It isn’t a reach to say that the NFL‘s Indianapolis Colts are at a crossroads.
After miraculously advancing to the 2014 AFC Championship despite a badly flawed team where they were obliterated by the New England Patriots in the infamous “Deflategate” game, the Colts have missed the playoffs for two consecutive years now in what could be a prolonged nosedive.
The 45-7 beatdown wasn’t even as close as the score indicated and the team responded with matching 8-8 records in 2015 and 2016. It’s a sad statement when you have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in Andrew Luck and are still unable to win the division title in the lousy AFC South.
Granted that Luck has had his share of injuries which combined with lousy drafting, mediocre coaching and on the field execution by teammates have dragged him down but the Colts organization has failed to give him any help. Not only that, but nearly every move seems to set the offense back from what should be a potent point-scoring machine.
With Luck being the only hope that Indy has, things aren’t looking very cheery as they prepare for their first preseason game of 2017.
Their superstar quarterback has yet to begin throwing after offseason shoulder surgery. Even worse, neither the organization nor Luck have any expectation on when that will happen. As of today, the burden rests on backup Scott Tolzien.
A prolonged loss of Luck’s leadership and skills could doom Indianapolis. It’s not that you can easily replace the production of a guy who threw for 4,240 yards and 31 touchdowns and the Colts may be headed to the glue factory if he remains out of action.
The Indianapolis running game is pretty much aging Frank Gore and a bunch of nobodies. Gore ran for 1,025 yards last year but only 4 touchdowns, he also remains a threat out of the backfield in the passing game but at 34, he has a lot of hard miles on his body. As history has shown, when it goes for running backs in the NFL it often goes quickly.
From a receiving standpoint, the Colts have speedy T.Y. Hilton but little else and then there is the problem of who will be throwing the ball.
The offensive line continues to be a problem, they are going to get Luck killed unless they improve.
Indy did attempt to revamp the defense in the offseason. The team added a number of free agents including former Patriot Jabaal Sheard and used their first three picks to bolster the pass defense but there is nobody that strikes fear into the hearts of opposing quarterbacks.
Ageless wonder Adam Vinatieri returns as kicker.
So, what does it all mean?
Without Andrew Luck this team is probably worse than the Cleveland Browns or New York Jets.
It’s a reach that they will make the playoffs with him but without him, they are a lock for a top five draft pick next year.
This is just a lousy organization in need of a thorough housecleaning.