Regarding Wentz, with the way this team is built we don't need him to be great just efficient. Top 5 running game, top 10 defense all we need is him to play to the level of a top 15 qb, which is not a lot to ask honestly. He has MVP capabilities with the right supporting cast so I trust Coach Reich in rectifying any mechanical flaws he may have. We dont need an MVP qb to win in Indy but we do need him to be in the top 15. That will be the telling tale of our season is if we have a top 15 qb.
At the end of the day it comes down to if the team is better. And @CR91 and others hit it on the head w identifying Wentz as really the centerpiece here.
- Our RBs are the same and should maybe be a tick better as Taylor continues to progress and as we get anything out of Mack this season compared to being without him last year.
- Our OL basically will be the same with some significant depth improvement. Reed is a huge huge improvement at OG if we have a need to play him. Pinter will be another year in and hopefully another year better. OT depth w Tevi and Davenport to add to Holden is way better. So really it comes down to how close to vintage Fisher we get and when. But it is a current concern.
- Our TE room is basically the same w hopefully some more chances for Allie-Cox (which would be an improvement w his ceiling) and replacing Burton who we got nothing out of w the speed and shiftiness of Granson. I think thats a slight upgrade.
- WR room is the same. Hilton cannot be utilized much less than he was last year. He should be a bit better at a minimum, especially w us able to throw downfield more. Pittman is a year more polished. Campbell is the big thing here. People that complained in the media or fan-wise about the Colts not doing much at WR seem to forget we are basically adding a talent in Campbell that would be right up there w top market assets if he can just stay on the field. Basically this group should be slightly better than last year just w depth improvements at the bottom of the roster and the better utilization of Hilton and could be a huge improvement if Campbell manages to stay on the field for the first time.
- QB all comes down to which Wentz we get. 2017 Wentz and its a grand slam. 2018 or 2019 Wentz and it is still a home run as a top-half of the league QB. 2020 Wentz and it is a strikeout.
Secondary remains pretty much the same with Tell coming back, Davis and Davis added for depth. The loss at DB coach is the biggest loss here. But likely we are around the same.
LB again remains almost the same. Walker out hurts the depth and the leadership but it is time for Okereke to get more time and to step up. It could be addition by subtraction but for the leadership alone I'll say we got slightly worse here,
DL is the mystery. Are the additions in Paye and Dayo better than the losses in Houston and Autry? Will a hopefully healthy Turay be better than the loss of one? Will Lewis finally reach his potential w more playing time in the Autry role? Can Banogu show anything? My gut says the DL got better. But they have to produce. it is time for the young bucks to put up or shut up.
At the end of the day my net sum makes me feel like the Defense is around the same with the DL dictating if we got better or worse. We invested in the DL to get better. Now they either show it or its a loss.
Offensively we are weaker at LT until Fisher is healthy. But we are better prepared to handle it than last year. And Campbell really could make a huge huge difference for the offense. It obviously comes down to Wentz. My gut says we are actually better offensively but that we will have some rocky times with Wentz's propensity to fumble and leave our defense on a short field.
I think the real challenge here is that most people see the Chiefs, Browns and Bills as being clearly better. Maybe the Ravens too. So if the Colts aren't "definitely" better than it looks like we lost ground.
But today I feel a lot better than i did yesterday before we had at least the option of Fisher at some point to help on the blindside.
Our D was really overrated last year though. Our ranks dropped like a lead balloon as our SoS increased late in the season. We ended the year ranked very average (15th-ish) in D efficiency. And that's with the 30th ranked SoS.....
Browns have assembled a really good team. I still think the Ravens are the team to beat. I do think teams have figured them out offensively though. Pitt IMO will be good, but they are declining. Miami has a very solid team right now, it just all rest on how Tua does. Pats totally retooled by all the moves they made. Their QB situation will be interesting to watch. Jets had a great draft. Chargers are on the rise too.
Outside of KC, Balt, and the Bills, could see a lot of quality teams in the AFC making a push. KC is still the only tier 1 team though IMO.