like someone who might push for snaps until a nasty concussion ended his year. Donte Moncrief and Vontae Davis both had foot surgeries that aren’t expected to be long term issues, but certainly bear watching. The Colts might finally get Art Jones on the field as well after two years of ankle injuries have kept him sidelined.
- Draft approach. Grigson discussed how the Colts will attack the draft this year this week, stating they have to take the best player available and doing otherwise defeats all the scouting work the team has already done. The Colts have enough positions to either fill or upgrade that this strategy will be perfect (as long as it’s not a wide receiver). Hopefully the recent trades in the draft mean that a pass rusher will drop to the Colts, or perhaps an inside linebacker with coverage skills.
We’ll be covering the Colts tightly this week, so make sure to stay tuned to Horseshoe Heroes for more.