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Colts Regular Season Surprises


Which position group exceeded your expectations for the regular season the most and why?  

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  1. 1. Which position group exceeded your expectations for the regular season the most and why?



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  • FirsTime changed the title to Colts Regular Season Surprises

Good question.

 

From purely an "exceeded expectations" perspective, it has to be Linebackers for me. 

 

O-line has been great but credit also goes to Luck and the scheme for the success and the high investment in Nelson gave some lofty expectations to start with, whereas the play of the Linebackers has been massively above expectations as I genuinely saw it as our biggest weakness before the season.  Leonard and Walker have been phenomenal.

 

Special mention goes to CB room too though. 

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Despite what most would think we had a decent Dline last year and we added youth and good value free agents. So their performance wasn't that surprising.

 

Also another huge shocker is that our oline last year wasn't terrible either but more a product of the environment around them. So addimg a better playcaller and an all Star guard makes sense they'd be this good.

 

But the linebackers and corners were talent wastelands that supposedly had no hope and now we have an average corner group and a linebacker duo that rivals many of the best duos in the league.  Super surprising.  My vote goes to the linebackers.

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I gotta say the D-Line. The O-line I had hoped would be better based on the draft capital we spent. I don't think anyone could have predicted "how much" better its been, but I think when you spend a 1st and 2nd rounder there improvement "should be expected".  On the other side of the ball Darius Leonard was certainly a surprise, and I am in no way diminishing his fabulous rookie season when I say, that LB efficiency is dictated by good D-Line play. And although the D-line hasn't been stellar, they have dang sure been better than anticipated.  We have had Turay and Lewis make some spot appearances this season, but the D-line has essentially been good runnin' what we brung talent wise, scheme and placement of personnel have been the biggest reason for improvement and that's impressive. Thus why I give them the nod for "exceeding expectations" as O-line I anticipated better, with the Maniac I had no expectation to draw from at the start of the season, and the D-line I expected to get gashed in the run game and fail to penetrate and pressure against the pass (at least consistently)

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Linebackers for me.   I certainly didn't expect them to be this good.

 

The O-line is second for me.  I figured they would be improved with Nelson and Smith added to the mix.   I didn't think they would be one of the best in the league already.  

 

 

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To me, the biggest surprise has been coaching.  It had to be better than the previous regime by default.  Can't really get much worse.  But Reich and co have been sensational.  Yes, they've made mistakes being aggressive, but the chances they took were coaches betting on their team rather than against the other team.  Say what you will about going for it in Houston, but that was the first real gamble Reich took; and if he didn't get it, we were going to be 1-5.  We lost and dropped to 1-5.  Since then, we're 9-1.  I can't say that Reich betting on the Colts was the reason for that, but it sure is curiously coincidental.  

 

Week in and week out this staff is forcing teams to play with their left hand and diminishing the impact of their dominant hand.  Game plans are adjusted and when we hit a plateau, we change it up.  We're the best 3rd down team in the league, we throw in a good mix of plays and teams just haven't been able to pin us down.  Defensively, we're fast, we play fast, and we attack.  Eberflus should get assistant coach of the year and to me, it's not even close.  I hope he sticks around for several years, because he will eventually be poached by a team looking for a new HC.

 

 But where they've really succeeded is making this team better than what it really is.  Going into the season, we had a slew of end of roster WRs outside of TY, a pair of rookie RBs plus a returning situational RB, one good TE option with an incoming FA who's ceiling was 500 yards and a couple of TDs, and bunch of no names everywhere on defense.  On paper, our team really has no business being 10-6.  Yet here we are.  And to boot, fans are talking as though we have a chance to run the rest of the AFC out of the playoffs.  Not a great chance, but even I have been down on the Colts for several years and find myself believing in this team.

 

Then you consider Ballard into the equation.  Ballard's draft class and FA acquisition is Executive of the Year worthy.  I don't want to cave into believing it, but if we're saying the same things about Ballard and Reich at the end of 2019 as we are right now, we have something that is special.  Seriously, that is the implication of an elite level FO with an elite QB.  We're not quite yet there and obviously they've got to prove it.  But it's impossible not to be excited about the direction we're going.

 

 

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