We are more than two months into the 2017 fiscal year for the National Football League. It’s safe to say we have seen plenty of player movement via free agency and trades. And in late April, a total of 253 players were selected in the NFL draft. So as teams stare at mini-camps, OTAs and more, we figured it was a good time to have some fun looking (and learning) at the significant numbers – both in regards to the past and the present – for each of the 32 franchises. You can play catch-up by clicking here. Next up are the Indianapolis Colts.
During the final weekend of the 2012 season (quarterback Andrew Luck’s rookie campaign), the Colts knocked off the Houston Texans. It would be the start of a 16-game winning streak over their divisional competition and a major reason Chuck Pagano’s club won the AFC South in both 2013 and ’14. But these Colts are now just 4-5 in their last nine outings vs. their division rivals. In ’16, they were swept by the Houston Texans for the first time ever. And this is a division that seems to be getting better.
Along with their other defensive issues, the Colts’ pass rush was not very effective. The team totaled 33 sacks, 11 of those by outside linebacker Erik Walden. He’s not been re-signed by the team. But new general manager made this a priority during free agency, signing outside linebackers Jabaal Sheard, John Simon and Barkevious Mingo. And new nose tackle Johnathan Hankins should be able to command some double-teaming. That will make life a lot easier for a group of pass-rushers that need to make an immediate impact.
No, we are not retiring Peyton Manning’s number. That’s the number of turnovers committed by Luck in 15 games this past season. And while that’s still a somewhat disappointing number, the fifth-year quarterback is arguably coming off his most complete season to date. The former Stanford University star completed a career-best 63.5 percent of his passes. He threw more than twice as many touchdown passes (31) as interceptions (13). And Luck ran for 341 yards and two scores. If the defense can make some progress this year, perhaps the talented signal-caller can avoid the temptation of trying to do too much and conversely make a critical mistake.