NFL 2018: Getting to Know These Indianapolis Colts
By Julie Voigt
Special to Pro Football Guru
From shoulder surgery that erased his 2017 season. To neck beards and facial hair. This 28-year-old quarterback has certainly made enough headlines that seemingly have little to do with football.
Yes, Andrew Luck has been the subject of so many sports show topics. But that can last for only so long. And while some sit around and waste time trying to calculate how long it has actually been since Luck has thrown a regulation NFL football, there are other aspects that are turning this rebuilding Indianapolis Colts’ team into a competitor.
And many are liking what they see.
Although most would not like to flash back to the 2017 season when all was falling apart due to Luck’s injuries, and many other injuries to key players like center Ryan Kelly, rookie safety Malik Hooker and guard Jack Mewhort, the Colts were also dealing with a painful coaching staff led by Chuck Pagano.
But that “Damaged Colts” Era is suddenly long gone. Briefly after the ’17 season, many were hoping to be saved via talks of a new coach in longtime Patriots’ assistant and one-time Denver Broncos’ head coach Josh McDaniels. Instead, enter the defending Super Bowl champion offensive coordinator in the form of Frank Reich – hired to lead this team.
Kelly is back from foot injury this season. Joining him on the offensive line is the sixth overall pick in April’s draft in former University of Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, a man of a beast measuring at 6’6 and 330 pounds is already dominating and living up to expectations. “Quenton looked good,” said Reich to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star following the team’s preseason win over the Seattle Seahawks. “Certainly showed that he belongs where we picked him (sixth overall). Flashes of the strength and technique and power…We’ve all talked about how good of a puller he is and how efficient he is there. He did a great job when he was pulling.”
Meanwhile, the Colts’ defense is also under new transition as they go from Pagano’s 3-4 defense to 4-3 scheme courtesy of coordinator Matt Eberflus. At Seattle, Indianapolis totaled four sacks, two courtesy of defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway. Via Andrew Walker of Colts.com, it’s worth noting that he was recently named to Pro Football Focus’ “Team of the Week” for his performance (subscription required). Ridgeway had another tackle for loss in the team’s 19-17 win. There appears to be some promise on this side of the football.
This week, the Indianapolis Colts will have a joint practice with the Baltimore Ravens on Friday and Saturday. This will lead up to the clubs’ preseason encounter on Monday, August 20 at Lucas Oil Stadium. So while some are trying to figure out who Andrew Luck looks like more with his “Luckstache,” don’t miss the boat when it comes to watching what else is unfolding when it comes to Reich’s football team.
Julie Voigt, a former contributor for NFL Female (now OurTurf Football) is a freelance NFL writer. You can find her on Twitter (@SwhrtColtsFan13), Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.