After a dismal start, the Indianapolis Colts won nine of their final 10 games to reach the playoffs in 2018. What’s next in terms of making strides?
From a 1-5 start to a 10-6 finish and a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2014, the Indianapolis Colts slowly but surely blossomed under first-time NFL head coach Frank Reich this past season. The team would go onto defeat the AFC South champion Texans at Houston in the Wild Card Playoffs before falling at Kansas City on week later.
Now this franchise enters the offseason with a lot of salary cap room and three picks in the first two rounds of April’s draft. What must the Colts do to take another step forward?
5. Add depth to the offensive front
A lot of work went into revamping the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line last offseason. New head coach Frank Reich knew the traditional importance of solid play up-front comment, as evidenced by the contributions of the Eagles’ offensive front during their Super Bowl LII championship campaign. That was a group that was able to overcome the loss a perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters and still go on to win an NFL title.
Last offseason, current general manager Chris Ballard used the sixth overall pick on University of Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson and one of four second-round selections on University of Auburn blocker Braden Smith. They would become mainstays up front and as this unit began to gel, they opened holes for the ground game and kept quarterback Andrew Luck out of harm’s way. Including the playoff split with the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, the Colts allowed only 12 sacks in last their last 14 games after surrendering nine QB traps in the first four contests in ’18.
Left tackle Anthony Castonzo, center Ryan Kelly and right guard Mark Glowinski (who was recently re-signed by the team) make up the starting five. A new coaching staff for this unit, highlighted by the return of Howard Mudd, and some additional depth could make this an incredibly formidable group.