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Hoge: Colts are “gonna shock some people” this season

Andrew Luck Pic Getty Images

Despite the offseason addition of a franchise quarterback and house cleaning that so far appears to have the franchise headed in the right direction, the Indianapolis Colts have been largely written off by NFL prognosticators. We had the Colts 31st in our own preseason power rankings, and haven’t seen them much higher anywhere else.

But those rankings were concocted before the preseason kicked off, and rookie quarterback Andrew Luck looked awfully good in August. There are still question marks throughout the rest of the Colts’ roster, but Indy would probably rank at least a few notches higher if we were to redo the power ranks today.

ESPN’s Merril Hoge has seen enough to pick Indianapolis as his “surprise” team for the 2012 season.

“I think that the Colts are gonna scare some people, shock some people, beat a lot of teams that they’re not expected to beat,” Hoge said on SportsCenter Thursday morning. “When you look at them changing to a 3-4 [defense], watching Luck during the preseason, and looking at some young guys that they have besides Luck at the tight end position. What they’re doing up front with their offensive line. I just think they’re gonna shock a lot of people.”

The Colts’ recent trade for cornerback Vontae Davis suggests the organization is not in rebuilding mode. Young tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener have appeared NFL-ready in preseason games, and Indianapolis should still be able to apply pressure to opposing passers with Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney coming off the defensive edge.

“I think that the division [AFC South], people just assume it’s gonna be the Houston Texans,” Hoge acknowledged. “But don’t sleep on the Colts. I think they’ll be much improved from last year, and are gonna scare some people and will be an exciting team to watch.”

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66 Responses to “Hoge: Colts are “gonna shock some people” this season”
  1. agcooney108 says: Aug 30, 2012 8:30 AM

    as much as i don’t really like hoge, i’ve been saying the samething. they’ll surprise a lot of people

  2. andyb053 says: Aug 30, 2012 8:31 AM

    If by much improved from last year means you think they’ll win more than two games, then yeah I guess you’re right. Way to go out on a limb there, Merrill.

  3. djspman says: Aug 30, 2012 8:31 AM

    I think the Colts will shock the world. They will shock the world when they win more then once game.

  4. getyourownname says: Aug 30, 2012 8:32 AM

    I’m sure Luck will have a fine career, but poor Merrill Hoge. Is he a lead plaintiff in the concussion lawsuits yet?

  5. wittersworld says: Aug 30, 2012 8:33 AM

    3 wins would shock me….so yeah, maybe he’s right!

  6. prince5000 says: Aug 30, 2012 8:37 AM

    It wouldn’t be that much of a shock. they were a playoff winning team for the past ten years and then they lose Manning for the season – they weren’t the worst team in football they just went into quit mode.

  7. 4ever19 says: Aug 30, 2012 8:37 AM

    They still have to be able to cover people, run the ball and stop the run.

  8. kreedos says: Aug 30, 2012 8:39 AM

    I would not doubt it one bit. Luck does not play like a rookie at all. We’ll see…!

  9. illogic87 says: Aug 30, 2012 8:39 AM

    Hoge’s opinion is worthless

  10. realdealsteel says: Aug 30, 2012 8:44 AM

    Merrill, slowly move away from the microphone and put down the Vodka. Please.

  11. kb1953 says: Aug 30, 2012 8:46 AM

    You gotta like Hoge, one of the few ESPN guys who doesn’t kiss Tebow’s a** and now he’s giving the Colts a little love after an awesome off/pre season. He’s right, better watch your back Texans!

  12. diamondmo33 says: Aug 30, 2012 8:48 AM

    I think they can make the playoffs.

  13. guitarkevin says: Aug 30, 2012 8:50 AM

    Shocked as in winning more than 2 games?

  14. staffordsrightbicep says: Aug 30, 2012 8:50 AM

    If by shocked he means doing better than 2-14, then he’s right; I will be shocked.

