Bye weeks suck. Sundays just don’t feel the same without Colts football. To hold you over, the FPC Colts staff comes together for a roundtable discussion. They look back on the first half of the season and prognosticate what is to come.
Question One: What are your thoughts on the Colts’ lack of activity at the trade deadline?
Although I am unsurprised by Chris Ballard’s sternness in his philosophy, I am a bit perturbed by his complete lack of aggressiveness. In today’s NFL, you need to be aggressive at some point to build a Super Bowl winning team. Ballard wants to build through the draft and he has given no reason for anyone to assume that he can’t do that at a very high level. However, I worry that Ballard will be too protective of his money and assets when it comes time to make a move.
I am not surprised at all. Ballard has said he wants to build the core of this Colts team from within, and sacrificing picks for overpriced and aging players doesn’t fit the plan in year two.
The Colts lack of activity at the trade deadline is nothing to worry about or be upset about. Chris Ballard thinks very highly of all draft picks as should we. The Colts are not by any means a win now team either. The Colts are a build for the future team but have the talent and potential to win now.
The Colts inactivity at the deadline was disappointing, but there is an obvious plan in place and Ballard is very staunch with it, so it is okay.
I wouldn’t read too much into the Colts lack of activity before the trade deadline. Chris Ballard loves his draft picks more than anything, and as you have seen this season and last, he makes them count. Marlon Mack was a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft, and that is what the Texans gave for Demaryius Thomas. Thomas is going to be 31 by the end of the season. When building for the future (like what Ballard is doing) you build through the draft, not by sending your picks that could be potential young stars, to obtain an older player that only has a few years left.
Question Two: Which player has exceeded your expectations in the first half? Which has disappointed?
Where on earth did Mark Glowinski come from? After his absolute meltdown in the preseason, most expected him to be cut immediately after the final whistle blew. Injuries forced Glowinski into a starting role and he has been nothing but sensational. He grades out as the fourth highest rated guard per PFF and made PFF’s week seven team of the week.
A second-round pick in 2016, Quincy Wilson came into the season with lofty expectations. He has fallen down the depth chart due to some poor play. He has all of the physical tools to become an excellent shutdown corner but Wilson hasn’t been able to put anything together.
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Eric Ebron, former Lions tight end has emerged as a top tight end in the league with Andrew Luck throwing to him and Frank Reich coaching him. Ebron is a mismatch who is incredibly hard to cover either as a cornerback or linebacker. No specific player has disappointed as the Colts are coming off a two-game win streak. One player who isn’t playing as well as of late is cornerback Pierre Desir. Desir is still starting for the Colts and has shown he is one of the best for the Colts still, with no real top tier corner back on the Colts the really shouldn’t be much to expect.
Impressed the most: Andrew Luck
A vanilla choice, but the right one, Luck has silenced all of his naysayers and has come back stronger than ever, with the arm strength, accuracy and decision making we are used to seeing.
Impressed the least: Clayton Geathers
Geathers hasn’t been the player many thought he would come back as and seems limited in pass coverage at a position where it is a key.
What has impressed me the most this season is how the Colts really stepped up their offense after Marlon Mack returned. Marlon Mack has looked amazing after his return. Rushing for over 100 yards in back to back games. The last time a Colts running back did this was more than 10 years ago (Joseph Addai).
Question Three: Make your predictions for the second half of the Colts’ season.
My guess would be that the Colts finish with a 7-9 record. Despite some momentum and a very easy schedule, my inner pessimist tells me that the Colts’ won’t be able to sniff the playoffs in 2018. They will take care of the Giants and the Dolphins but I’m not confident in their ability to win division games against tough opponents.
8-8. Flipping the script in the second half would be a massive win for the Colts. With losses against Houston, Dallas, and a Tennessee, I am optimistic the Colts could exceed my expectations. The most important game on the schedule is at Houston, as their hopes of a playoff berth rest on winning that game. Indy needs to sweep their division for any chance of playing in the postseason. I had this Colts team at 7-9/8-8 going into the year and admittedly dropped them to 6-10/7-9 after the Jets loss. I hope to be wrong and we see the Colts playing during Wild Card weekend.
I see the Colts finishing the season decently strong with a 9-7 record. On the way to their predicted 9-7 record, I see them sweeping the Titans, going 1-1 with the Jaguars, and losing out to the Texans while also beating the Cowboys and Giants to make them playoff hopefuls who with a little bit of luck and help from other teams can make the playoffs as a wild-card team.
Finishing record: 10-6
Week 13 at JAX
Stealing this game on the road is a must, the Colts need to take care of business in JAX in December to open up a playoff run.
Week 14 at Houston
Barring an epic collapse of the Texans, the look to be the team to beat in the AFC South. This is a must win for the Colts if they have any playoff hopes.
The Colts will finish with an 8-8 record. After playing both Superbowl participants from last season, the Colts have one of the easiest schedules in the league for the rest of the season. They have three consecutive home games following their Bye week and there are no games left that they absolutely can not win.
If the Colts keep playing as they did against the Bills and Raiders, they should win their next three to four games against the Jaguars, Titans, Dolphins, and the Jaguars again. Jacksonville has been struggling the past few weeks while the Colts have been rolling. The Colts will beat the Jaguars atleast oncee, and will beat the Dolphins and Titans. The toughest opponents that the Colts will face and could potentially lose against, are the Cowboys and Texans. Those are the key games that will determine if the Colts go 7-9 or 9-7.