Ever the optimist, I let my hopes get a little high this year. After watching the preseason and looking at the schedule, I felt that 8-9 wins was entirely possible. The loss to Jacksonville took away one of those wins, and couple that with the way the team has played the first few weeks and it looks like 6 wins could even be a little optimistic at this point. But I’m not ready to give up hope yet.
But I do have to look at the team for what our strengths and weaknesses are. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of strengths right now. We have Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis – who have shown up consistently game in and game out. We have Donnie Avery, who many may not have seen as a strength heading into the season, but I believe has shown that he has the speed and the hands to be a #1 or solid #2 wide receiver. We have Donald Brown who is not a premier back, but looks to have the speed right now to make something happen if he can just get a little running room. And we have Powers who could make something happen on defense if the rest of the defense would step up.
There are almost too many weaknesses to list: inconsistent offensive line, less than impressive defensive line, inconsistent pass rush, no depth in defensive backfield, rookies all over the field on offense including Andrew Luck. There, I said it. Andrew Luck is a weakness – at least right now. I don’t think he has quite adjusted to the speed of the NFL yet and it is showing up in underthrowing his receivers and inconsistent play. It probably doesn’t help any that it is a brand new offense for everyone and that he only has 2-3 veterans on offense that can even help him out.
Fixing these weaknesses could take some time. Offensively, Luck and the rest of the team should improve as the season goes on, barring any significant injuries. But it probably won’t make a significant difference until next year. Defensively, about the only position I feel good about right now are the middle linebackers, and even they are young and mistake prone. I like our outside linebackers too, but not enough depth behind Freeney and Mathis. We still need bigger, stronger guys up front for the 3-4 – and that won’t happen this year. We still need bigger, faster defensive backs – and that won’t happen this year. In fact, with all of the needs in the defense, it could still take a couple of years to really grow into a solid 3-4 defense.
Nevertheless I will still be cheering for my Colts, expecting solid play from my young team, and hoping for a victory each and every week. So even with the Packers coming to town in a week and a half I will not be sitting on my hands. Let’s go 12th man, let’s show them what we’ve got.