  15. samapoc says: Aug 30, 2012 8:58 AM

    I have to say that I think ESPN plans all these personalities out. They are choreographed. They create drama where they want it. The only thing I don’t get is how and why they choose certain teams and players. Anyway, I do think that the Colts can win 4-5 games this year and if that shocks people, then Hoge is correct.

  16. seanowns says: Aug 30, 2012 8:59 AM

    I will say this for Hoge – he follows his convictions. He will always hate the Eagles and Tebow. Keep an eye on his weekly “expert picks” on ESPN. It can be comical.

  17. Patriot42 says: Aug 30, 2012 9:00 AM

    Hoge is up to his old tricks of opening mouth without kicking brain into gear.

  18. lionsfan415 says: Aug 30, 2012 9:01 AM

    I’m not sure what Hoge is suggesting but I would be shocked if they won more than 6 games. I do think they’re heading in the right direction but I honestly believe their defense could be one of the worst I’ve ever seen, and trust me I’m a lions fan and I know some bad defense, mathis and freeney will get the Qb but aside from those 2 this d AP be gouged up the middle, I expect Foster putting up 400 rushing yards against the colts this year, I honestly believe this run.defense could turn Montario Hardesty into a pro bowler

  19. gaykegayden says: Aug 30, 2012 9:02 AM

    Well since they decided to go 1998 San Antonio Spurs last year, yes, closer to a playoff team than 2-14.

  20. istillbelieveinblue says: Aug 30, 2012 9:03 AM

    He had me until he said this: “What they’re doing up front with their offensive line”. The O-Line has been terrible. Local beat writers have said that the Colts D-Line consistently dominated the O-Line during camp. In ’98 Peyton had Tarik Glenn and Adam Meadows at the tackle spots, Luck won’t have that luxury.

  21. jm91rs says: Aug 30, 2012 9:06 AM

    I’d like to watch ESPN football coverage without having to flip the channel when this clown comes on the screen, and if he keeps making crazy statements that don’t come true maybe ESPN will realize he’s nothing more than an over-sized tie knot with a hard on for trashing Tebow (I’m all for trashing his play, but you watch, Hoge somehow will devote 5 minutes every Sunday to trashing Tebow even when Tebow isn’t getting playing time).

    I do think the Colts can shock some people, but for the sake of Hoge’s ESPN job I’m hoping they suck it up.

  22. trefkennedy says: Aug 30, 2012 9:10 AM

    Crazy how the colts who won the AFC south for near 10 years straight, have 1 bad, ok incredible bad season and now the AFC south has been passed to the texans idk I think the colts are gonna shock the world

  23. southpaw2k says: Aug 30, 2012 9:11 AM

    I take anything that Hoge says with a grain or two of salt, given his unabashed hatred of Tim Tebow (Seriously, did Tebow run over Hoge’s dog or something? Why all the direct disgust? What good does that do?)

    Anyways, the Colts’ non-divisional games are @ Chicago, vs Minnesota, vs Green Bay, @ the Jets, vs Cleveland, vs Miami, @ New England, vs Buffalo, @ Detroit, and @ Kansas City. I think they win 3 of those games (Jets, Browns, and Dolphins), and probably win 2, possibly 3 divisional games. Six wins is a big improvement over two wins from last year, but it’s still double-digit losses. The Colts have a long way to go before they’re competitive again.

  24. deadeye says: Aug 30, 2012 9:12 AM

    The Colts are going to shock some people, 6-10 would be quite shocking for that squad.

    Come on Hoge, get realistic.

  25. tmac4454 says: Aug 30, 2012 9:13 AM

    I kinda like the rookie receiver TY Hilton. He looks very good. Unlucky to Hilton = Manning + M Harrison. Maybe…

  26. bear51down says: Aug 30, 2012 9:15 AM

    They might just be surprise, but one thing I know, after wk one they will be 0-1…… BEAR DOWN!!!!

  27. njbucsfan says: Aug 30, 2012 9:16 AM

    Either his knot on his tie is too large or he is blinded by his hatred for Tim Tebow. #Merrillisadbag

  28. electionconfidential says: Aug 30, 2012 9:16 AM

    I agree that Indy now looks better than number 31. But to jump from that idea to the idea they’ll challenge Houston for the Division title is ridiculous.

