The Indianapolis Colts Need To Look Ahead To 2018
Their 2-5 record might say otherwise, but if it does, it betrays just how badly the Indianapolis Colts have played this season.
The 27-0 loss by the Indianapolis Colts to the Jacksonville Jaguars — at home, no less — is beyond embarrassing. Regardless of the fact that the Colts are playing a backup quarterback, starting behind an offensive line that’s starting backups in four of the five spots along said line, they look abysmal. No team in the NFL is going to provide a single bit of sympathy for the Colts’ injury issues, especially given how we’ve seen some of the league’s biggest stars being felled by catastrophic injuries this season.
The Colts are now 28th in the NFL in passing offense, 21st in rushing offense, 31st in passing defense, 26th in rushing defense, and dead last in the NFL in most points allowed per game; they’re the only team in the NFL allowing opposing teams to score an average of more than 31 points every week. If it weren’t for the horrific situation that the Cleveland Browns find themselves in right now, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano would be the leader in the clubhouse for the first head coach to be fired this season.
Regardless of injuries, this roster been so horrifically mismanaged in recent years that the great Vince Lombardi himself would have trouble coaxing this team to more than six or seven wins. Among the 22 starting spots all over this team, there are no more than five other players who would start on teams with legitimate postseason aspirations: quarterback Andrew Luck, wide receiver TY Hilton, center Ryan Kelly, defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins, and cornerback Vontae Davis. In other words, Indianapolis has below-average talent across 75% of its roster.
After the latest setback in his recovery process, there’s a very real possibility that Luck doesn’t return to the team this season. Assuming that’s the case, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Colts end up with the one of the worst records in the NFL this year. If the Colts ended up with the #1 or #2 pick in the QB-heavy 2018 NFL Draft, it would give them the leverage to demand a boatload of draft picks, in exchange for their draft pick (since they should — and will — remain committed to Luck). Colts General Manager Chris Ballard is an old school, build-through-the-draft type, and a disciple in the Ron Wolf tree of personnel management. In other words, he’s instilled with the same modus operandi as Ted Thompson in Green Bay, John Schneider in Seattle, and Scot McCloughan (who ran the Washington Redskins until this past offseason): 95% of the team should be built through the draft, with free agent acquisitions only sprinkled in as needed. That would give them the sorely needed picks that they need to totally rebuild this team.
Pagano is definitely a goner, whether it’s sooner rather than later. Assuming Luck is able to get another few months of recovery and head into 2018 with a clean bill of health, the fact that the team has a franchise quarterback in place, and a respected personnel guy running the show, makes this one of the more attractive coaching jobs.
But that’s far from the case as this team stands right now.