Colts Preview Capsule
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (8-8)
New faces: QB Jacoby Brissett, DT Johnathan Hankins, S Malik Hooker, RB Marlon Mack, OLB Jabaal Sheard, OLB John Simon, CB Quincy Wilson, NT Al Woods.
Key losses: S Mike Adams, TE Dwayne Allen, ILB D’Qwell Jackson, DT Kendall Langford, OLB Robert Mathis, P Pat McAfee, OLB Erik Walden.
Strengths: Andrew Luck is among league’s top quarterbacks when healthy. Pro Bowler T.Y Hilton was league’s 2016 yards receiving champ, and TE Jack Doyle has become one of Luck’s most trusted receivers. RB Frank Gore shows no signs of slowing down, and 44-year-old Adam Vinatieri remains model of consistency for kickers everywhere.
Weaknesses: Indy’s young offensive line and completely revamped defense are still trying to get in sync. Preseason games have demonstrated benefits of emphasizing takeaways, but defensive coordinator Ted Monachino continues trying to find pass rushers. Colts’ injury-riddled secondary will force rookies into major roles early. If Luck isn’t healthy, QB becomes weak spot.
Fantasy Players To Watch: Hilton should continue to produce big numbers if Luck is making the throws. Same with Doyle’s numbers, which are expected to improve now that he’s starting. You know what you get with Vinatieri.
Expectations: Depend primarily on Luck’s health. After Luck missed all offseason workouts, training camp and preseason, coach Chuck Pagano eagerly awaits any indication franchise quarterback will be ready for game action soon. Luck has been rehabbing from offseason surgery on throwing shoulder. With Luck, Colts could contend in weak AFC South. Without him, Indy could get top 10 draft pick.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL