Indianapolis, IN – The NFL season is quickly approaching and the Indianapolis Colts are being considered as one of the top candidates to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl in Santa Clara, CA next February. The main reason the Colts are even in the conversation is because of the offensive weapons they have. Head Coach Chuck Pagano and General Manager Ryan Grigson have taken some chances and drafted some crucial players that they then molded into the number one passing offense and the number three offense overall.
No one can talk about how successful the Colts offense has been without mentioning the engine that drives the machine. Andrew Luck is already one of the best QB’s in the NFL and is only entering his 4th season in the league. When the Colts were without a quarterback in 2011 they had a brutal campaign that led to a 2-14 season. This is what allowed the Colts to draft Luck and they haven’t looked back. Luck threw for career highs in yards (4,761, breaking Peyton Manning’s franchise record), touchdowns (40) and completion percentage (61.7). Like most great things, Luck only gets better with age. Luck has improved every year and every year the weapons around him have gotten more dangerous.
The arsenal around Luck is the most impressive in his four year career. Running back has been the greatest frustration for the Colts as it has been non-existent. It didn’t matter if the Colts used an injury plagued Ahmad Bradshaw or trading away a first round draft pick to get Trent Richardson who continually ran into his lineman or was swallowed up in the backfield. The Colts hope to end an eight year drought of a 1000 yard rusher with veteran running back Frank Gore. Gore has failed to reach the 1000 yard mark only twice in his 10 year career. The last few seasons have even been against a stacked box as opponents weren’t overly concerned about the anemic San Fransisco 49ers passing offense. The Colts don’t have any where near the offensive line the 49ers had but the Colts have offensive balance that will look to spread it out and open some running lanes. Something that Gore can do extremely well is be a receiving back out of the back field. Gore has very soft hands and always seem to find a gap underneath the coverage and be an emergency dump off. With Luck being able to go through his progressions quicker than it takes a normal person to count to three, Gore could find himself with 30-40 catches this year on top of his rushing yards.
While running back has always been a question mark, wide receiver/tight end has always been a strength of the Colts in the Luck era. Players like T.Y. Hilton, Dante Moncrief, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen have allowed the Colts passing game to give defensive coordinators nightmares. On any given night one of these players could explode for 100 yards and a couple touchdowns. If one player was taken away, two more would take his place and have a huge game. However, Luck’s security blanket in Reggie Wayne is no longer with the team but to replace him the Colts signed free agent Andre Johnson. Johnson has put up other worldly numbers for the Houston Texans who have never had a quarterback even close to the caliber of Luck. Giving Luck another Redzone threat and a great route runner only opens up the offense even more.
The Colts simply put have a scary offense. Luck won’t be relied upon to pass for 5000 yards and Gore won’t get 350 carries. The balance this team has is unheard of in the NFL. Teams can’t gameplan to take away one aspect of the Colts for the fear of being burned by the other. If there is one weakness in for the Colts it is the offensive line but that too should be improved just by them being healthy. So many injuries forced the Colts to be creative with their lineups some weeks and you could see the effect it had on Luck. If Luck is given the time to sit in the pocket and read the defense this could be a historic year for the Colts offense.
Nick Konkel is the Indianapolis Colts beat writer for Indiana Sports Report. You can follow him on Twitter @NKonkelISR and Indiana Sports Report @IndySportsRep