Frank Reichs head coaching debut was impressive last year as he led the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs for the first time since 2014, and whats even more remarkable is his team did that after suffering an embarrassing 1-5 start to their season.
Quarterback Andrew Luck is healthy again and his run to the postseason certainly blew off any rust that had accumulated after missing the entire 2017 season after requiring surgery to fix an issue with his right (throwing) arm.
The Colts continue to be no joke, and with a handful of draft picks and some key free agent additions to their offseason roster, general manager Chris Ballards third season in charge looks to be a good one for Indianapolis, and we check out some of the teams latest moves and the odds and predictions of their 2019 season.
If you are interested in following other NFL teams and their biggest offseason moves, we have also covered: Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, New-Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams and the Cleveland Browns.
Last season the Indianapolis Colts came oh so close but no cigar, as they say, posting a record of 10-6 in the regular season after winning an incredible nine-out-of-ten game to end the season, which earned them a Wild Card spot in the playoffs.
With an offense ranked 7th in the league and a defense ranked 11th, the postseason Colts beat the Houston Texans 21-7 in the Wild Card game, but got spanked by the to Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional playoffs 13-31.
Under Reichs leadership, the Colts went from a 4-12 record in 2017 to playing in the playoffs for the first time in almost half a decade, but the true victory was having Luck back under center after it seemed questionable that hed ever be capable of playing at his previous level again.
Throughout his successful 2016 season, issues with Lucks throwing shoulder that had been lingering since 2015 kept bothering him, so after the season ended he underwent surgery to repair it.
At first, it was thought that Luck would only have to miss a few games, but by November it was obvious he wasnt healthy enough to play for the rest of the season and so he was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of 2017.
Luck traveled to Europe to seek additional treatment from specialists and then spent most of his time going through rehab in Los Angeles with a throwing coach until it was determined that his shoulder would not require any more surgery.
Shockingly excellent, and only shocking until you remember that its the incredible Andrew Luck were talking about.
For instance, in 2016 with lingering shoulder issues that would eventually require surgery, Luck threw 346 completions for 4,240 yards and 31 touchdowns with 13 interceptions, the eighth most productive quarterback in the league that year.
And last season, despite missing all of 2017 and only being able to throw a smaller football during the offseason, Luck completed 430-of-639 passes for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns with 15 interceptions.
Luck has proven he is not only tough, but hes also resilient, so imagine what he will do in 2019 when hes not battling an injury or physical rehab.
With more than $100 million available in cap space, you would think that the Colts would jump all over some big free agent names, but it turns out thats not how Ballard likes to roll.
The Colts third-year GM prefers to grab young, inexpensive talent from the draft and extend the contracts of those players who are already on the roster, which hes done (see below).
Of course, Ballards a businessman, so if a right free agency fit comes along, hes told the media that he has no problem doing the deal.
So far, Ballard has managed to resign all of the potential free agents on his roster, keeping the magic from last season alive.
Add to that whomever he snags from the draft and you can see why Colts fans are excited about 2019s potential.
Defensive end Geneo Grissom was signed by the Colts, the amount of his contract has yet to be released;
Cornerback Pierre Desir signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract which includes $750,000 guaranteed;
Safety Clayton Geathers signed a one-year deal worth $2.75 million with $1.25 million guaranteed.
Defensive end Justin Houston, signed to a two-year, $24 million contract after his previous team, the Kansas City Chiefs, were unable to trade him;
Wide receiver Devin Funchess, signed for a one-year, $20 million deal with $7 million of that guaranteed;
Safety Isaiah Johnson was signed for a one-year deal worth $645,000, all of that guaranteed.
The Colts have 9 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and they are:
Over the last decade, the Indianapolis Colts have gone to the postseason more often than not, having January games in six of those ten seasons, including one Super Bowl appearance in 2009.
The Colts lost that particular Big Game Super Bowl XLIV to the New Orleans Saints 17-31, but they have won two Lombardi Trophies in their entire history, the first one being in 1970 when they beat the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 at Super Bowl V, and the second one in 2006, Super Bowl XLI, where the Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17.
In the other five of the Colts postseason appearances since 2009, they lost in the Wild Card game twice, the Divisional round twice and the Conference Championship once in 2014 to the New England Patriots by a score of 7-45.
Chances are the Colts wont be able to sneak into the 2019 playoffs with a 10-6 record like they did last season since the rest of the AFC has moved up a notch, especially in the AFC North where the Cleveland Browns look ready to make a playoff run.
But with a fully recovered Luck under center and Hilton and Funchess along with soft handed tight end Eric Ebron pulling down pinpoint passes, the Colts running game, ranked 20th last season, is where attention now needs to be paid.
Third-year running back Marlon Mack will lead the 2019 Colts rushing attack after posting 1,011 yards from scrimmage off 212 touches and 10 touchdowns, averaging 4.8 yards per touch.
According to the oddsmakers, the 2019-20 Indianapolis Colts have the exact same chance to win the Super Bowl next season as the Cleveland Browns do, and thats actually a good thing nowadays, given the recent move by Odell Beckham Jr. to Baker Mayfields city.
Predicted to become the 2019 AFC South champions, it will be up to Luck and his youthful companions to figure out how to get past all the crazy new competition now popping up in the AFC, including the New England Patriots, the Kansas City Chiefs and the aforementioned Browns.
The Colts will face a difficult schedule in 2019, so theyll have to get off to a quicker start than the 1-4 record that began their 2018.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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