3. The pass defense will be fixed
Regardless of the Colts’ struggles on offense, the defense also struggled. That can only be attributed to one thing: the pass defense. The team ranked 23rd in pass yards allowed per game with 248.9 and total passing yards allowed with 3,982 (ESPN).
On the other hand, the rush defense was one of the best in the league. They ranked 7th in rushing yards allowed per game with 97.9 (one of only eight teams to allow under 100 per game) and total rushing yards allowed with 1,567 (ESPN).
The rush defense ranks higher than eight of the twelve playoff teams from this past year. The sub par play from the pass defense is mainly due to the youth in the secondary and building it through the draft, something that Frank Reich and the front office staff stressed.
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Young players like Malik Hooker and Rock Ya-Sin have shown flashes of great potential through their first seasons (see Malik Hooker’s one-handed interception in Week 1), but overall, the group underperformed and struggled to find a rhythm throughout the season. Safety Khari Willis played a few games of great football before succumbing to injuries and the IR.
The only mainstay for the secondary was slot cornerback Kenny Moore II, who has displayed traits of being one of the best slot corners in the game before his injury and move to Injured Reserve (see the trend?). It is an offseason must for the Colts to find a consistent and reliable outside cornerback. Hooker and Willis also are in much need of jelling; the two struggled to play well opposite each other during many stretches of the season.
*Honorable Mention: I’m Sorry, Adam*
As much as everyone doesn’t want to see Adam Vinatieri leave the Colts, this offseason might just be the time. The Colts have found a trustworthy young kicker in Chase McLaughlin who played well enough to all but retain the starting job going into next season.
Vinatieri ranked an abysmal 37th in field goal percentage with 68 percent and an even worse 42nd in extra point percentage with 78.6 percent. This was the major catalyst in the special teams unit ranking 32nd of 32nd. Vinatieri, if he doesn’t retire, he’ll have to put in an impressive case to beat McLaughlin for the starting job next season.
These are all things the Colts must do if they want to return to the playoffs in 2020. If they aren’t done properly, expect another average season.