The biggest non-personnel change Colts must make next season
The Indianapolis Colts will also have to make some changes that don’t involve new personnel to improve next season.
Much of the NFL offseason is about personnel changes. Teams move on from players and coaches while acquiring new ones via free agency, trades, and the draft.
That’s been the case for the Indianapolis Colts who have hired a new defensive staff, swapped out quarterbacks, and acquired a top pass rusher. Many would even like to see Indy make more acquisitions.
The moves that have been made should make Indianapolis a better team next season. However, personnel decisions aren’t the only path forward for improvement.
There are some specific on-field things that teams can improve to win more. For the Colts, that is winning close games, something they struggled to do last season.
Colts must be better in close games next season
A lot of Indy’s season has been boiled down to the epic collapse against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18. As embarrassing as the loss was, Indianapolis had plenty of opportunities throughout the year that could’ve prevented a 9-8 record.
Unfortunately, the Colts were just not good at pulling out close games, finishing last year 2-5 in one-score games. That’s a big reason why Indy got off to such a slow start.
Indianapolis lost to the Rams by three in Week 2 and to the Ravens in Week 5 on an overtime touchdown. Indy lost again in overtime in a Week 8 matchup with the Titans.
The other two one-score losses were to the Buccaneers in Week 12 and the Raiders in Week 17.
While these results can definitely be impacted by personnel decisions, Indy wasn’t really losing because of inability, the team was just folding.
Additionally, for as much of the blame that gets pinned on the new quarterback in Washington, a lot of these late-game collapses were the defense’s fault.
Against Baltimore, the Colts were up 22-3 late into the third quarter before ultimately losing 31-25. Against Tampa Bay, Indy had a halftime lead and a tie game with just over three minutes left.
However, the Buccaneers were able to drive the defense for a go-ahead touchdown. Similar to what happened in Week 17 when the Raiders went 60 yards in 10 plays with just two minutes remaining to kick a game-winning field goal.
So as Indianapolis continues to rework its roster, closing out games must also be something that’s worked on during this offseason. Maybe the addition of an elite pass rusher will help with that or maybe the new defensive coaching staff will have a different late-game approach.
Either way, the Colts must dig deep and figure out whatever the problem is because if they can’t win close games, they’ll have a really tough time trying to win a championship.