NFL franchises are finishing their mini-camp sessions before taking their final offseason break, then the 2021 season officially begins with the start of training camp. Until then, football fans will have to bide their time on speculating who are the “faces” of their favorite teams. For the Indianapolis Colts, the candidates are a quarterback looking for redemption, a young wideout who is ready to leap into stardom, and one of the defensive stalwarts in all of football.
2021 Indianapolis Colts: Faces of the Team
Carson Wentz, Quarterback
After a disappointing 2020 season with the Philadelphia Eagles, Carson Wentz has re-surfaced with a great surrounding cast in Indy. No longer does the success of the offense rest solely on his shoulders. Having T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, Michael Pittman, and Jack Doyle as receiving options will help Wentz to play to his strengths as a quarterback. If he can regain the confidence in throwing the football once again, Wentz could put up big passing numbers for the Colts in 2021.
Yes, you can expect some skeptics to the notion that Wentz can turn his career around. Their reasoning is how disastrous 2020 was for him. Wentz posted career lows in passing yards (2,620), completion percentage (57.4 percent), tied his career-low in touchdown passes (16), and threw the most interceptions (15) in his five-year career. How will this rebound occur? Well, Wentz will gain better protection in the pocket by playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Plus, the Colts have a better ground attack than his prior employer, which should provide more balance to the offense.
Everyone loves a comeback story, and you might have one in Wentz this season. If he can regain proficiency in throwing the football, then the Colts could become the favorites to win the AFC South.
Michael Pittman, Wide Receiver
Some Colts fans believe Michael Pittman should have been utilized more in the passing game last season. Still, he did record 40 receptions for 503 yards and one touchdown. Pittman’s lack of touches was a combination of being a rookie and having to gain the trust of a veteran quarterback, Philip Rivers. But he quickly became a solid contributor because of his ability to create space from defenders, great hands to catch the football in heavy traffic, and running precision pass routes like a veteran wideout.
However, 2021 brings a new starting quarterback into the fold. Yes, it will take some time for chemistry to develop between Carson Wentz and Pittman. But his production should increase as Pittman is terrific at gaining extra yards after the catch because of his physicality in running through defenders. No question, Pittman is ready to seize the opportunity and become the main target in the Colts passing game.
Darius Leonard, Linebacker
Darius Leonard possesses every skill needed to be recognized as one of the best linebackers in the NFL. He is a tackling machine, constantly pressures the quarterback, creates turnovers, and covers potential receivers downfield. Leonard has the power and speed to determine the outcome of most games played. But more importantly, he is the leader of the Colts defense. It is hard to imagine what Leonard has accomplished heading into his fourth NFL season.
His name should garner more attention as he is playing on a true playoff contender. Especially with the star power (DeForest Buckner) found on the Colts front seven. It affords him to freelance and makes an impact in an opponent’s backfield. From a production standpoint, Leonard’s sacks and interception totals should continue to soar in 2021. He has blossomed into an elite defender and the stage is set for the Colts defense to make waves next season.
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