Hello Everyone!! I'm back again with one of my personal favorites for the second year in a row. Here is a quick link to last seasons edition:
Much like last season, many people are underselling the Colts. After back to back 8-8 seasons, many are saying that the Colts are the third best team in the division, which is outrageous to true Colts fans such as myself. In my honest opinion, we are still the best team in the division overall, and I feel that this offseason we even pulled away from the pack a little bit. So without further ado, I present to you the 2017-18 edition of "5 Reasons to Believe the Colts Can Make the Super Bowl!"
1) Outstanding Draft in Year 1 With Ballard
I am absolutely stunned as to how meticulously and perfectly executed a plan in this draft. Hooker and Wilson are immediate starters and will upgrade our pass defense tremendously. Basham should also contribute quickly in the pass rush rotation, and Mack will add the juice to our backfield that we haven't seen in a long while. A couple mammoths of men also came our way in Stewart and Banner, and each has the talent to become a talented back-up at their respective positions. Nate Hairston has a shot to rotate with Darius Butler in slot duties out of the gates, and the talent to win that position as well. And last but not least, Anthony Walker has all the tools to become the leader of our LB core, and if healthy, I would have considered him at least a second round pick. In full, the Colts picked up 4 instant-impact players in the draft, something that is almost unheard of, especially not from a first year GM. Ballard absolutely dominated this draft, and I can't wait to see what he does next season!
2) O-line Improvement
This one goes out to all the people out there who said the Colts should have taken an offensive lineman round 1. Sure, at the beginning of the season, our pass protection was laughable. But looking at the last 7 games of this past season, Luck was only sacked more than twice in one of those. The only explanation for that is that the O-line is beginning to mesh. It has been noted before that one of the major reasons for Luck's bloated sack totals is that he holds the ball in the pocket much longer than many QBs. Rewatching those 6 of the 7 finally games last season, though, Luck had plenty of time even after releasing the ball on most plays. In conclusion, our left side will be solid, if not great. The right side, which is where everyone wants a new player in the mix, has the potential to be even better than the left, if the meshing continues well. Please don't sleep on our line.
3) Wait, We Were Actually Active in Free Agency?!?
As a Colts fan, that's virtually unheard of. We are a team known for holding back during the free agency period and signing second tier guys later. This season, Ballard threw us in the exact opposite direction, going after almost every big name free agent out there. We even grabbed one in Jonathan Hankins! Our defense was very, VERY much improved in the offseason, as we got younger, faster, and more talented everywhere! Take for example Vontae Davis now being in the league the second longest of our defensive players, and he's just 28! I'm excited to see where the next season takes us. I fully believe in the possibility of Big Hank's quote coming true: “Right now I feel like we got probably the best defense in the AFC. On paper, it looks good, but we’ve got to go out there and prove it.”
4) Pagano's Prove-It Year
Everyone knows that both players and coaches step up their game in a prove-it year, hoping to get more money and more opportunities. If Chuck follows this "policy", then we should do pretty darn well this year. There isn't much more to say about this topic, so I'm going to move on to my favorite.
5) (Once Again) Our Division
I had this as a topic last season, and it still applies in my eyes. I don't think our division in the cellar of the league anymore, but none of the other AFC South teams can push for 11 wins, which the Colts got to consistently for 3 years in a row to start Luck's career. To win this division, I believe we only need to win 10 games. The Titan's look dangerous on offense, but they still have mainly a ground-and-pound approach, which is why Hankins is here. Their defense is still quite leaky, so we should have no issue putting points on the board. The Texans have a rookie QB and a horrendous offensive line like us, so Watson isn't going to be anything special right out of the gates. Yes, their defense is good, but they did lose Bouye, so the CB position could be vulnerable. The Jaguars had another great offseason, but when they had a good one last season, they won LESS games than the previous season. Let's just say I'm not worried about them.
Thanks for reading the second edition of this annual series! I really enjoyed writing this, and had many more reasons that I had trouble cutting out, but thank you all for the support! See you all at Super Bowl LII !!!!