Following a promising year in which they finished 11-5 and gave the Buffalo Bills a run for their money on the road in the first round of the playoffs, the Indianapolis Colts were rightfully faced with lofty expectations entering the offseason.
Unfortunately for fans, however, GM Chris Ballard and the rest of the front office haven’t come close to living up to that pressure.
While we’re expecting the offense, assuming the left tackle dilemma is sorted out, to be just fine, the same cannot be said for the defense.
Thus far, the Colts’ defense has sustained a number of key losses, the most notable of which include edge rusher Denico Autry and linebacker Anthony Walker (with potentially more to come), but they’ve also failed to welcome any top-level newcomers.
Though star tandem Darius Leonard and DeForest Buckner can be expected to carry the front seven despite the lack of reinforcements, the real concern lies in the secondary, which wasn’t exactly a world-beater last season to begin with.
In fact, we’d go as far as to say that Indy’s current collection of cornerbacks are nowhere near good enough to stop some of the league’s most potent passing attacks. That might not be what fans want to hear at this stage, but it’s the truth.
The Colts need to upgrade at the cornerback position in a big way.
While the Colts have solid depth at cornerback in the form of Xavier Rhodes, Rock Ya-Sin and Kenny Moore, it’s terrifying to think how they’re going to manage in next season’s daunting schedule, which includes fixtures against the Buccaneers, Seahawks, Bills, Rams, Ravens, Titans and Cardinals, all of whom boast above-average to elite quarterback play.
Let’s not forget that Indianapolis’ secondary struggled defending the pass last season, and they had one of the softest schedules of any team in the NFL. For context, they ranked 20th in yards allowed per game (241.6) compared to ranking second against the run with 90.5 yards per game.
What exactly does that tell you? While Rhodes proved last season that he’s still capable of shutting down an opposing star wideout, Ya-Sin’s struggles in coverage were a major cause for concern, as he tallied an egregious 48.2 grade from Pro Football Focus.
That’s about as bad as it gets for a starting cornerback and you better believe the Colts will have the 2019 second-rounder on a short leash if his inconsistency persists.
We’re not saying that re-signing free agent TJ Carrie, who’s visiting with Buffalo this week and always seemed to come up with a big play last season, would fix all of Indianapolis’ problems, but we’d certainly feel a lot better about the cornerback situation if he was brought back.
Luckily for the Colts, there are still some quality options braving the free agent waters. Given that they’ll likely spend their first two draft picks on a left tackle and pass rusher, they should seriously consider adding another seasoned veteran to their uninspiring cornerback mix.