  29. borophyll says: Aug 30, 2012 9:17 AM

    The only thing that “shocks”me is Merrill taking a break from talking about how great the Steelers are.

  30. burningrangers says: Aug 30, 2012 9:20 AM

    If they mean by finishing better than 4-12, that will definitely shock a lot of people.

  31. raiderlyfe510 says: Aug 30, 2012 9:22 AM

    Not me. The only reason why they were so bad last year is because they went out at got the worst QBs they could find to suck for Luck. I think they’ll be anywhere between 8-8 and 10-6.

  32. dukemarc says: Aug 30, 2012 9:22 AM

    One of these days, Hoge is “going to shock some people” and say something that isn’t idiotic.

  33. timb12 says: Aug 30, 2012 9:27 AM

    He flip flopped do hard. I think it was after the Broncos won their 6th game in a row he got on ESPN and was talking about how much he believed and he was wrong for doubting Tebow and the Broncos. Then 3 weeks later he was back to saying how Tebow will never be successful. Please forgive my language but….he’s not very good at his job.

  34. pkrjones says: Aug 30, 2012 9:28 AM

    The only “shocking” they’ll be doing is if they’re supplied Tazers. Luck looked extremely good for a rookie QB, but there are WAAAAYYYY too many pieces missing for them to win more than a handful of games. Protect Luck and pray for another goood draft in 2013.

  35. clw1906 says: Aug 30, 2012 9:29 AM

    Yep they just may get the 2nd pick in the draft not the first. Shocker!!!

  36. andymannfl says: Aug 30, 2012 9:29 AM

    Hoge makes Jamie Dukes and Solomon Wilcots look like well informed and insightful analysts.

  37. hartleechung says: Aug 30, 2012 9:31 AM

    Sure they are…they electrified the seats. Boo and you get 10,000 volts plus a free indecipherable tweet from Irsay.

  38. ernie ernie says: Aug 30, 2012 9:33 AM

    As in tying the Lions for 0-16?????????

    Serioulsy if the team was 6-10 but showing improvement then thats a start. They need a lot. Its their own fault for keeping the cows too long and the milk ran out at the same time on many of them.

    It will be years before they are competitive again and thats only if Luck is as good as advertised. If he is just mediocre then they have more problems then they imagined.

  39. cannonballdookie says: Aug 30, 2012 9:38 AM

    Hoge hates on the most overrated team (Eagles) and most overrated player (Tebow), both of whom ESPN has a love affair with, I fail to see the issue.

    If things work out right for the Colts, I can see them having a season similar to the Rams when Bradford came and they nearly made the playoffs. The downgrade from a past his prime Manning to a young stud in Luck will not be as bad as many think.

  40. cmgww says: Aug 30, 2012 9:43 AM

    I think they will be better…how much so depends on the o-line and if they can improve. They’ve been terrible. And the D has to improve. Keep in mind they were without team leading tackler ILB Pat Angerer against the Skins and that led to a lot of rushing yards. They also have Josh Chapman for NT, who was a beast in college but is still rehabbing a torn ACL and is on the PUP list till week 6. And if you think for one second Arians showed his hand in the preseason, think again. They barely used the tight ends, and this is the guy that loved two TE sets before they were cool. And the Colts have two really good ones. Can’t wait to see old man Urlacher and his bum leg try and cover Fleener/Allen…The line play has got to improve though.

  41. whags334 says: Aug 30, 2012 9:54 AM

    Hoge has become such a joke, it started two years ago with his Tebow attacks and now he just says things to try and shock people…that is not what being an analyst is about. You say enough crazy things and eventually you’ll be right one time. Let’s all hope that his tie knot becomes large enough that it chokes him out!

  42. pftwstbshmc says: Aug 30, 2012 9:55 AM

    As my young teenage daughter would say to an obvious statement – “Well DUH!”.

