As we head towards training camp and the preseason, we are going to take a look at each of the Detroit Lions opponents for the 2016 season. Today, we start with the Lions’ Week 1 opponent: The Indianapolis Colts.
The Indianapolis Colts’ 2015 season can be summed up in one word: disappointing. After dominating the AFC South in 2014, the Colts failed to repeat the following year in one of the weakest divisions in football. Much of their struggles had to do with injuries adding up. Specifically, Andrew Luck only played in seven total games last year and often looked like he was still in considerable pain when he was out there. But with over eight months of rest and a hefty contract extension, Luck is hoping to turn his team’s "fortune" around in 2016.
Here’s a look at the 2016 Indianapolis Colts: (Thanks to Stampede Blue for the answers)
2015 record: 8-8
Matchup with Lions: Week 1 at Indianapolis
Line: Colts by 5
Last meeting: 35-33 Colts (2012)
Notable free agent additions: Patrick Robinson (CB), Scott Tolzien (QB), Robert Turbin (RB), Jordan Todman (RB)
Notable free agent departures: Jerrell Freeman (LB), Coby Fleener (TE), Dwight Lowery (S), Greg Toler (CB)
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:
- Ryan Kelly, center (first round pick) - He’s the starter from day one, without a doubt.
- T.J. Green, safety (second round) - He’ll make the roster as a backup safety and special teams contributor.
- Le’Raven Clark, tackle (third round) - He’s expected to provide depth.
- Hassan Ridgeway, defensive line (fourth round) - He could factor into the defensive line rotation as a pass rush threat.
- Antonio Morrison, inside linebacker (fourth round) - He will compete for playing time at the open inside linebacker spot.
- Joe Haeg, offensive lineman (fifth round) - He’ll provide depth along the line, whether at guard or tackle.
- Trevor Bates, outside linebacker (seventh round) - He will try to show something (anything) that suggests he can be a developmental pass rusher for the Colts, which they’re desperately looking for.
- Austin Blythe, center (seventh round) - He’s expected to back up Ryan Kelly at center.
Biggest offseason addition: Ryan Kelly, center
Biggest storyline heading into training camp: The offensive line competition. A lot has been made about the Colts’ offensive line this offseason, and that was their biggest area of emphasis. They brought in Joe Philbin to coach the unit and then spent four of eight draft picks on their line. The left side - with Anthony Castonzo at left tackle, Jack Mewhort at left guard, and Ryan Kelly at center - looks good, but the right side is still a question mark. Joe Reitz is the current favorite at right tackle, though he’s still not guaranteed the job, while the right guard position is even more wide open. The offensive line competition has been a focal point all offseason and likely will continue to be in training camp.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: The injuries to the defensive line. While the inside linebacker competition is worth noting as well, I think the health of the defensive line is one of the biggest storylines for the Colts this year. The unit has the potential to be one of the deepest and best positions on the team, but a lot of that depends on when players get healthy and whether they can stay that way. Henry Anderson was tremendous as a rookie last year and already emerged as one of the team’s best defensive players, but he tore his ACL midway through the season. It’s uncertain whether he’ll be back for Week 1, while Arthur Jones is also recovering from an injury that caused him to miss the entire 2015 season. If Anderson comes back healthy, the defensive line should be a good group when considering guys like Kendall Langford, David Parry, Zach Kerr, T.Y. McGill and Hassan Ridgeway, and Jones coming back healthy would be even more of a boost. The key, again, is health.
Notable injuries heading into training camp: defensive lineman Henry Anderson (knee), defensive lineman Arthur Jones (ankle), wide receiver Donte Moncrief (foot), guard Hugh Thornton (undisclosed), cornerback D’Joun Smith (knee)