As the Colts’ disappointing season winds down, I will go over how every Colt has played this season. Following my analysis, I will give them a grade from A+ to F. Let’s start today with the “A” group, including A+, A, and A-
(Spoiler alert: this will be the shortest segment, by far)
The lone A+ grade goes to the ageless wonder, Adam Vinatieri. At 44 years young, Vinatieri is still going strong, and was just snubbed from the Pro Bowl. Alas, he is still one of the top kickers in the NFL. This season, Vinatieri went 24-27 on field goals, and 19-21 on extra points. Two of those field goals came in a blizzard, and the other miss was during week one where the entire team was out of sync. Vinatieri will hopefully continue to kick at a high level for years to come.
Rashaan Melvin has been the surprise of the season for the Indianapolis Colts. Last season, Melvin was nothing more than an average depth player. In the absence of Vontae Davis this season, Melvin has proved himself to be an excellent shut down corner. In 10 games this season, Melvin has recorded three picks and 13 pass deflections, and has shut down opposing receivers such as Larry Fitzgerald. Along with young pieces Malik Hooker and Quincy Wilson, Melvin will be the backbone for this future no fly zone.
Chris Ballard struck gold with the signing of former Patriot Jabaal Sheard. Sheard has brought a presence in pass rushing that the Colts have missed for quite some time. He has been a force against opposing defensive linemen, bombarding passers and winning games. Sheard has 46 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and one pass deflections. He has also been excellent in run defense. Jabaal Sheard will be a major contributor for this defense for the foreseeable future.
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Along with Sheard, John Simon has been stellar all season before his injury. His all round play was huge for the Colts earlier in the season. Simon and Sheard could form a deadly edge duo if they continue to work together. Simon was a playmaking machine – sacking quarterbacks, forcing fumbles, and taking back pick sixes. He is one of many Colts on injured reserve, and hopefully one of many to be back next season, at full strength, ready to dominate opposing linemen.
Who on earth expected Matthias Farley to be the Colts’ most consistent defensive player this season? Well, he has been, and is one of the surprises of the season along with Melvin. Farley has played in every game this season, which is an anomaly among Colts players this season. He has been a sure tackler, ranking third on the team with 89 total tackles, along with two interceptions and seven pass deflections. Farley made the most out of an injury to Clayton Geathers, who was primed for an amazing second year.
Anthony Castonzo has been the only bright spot this season on a dismal offensive line. On a Colts offensive line that has given up 53 sacks, Castonzo has been the only consistent factor. Despite his average pass blocking, Castonzo has been one of the best run blocking tackles in the NFL. Castonzo will be one of the building blocks of this offensive line that is in a desperate need of a retool.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, and the AFC South Division Editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_ and @FPC_Colts.