The Colts’ 2021 season is sadly over before it even began

Jul 28, 2021; Westfield, IN, United States; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) at Grand Park. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2021; Westfield, IN, United States; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) at Grand Park. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

Optimistic Colts fans, simply close this window right now, because it will not get any better from this point forward.

It’s truly incredible how a calculated, strategic offseason plan can turn to dust after a few unfortunate occurrences. That’s what’s happened with the 2021 Indianapolis Colts.

How can you not feel this way? General manager Chris Ballard was tactical with this roster construction every step of the way. Now, the team will be without its starting quarterback (with no viable backup right now!) in Carson Wentz and best offensive lineman in Quenton Nelson to start the season. They also do not have a starting-caliber left tackle until Eric Fisher returns … in October?

Oh, and one more blow for good measure? Star linebacker Darius Leonard is recovering from ankle surgery he underwent in June. Think that won’t affect his timeline to return to the All-Pro-caliber defender he is?

The Colts season is all but officially over … in August. Depressing.

There’s more, though! Starting center Ryan Kelly is out for a few weeks with a hyperextended elbow. The team was dealing with vaccination issues, though the roster just passed the 70% mark. They still need to get to 85% in order to avoid the repercussions of the league’s new COVID-19 guidelines.

There’s still a lot of ground to make up. Yes, the Colts do have good depth on this roster, courtesy of Ballard’s efforts, but can depth weather the storm of this opening schedule?

  • Week 1 vs Seahawks
  • Week 2 vs Rams
  • Week 3 at Titans
  • Week 4 at Dolphins
  • Week 5 at Ravens
  • Week 6 vs Texans
  • Week 7 at 49ers

Indy doesn’t have their bye until Week 14. Typically the later bye weeks are more favorable. Not this time! It couldn’t be a less favorable bye.

On what planet can anybody expect the Colts to weather that storm, even if they do acquire a quarterback they’re more confident in than Jacob Eason, Brett Hundley or Sam Ehlinger? That new signal caller will still have to learn the offense in a few short weeks and develop relationships/rapports with his teammates.

Even when Wentz does return, he’ll be extremely raw. He will have missed most of training camp, all of the preseason, and likely the first month of the season with his new team. That’s valuable time which was supposed to get the former No. 2 overall pick ahead and prepared after a career-worst season in 2020.

Not only that, but foot injuries are especially complicated given the intricate procedures required to repair fractures/ligament tears. There are 26 bones in your foot in addition to 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments! We’re no medical experts here, but that’s a part of the body both Wentz and Nelson will be putting significant pressure on every moment they’re on the field.

Better tear up that best-case scenario five-week timetable for return, because it’s not happening.

Again, the Colts, at this very moment, don’t have a quarterback, the left side of their offensive line, or their defensive captain — all in the germinating stages of the offseason. And these integral players likely won’t be making their return until the campaign is already underway. They also have a fairly suspect secondary and a defensive line that has a lot to prove.

Curse the schedule makers because it’s incredibly difficult to craft a more grueling four-game stretch to open a season. And it’s one the Colts may not be able to survive.