    Of course they are going “to shock some people” if “some people” think they are going to be as bad this year as last year. Manning goes out for the season, the ownership knows they are not going to bring him back and they need to get a replacement for him. So they have to figure out what to do. Behind the scenes something to this effect took place:

    “Hey, this kid Luck looks like a great prospect for replacement, but how do we make sure we get him. ”
    “I know, we have to have the worst record to make sure we get the first draft pick.”
    “Tank the season?”
    “Yeah, tank the season. Put guys on IR, bring up guys from the practice squad to see if they might be able to stick. Trade guys that we can that would help our this year, but we don’t want to pay going forward. Tell the guys who are playing not to give it 100% and make sure we loose as much as possible, but not so much that it looks obvious.”

    Now they have who they want throwing the ball, the team is going to play 100%. They did not have a bad team last year. Go from Superbowl contender to worst in the league because one guy, JUST ONE GUY on the team is out for the year? Give me a break. They tanked the season so they could “Suck for Luck”. Anyone with even the tiniest bit of a brain figured that out. Now the team will play like they are able to and go back to what they have been.

    I (a long time Pats fan BTW) am not going to be “shocked” by what this team does this year. I think they are a middle of the road team that MAY take a wildcard spot with a 8-8 or 9-7 record.

    There will be no “shock” factor here.

  43. ahostiletakeover says: Aug 30, 2012 9:59 AM

    If by shock he means 6-10 or 7-9 then yes, I could definitely see that happening. They’re not challenging the Texans or even the Titans for that matter for the division though.

  44. peytonsneck18 says: Aug 30, 2012 10:01 AM

    Woooow the haters are out in masses today, lets see…what have the.bears won lately? Hmmm….or whatever team.u others claim…nothing!! We had one bad year n yal claim were garbage? ? SMH

  45. tonyromoisterrible says: Aug 30, 2012 10:09 AM

    Did Hoge not watch any of game 3? The Skims are a middling defense at best and there was consistent pressure on ole mush mouth. The colts D is terrible and they simply dont have ANY depth. Hoge has taken far too many hits to the dome. The colts will win 3-4 games this year.

  46. cardiovascularendurance says: Aug 30, 2012 10:15 AM

    I didn’t realize Luck was a TE…

  47. jjbadd385 says: Aug 30, 2012 10:30 AM

    Seriously..his mama named him Merrill! What a tool! He wasn’t even a good footbal player, & suddenly he is an expert on all things football! Lololol!

  48. samoanjungle says: Aug 30, 2012 10:39 AM

    I don’t think they are heading to the playoffs this year but much improved. Luck looks to have some of the abilities Manning has had as far as willing the team to win.
    I see 6-7 wins.

  49. LoCoSu@%s says: Aug 30, 2012 10:41 AM

    Even Payton went 3-13 his rookie season. Don’t get your hopes up Merrill.

  50. mrbiz8505 says: Aug 30, 2012 10:42 AM

    They will surprise people… on their way to 4 wins….

  51. cleminem757 says: Aug 30, 2012 10:52 AM

    Actually, the Redskins D will be a top 10 thus season. So seeing what the colts did against them should be pretty telling. Luck is all that everyone says he is. The rest of the team…not all that. Also switching to a 3-4 is going to kill them this year. They do not have the personnel to fit the 3-4 yet. Just look at the history of teams that switched. Awful the first year, but improve every year after. Takes a minimum of 3 years to switch successfully.

  52. realfootballfan says: Aug 30, 2012 10:58 AM

    As dopey as he is, I agree. Manning obviously hid a lot of holes on that team; however, Jim Caldwell’s incompetence can’t be understated. Pagano has to be an upgrade almost by default.

    Also, Chris Polean was running the franchise into the ground while his old man was on autopilot collecting checks. He should be banished from NFL front offices along with Billy Devaney, Tim Ruskell, and other similar train wreck personnel evaluators.

    They weren’t a playoff caliber team without Manning, but that team still shouldn’t have been as bad as they were last year.

