The Indianapolis Colts have a lot to prove in 2016. Last season, the team missed the playoffs. Quarterback Andrew Luck missed much of the 2016 season with a lacerated spleen. Wide receiver Andre Johnson, who came to the team after being the Houston Texans‘ all-time leading receiver, was a disappointment in Indy, catching only four touchdowns. He is now a free agent.
The Indianapolis Colts’ Time is Now
Running back Frank Gore also came to Indy after a great run with the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately, he only rushed for 967 yards and six touchdowns in 2015. Gore rushed for over 1,000 yards in all but three seasons in San Fran. Hopefully, 2015 was just an off year for him and he comes back with another 1,000-yard rushing season.
The Colts leading receiver, T.Y. Hilton, only caught five touchdowns himself in 2015. The 1,124 receiving yards was the second best of his career. He can do better than that, however. He has great skill and is capable of breaking out with Luck throwing to him.
There will be another key improvement to the Colts, as well. Owner Jim Irsay announced back in April that former University of Miami wide receiver Phillip Dorsett will see a lot more playing time in 2016. Dorsett, who was drafted with the 29th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, caught just 18 passes for 225 yards and one lone touchdown in his rookie season. He also missed over a month with injury. He suffered an ankle injury in the Colts’ Week 7 loss to the New Orleans Saints. With Luck throwing to him, expect him to get more targets. The more targets he gets, the higher his numbers will get. Most of his playing time came in the season finale, when he played 57 snaps. If he had stayed healthy, he would have averaged 26 receptions for 327 yards. Had both him and Luck been healthy all season, those numbers could have easily gone up and Dorsett could have been the team’s leading receiver.
Luck is the biggest key to this team. There is a reason that the Colts signed him to a six-year, $140 million deal with $87 million guaranteed. He has led the Colts to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons, advancing one game further each season. Had he not missed a significant amount of time last season, the Colts might have made the playoffs with Johnson, Hilton, and Dorsett seeing more action.
Another point that shows that Luck returning is huge for the Colts is how he played in 2015. He helped the team overcome an 18-point deficit against the Carolina Panthers and helped knock off Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. With veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck under center, the Colts got dominated by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars. Luck to the Colts is like Tony Romo to the Dallas Cowboys. Without him, the team’s chances of winning plummet.
There are no more excuses for any of these players. They have all proven that they can be great, and now that they’re together, they need to work together to make the Colts a great team once more.