The Indianapolis Colts‘ season was full of underwhelming performances and injuries as they stumbled their way to an 8-8 record and second place finish in the AFC South. They fired their offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton in November but the offense still continued to sputter, although they finished the season with a two-game win streak and went 4-2 in division play.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Head coach, wide receiver, punter/kicker
Head Coach: The Colts’ upper management had discussed possibly firing coach Chuck Pagano, but instead signed him to a four-year extension. No one can blame the Colts for deciding on an extension for Pagano, especially when he posted 44 wins in the past four years. With that being said, the Colts need help at the offensive and defensive coordinator positions.
Wide Receiver: There is little doubt that Indianapolis has a solid No. 1 and No. 2 at the wideout position, but rookie Phillip Dorsett left a lot to be desired with his measly 18 receptions for 225 yards and one touchdown. While the first two receivers on the depth chart make this position a strength, it falls off in depth and consistency.
Punter/Kicker: Pat McAfee is one of the best punters in the NFL and is a valuable weapon in his own right. Fans could say the same thing about kicker Adam Vinatieri and his consistency throughout his career, but he isn’t getting any younger, and the Colts need to remember that.
Offensive line, defense, quarterback
Offensive Line: A recurring theme in these NFL exit interviews seems to be the play of several teams’ offensive lines. The Colts are no different, but they need to seriously address the position this offseason. Yes, injuries were a big part of the lack of success that the Colts had in 2015, but it doesn’t help when an area of need wasn’t addressed until the seventh round last offseason. Free agency would help fulfill that need quicker than the draft, but it would also be a lot more expensive.
Defense: The only bright spots on the Colts’ defense this season were linebackers D’Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman. Other players like Robert Mathis and Kendall Langford performed fairly well, but there was a big drop-off after those four names. This is another area that needs to be addressed in the offseason, and has been an area of concern in Indianapolis for years.
Quarterback: Andrew Luck had what could be considered as his worst season in the NFL and multiple injuries cost him the last nine games of the season. While partly his fault, the Colts offensive line did not help the cause any. The Colts need to add quarterback depth through the draft and free agency, and hope that Luck will be more like the 2014 version of himself that threw 40 touchdown passes.
Players to Re-sign:
TE Dwayne Allen
RB Ahmad Bradshaw
LB Jerrell Freeman
DB Dwight Lowery
K Adam Vinatieri
2016 Free agent targets ($22.5 million projected cap space):
WR Jermaine Kearse
TE Vernon Davis
OT Russell Okung
OG Richie Incognito
DB Brandon Boykin
S Tashaun Gipson
2016 NFL Draft First Round Targets (No. 18 pick)
OT Jack Conklin (Michigan State) – if he goes pro
OT Taylor Decker (Ohio State)
WR Josh Doctson (TCU)
Read Salute Magazine‘s other NFL exit interviews:
AFC West: San Diego Chargers