Grades for Colts offense entering Week 5
A slow start to the season for everyone not named Micheal Pittman Jr. Josh Downs has been pretty good but nothing huge out of the slot. Alec Pierce has been a complete non-factor and the vertical passing game has struggled. Isaiah McKenzie has also been a non-factor with his contributions coming in special teams. Pittman continues to be the reliable and dependable force in the wide receiver room, and he is in a contract year and he is earning every dollar of his future extension.
The Colts have promoted Amari Rodgers to the active roster and signed former Broncos WR KJ Hamler to the practice squad. Rodgers should take over for Flowers in the return game and Hamler is depth. Indianapolis cannot continue to be reliant on one player (Pittman Jr.) to handle all the duties. Need to get Pierce and Downs more involved going forward to open the playbook even more.
Along with Anthony Richardson, this has been the bright spot for the Colts on offense this year. They have plenty of depth and talent in this room. Kylen Granson has been garnering the bulk of the work and has not disappointed. He is on pace for a career year and has earned the trust of Richardson. Mo Alie-Cox is the veteran leader and Drew Ogletree is showing flashes of talent so far this year. Rookie Will Mallory has only played one game but looked like he can play with some more coaching.
For all the concern coming into the season about the tight ends, this has been a pleasant surprise. With Jelani Woods staying on IR for the time being while overcoming a hamstring injury, it will allow Granson and Ogletree to continue developing. What happens when Woods is ready to return is anyone’s guess, but we might see Mo Alie-Cox on the trade block at the end of the month in preparation for his return.
Another big question mark coming into this season was whether the offensive line was truly regressing or was it a coaching problem last year. It appears it was the latter as we have seen some definite improvement. Bernhard Raimann has shown he could be the franchise left tackle we have been looking for. He has only allowed four total pressures on 134 pass blocking snaps. Nelson and Kelly are getting back to their All-Pro potential. The right side of Will Fries and Braden Smith have been adequate to start the season.
Injuries have started to plague the offensive line with Raimann and Kelly missing time so far. They did lose Danny Pinter in the preseason with an ankle injury as well. The depth will continue to be tested throughout the year with rookie Blake Freeland and Wesley French covering. The new voice (Tony Sparano Jr.) will need to keep up the intensity and accountability going forward to maximize this unit.