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.”