We are just past the midway point of the Indianapolis Colts season and Indy sits at 5-5, which is good enough for eighth in the AFC. The Colts are still on the outside looking in for a playoff spot, but they are firmly in the hunt. Let’s make some bold predictions for the final seven weeks of the 2023 Colts season.
5. Gardner Minshew will play at a Pro Bowl level
We have seen a roller coaster of a season for Gardner Minshew from fill-in to now full-time starter after the season-ending shoulder injury to Anthony Richardson. After a strong start to the season, we saw some adversity with him when the turnovers piled up and now, he isn’t putting up strong numbers but the turnovers have decreased, and he has led us to two consecutive wins heading into the bye week.
The bye week might be just what is needed for Minshew. Look for Shane Steichen and the offensive staff to really dig into his strengths to help the Colts make a playoff run as Minshew realizes he has an opportunity to audition for a starting job next season. Whether that be full time or as a bridge quarterback for another team.
4. Shaquille Leonard will not play up to his contract
Listen, I’m rooting for Shaq Leonard. I really am but when you publicly call out the coaching staff for the reduced role and then not deliver those next two weeks, it’s hard to fight for you anymore. Leonard was once a superstar in this league, and still could be, but no one will know when. Whether its something off the field affecting Shaq, or, as we sometimes see with high level athletes, they play and compete at such a high level for an extended period and their bodies begin to break down and they are never the same.
In my opinion, that’s what we are seeing here with Leonard. He just has not been the same since his injury plagued 2022 season. He signed a five-year contract worth nearly $100 Million dollars in August of 2021. With the decreased production and injuries, the Colts have an option to cut him next season and only incur an $8 Million-dollar dead cap hit. Can you warrant paying a player that much money with his decreased production with his counterpart Zaire Franklin making far less money and producing better results? Would that extra money be better spent on the extensions of Michael Pittman Jr., Kenny Moore II and Grover Stewart? I think that answer is simple.