  53. steelersownyou says: Aug 30, 2012 11:14 AM

    Good luck with that. Bruce arians is the worst off. Co-ordinator ever! I like andrew luck though. He is a baller but were looking at 6-10 season maybe 7-9 at best!

  54. jliskiew says: Aug 30, 2012 11:20 AM

    Of all the blowhards at ESPN that produce the same recycled crap towing the company line, so many of you want to rag on Merrill Hoge? You do realize he’s one of maybe 3 analysts they have that actually breaks down film at NFL films and gives his own honest opinions?

    If you don’t agree with an opinion, fine. If you want to mock him for his wardrobe, by all means… But good lord, he’s one of the very few football guys they have that actually does his job!

  55. footballchic777 says: Aug 30, 2012 11:26 AM

    I totally agree with Hoge. When the questions was posed yesterday on FB by NFL or Mike and Mike (I don’t remember which) “What teams have NO chance of being Super Bowl Champs”, the only teamed I ruled out from the AFC South was the Jags. I still think, all things considered, that the Texans are the best team in that division, BUT, they also always seem to be an injury away from prosperity. It is a different mindset to come at the year from the Colts perspective, because they have less pressure and expectations of winning, therefore, they will be able to play with more calm. Going to be an interesting year!

  56. nebster21 says: Aug 30, 2012 11:29 AM

    Other than being somewhat good on Techmo Bowl. Has Merrill Hoge said anything that turned out to be correct?

    You do realize that he just piggy backs off of others film break downs don’t you guys.

  57. wikipediasaidso says: Aug 30, 2012 11:44 AM

    I’m not a Colts fan. But I am an AFC South fan. Definitely not sleeping on the Colts this year, at least as a spoiler team.

    No one will have the book on their new defense yet. Also, they lost 7 games by 8 or fewer points last year. And now they have Luck. Offense looks way ahead of where it was with Painter/Orlovsky this time last year, or even as of last December.

    Wouldn’t say “scary,” and depth might be an issue if they get hit with many injuries. Wouldn’t expect them to challenge for a playoff spot yet. But they could definitely shock some teams (or fans of some teams) if they get overlooked because of last year.

  58. mad1449ers says: Aug 30, 2012 11:46 AM

    Obviously they will be better than last year, and sure they might surprise a few teams; but looking at a 7-9 season. Hoge says they will be a better team but never makes any type of “this is a playoff team” type statement. Barring injuries my guess is they are two or three years from being a playoff team..

  59. 13fitzj says: Aug 30, 2012 11:48 AM

    For people who are saying “what happened to the team that won the division 10 years in a row,” the team was much better early in that run with the end being mainly a product of Peyton’s dominance. The team last year was very much the same as the team that Peyton led to the playoffs in 2010, only without Peyton.

  60. thesmartestmanever says: Aug 30, 2012 11:50 AM

    you may sweep the jags and steal one from the titans, that’s three division wins right there get one or two outside your division and that’s a marked improvment . but you guys need serious defensive help and you need some studs to surround Luck with

  61. jdawg111 says: Aug 30, 2012 12:04 PM

    My guess is somewhere between 3 and 7 wins.

    I think he meant shocked in that they would be better than the 3 win mark?

  62. shaggytoodle says: Aug 30, 2012 2:06 PM

    Probably not, because time they get close to doing something that may surprise someone.

    Irsay would tweet about it ruining the shock factor.

  63. buckyturgidson says: Aug 30, 2012 3:35 PM

    I bet a little on the Colts to win the division at odds of 18-1, who knows?

  64. ddogdaddy says: Aug 30, 2012 8:37 PM

    ShockTheWorld.

  65. jgava19 says: Aug 31, 2012 5:58 PM

    3 to 4 wins is not “much improved”, you idiots. .500 or better is much improved.

  66. jgava19 says: Aug 31, 2012 6:01 PM

    When Colts are battling for a playoff spot late this season, MH will look Like a genius, which will be a first for him.

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