It’s early in the offseason but people are already predicting that the Indianapolis Colts will be bad next season. Are they wrong to think that?
The NFL has made it through its first week of free agency and the Indianapolis Colts have been relatively active. Indy has released Matt Ryan, traded Stephon Gilmore, re-signed some depth players, and added guys like Samson Ebukam, Taven Bryan, Gardner Minshew, and Matt Gay. Naturally, after the first wave of free agency moves, teams and their individual moves are graded.
Seth Walder and several NFL analysts from ESPN took on the task of grading the moves across the league. For the Colts, a lot of their moves were graded in the B-range, however, the actual grade wasn’t the biggest takeaway. Multiple times throughout the article, Walder made sense of the Colts’ moves by saying, “They aren’t going to be good in 2023.”
Walder mentioned this multiple times, matter-of-factly at that. Is Walder right? Is Indianapolis just staring down another embarrassing season? Should fans be preparing to be as disappointed in 2023 as they were doing the 2022 season?
What are the expectations for the Colts in 2023?
Indianapolis is coming off a 4-12-1 season. Indy has a new head coach and the fourth-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft for a reason. The team doesn’t have a starting quarterback, they have a bad offensive line, and they just traded one of their best players from this past season. Add in the fact that the Colts will likely be starting a rookie quarterback and it’s not necessarily disrespectful to say that Indy will be bad this coming season.
However, it’s also not foolish to think that Indianapolis could be competitive in 2023 either. Even with all of the aforementioned struggles, the Colts aren’t really far from being a competitive team. Of course, almost doesn’t count in sports, but just looking back at the results form this past season, and Indy was only a few plays from having an around-500 record. Many of the games came down to the last few minutes and the Colts played some really good teams down to the wire.
That was with the offensive line being as bad as it was, Jonathan Taylor and Shaq Leonard both being injured, and Indianapolis playing through multiple head coaches. The record doesn’t show it but the Colts were a competitive team in almost all of their games. If they were competitive under last year’s circumstances, it’s not unrealistic to think that they Indy will have a competitive record after an offseason where the team can heal and make improvements.
Additionally, Indianapolis is in the AFC South. The Jacksonville Jaguars won the division last season with a 9-8 record. The Tennessee Titans look like they’re imploding and the Houston Texans are in the middle of a rebuild. So if there was a division for a team to make a quick turnaround, the AFC South seems like the best one.
Ultimately, with the star players that the Colts do have on the roster, and the way they performed in moments over the last two seasons, there’s no guarantee that Indy will be a bad team next season. Is it possible. Sure, but the moves made over the course of the rest of the offseason should provide a better idea of what expectations should be for Indy heading into next season.