The Indianapolis Colts are now 3-13. Their offense ranked 30th in points per game and 31st in yards per game. Their defense ranked 31st in points allowed and 30th in yards allowed. Countless injuries, including Andrew Luck, Malik Hooker, Rashaan Melvin, Robert Turbin, and Ryan Kelly, have depleted their roster slowly and has given Jacoby Brissett nothing to work with.
As of today, December 31st, Chuck Pagano was fired from his head coaching job. He put together a decent campaign, but not good enough for the talent that was given.
The Colts are in a good position, however, even if it may not look like it. The Colts hold the #3 Overall draft pick in the 2017 draft, and they’re in an almost perfect position to brighten their future. Here are 3 things that the Indianapolis Colts can do to improve their future.
- Get Rid of the Pick
What does it mean to “get rid” of something in the NFL? Well, in this case, it doesn’t mean to throw it away, of course. Indy just needs to either trade down or trade away this pick. They really don’t need this high of a pick, but they should be extremely grateful that they have it. Bleacher Report has the Colts picking Minkah Fitzpatrick. Now, he is a great player who could really help them, but their biggest need is not the secondary, although it is close. It is the offensive line that needs major work. With an improved offensive line, they can give Andrew Luck more time to survey the field and give them success on the offensive end.
The Colts can trade down just outside of the top-10 and draft Orlando Brown (OT) from Oklahoma or Denzel Ward (DB) from Ohio State. They can also trade away this pick completely for a proven player on the O-Line such as Josh Sitton, David Bakhitiari, Andrew Whitworth, etc. They could trade for an elite DB such as Morgan Burnett, Malcolm Jenkins, Eric Weddle, etc. This category is wide open for Indy and should be a priority going into the offseason.
2. Make a Splash in Free Agency
The Colts are currently slated to have over 80 million in cap space, and need to make a big splash in the offseason to have any chance at a good future. This is a big year for them; this offseason is loaded with stars that Indy can definitely land. For the defensive side of the ball, they can potentially grab Malcolm Butler, Lamarcus Joyner, or Patrick Robison for the secondary, and they can also try for Demarcus Lawrence, Ezekiel Ansah, or Adrian Claiborne for their pass rush. On the offensive side, they can get Nate Solder or Justin Pugh for the O-Line, and they can even grab a receiver like Allen Robinson or Sammy Watkins to help Andrew Luck. With this much cap space, it’s hard to believe the the Colts could mess this one up.
With the Colts’ horrible season behind them, some players who are entering free agency may not want to come back, and this cannot happen to Indianapolis. Their key free agents include Frank Gore, Donte Moncrief, and Jack Mewhort. These 3 are all starter at 3 key positions. Mewhort is one of the only good offensive lineman the Colts have had, Frank Gore provides a receiving threat and a rushing threat, and Donte Moncrief provides a great 2nd option for Andrew Luck in the passing game. Frank Gore has expressed that the Offensive Line is key to where he’ll sign in 2018. Of course, without making a splash in free agency, Gore will most likely be gone. Moncrief is too talented to let go, and Mewhort is a key signing for Gore to come back.
4. Get a Good Coach with Experience
Indianapolis is now without a coach. With the firing of Chuck Pagano, the Colts need to find a good coach with enough NFL experience to put the other 3 things above together. With the new players hopefully coming in this offseason, there needs to be a new coach to coach them well. Also fired today was John Fox, formerly of the Chicago Bears, and Jack Del Rio of the Raiders. Both of these coaches could be a good fit in Indy. John Fox has plenty of experience with Denver’s dynamic defense from 2011-2014, and Del Rio did very well in Oakland.
Arguably the best coaching option for Indy is Josh McDaniels (current Patriots Offensive Coordinator). McDaniels can get a star in Andrew Luck or even Jacoby Brissett, who he was previously worked with in the past. McDaniels has put the Patriots offense together extremely well, as they ranked #1 in YPG and #3 in PPG.
Overall, the Colts are in a good position to make their future bright. With the return of Andrew Luck, the new elite players being added, and resigning key players on both ends, the Colts will be well on their way to a much improved ’18-’19 season.
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