After five weeks of the 2023 NFL season, the Indianapolis Colts are 3-2, and they’ll have the opportunity to take sole possession of the AFC South lead in Week 6 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Colts have dealt with their fair share of injuries, but still, they’ve found a way to be much better than everyone expected. Now, as the season heats up, Indy is expected to be in the race for the division crown— something the Colts haven’t won since 2014.
While things have been good for Indianapolis, there have been some problems as well; the kind of problems that could limit their ceiling as a team. The biggest of those problems, is Indy’s inability to stop wide receivers. The offense is buzzing, and the defensive front has been solid. The secondary, however, has quickly proven to be the biggest weakness of the team.
Colts must find a way to contain opposing receivers
Entering the season, it was understood that the secondary would go through a lot of growing pains due to the youth and inexperience at corner. Opening the season, second-year corners Dallis Flowers and Darrell Baker Jr. were starting. Baker was benched for rookie JuJu Brents after two games, then Flowers tore his Achilles in Week 4 and was replaced by rookie Jaylon Jones.
Through it all, opposing receivers have feasted against the secondary. In Week 1, Calvin Ridley of the Jacksonville Jaguars had eight receptions for 101 yards and one touchdown. In Week 2, the Houston Texans’ Nico Collins caught seven passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. It was Puka Nacua’s turn in Week 4, catching nine passes for 163 yards and a game-winning touchdown for the Los Angeles Rams. In Week 5, the most recent game, DeAndre Hopkins went off for the Tennessee Titans, catching eight passes for 140 yards.
The Colts have yet to find an answer for opposing team’s top targets. In a league with elite wide receivers everywhere, especially the AFC, the inability to limit them is certainly troublesome. Indy needs to either figure out how they can better contain top receiving targets, or find ways to keep winning in spite of opposing receivers going off.