The Indianapolis Colts suffered a heartbreaking 26-11 defeat against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18 to miss the playoffs last season. But what that means this offseason is Indianapolis can be included on lists of non-playoff 2021 teams that are ready to take the next step this fall.
That’s the exact kind of list NFL.com columnist Jim Trotter included the Colts on in an article released on May 27. Trotter named Indianapolis one of three teams that could make a deep playoff run this season after missing the playoffs in 2022.
In addition to the Colts, Trotter included the Los Angeles Chargers and New Orleans Saints on the list.
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Reasons to Be Optimistic About Colts in 2022
Trotter is bullish about Indianapolis’ chances at a deep playoff run mostly because of new quarterback Matt Ryan.
“Inconsistent quarterback play was a major reason the Colts missed the playoffs last season, but that should not be an issue this year with the arrival of Matt Ryan, the former league MVP who will be taking over for Carson Wentz,” Trotter wrote. “Ryan might be closer to the finish line than the starting blocks in terms of his career, but the 37-year-old is still playing at a high level.
“His run of 10 consecutive seasons with 4,000 yards passing ended last year, but that had more to do with a lack of weapons than it did with Ryan. And the fact that the Indianapolis offense is built around running back Jonathan Taylor, who led the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns last season, means Ryan won’t have to carry an unhealthy share of the load.”
Ryan finished just shy of 4,000 passing yards with 3,968 despite the lack of weapons Trotter described. The Atlanta Falcons traded Julio Jones last June and planned to replace him with Calvin Ridley, but Ridley only played in five games because of mental health issues.
Two of Atlanta’s top receivers in terms of yards last year were rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, who led the Falcons with 1,026 receiving yards, and running back Cordarrelle Patterson, who had 548 receiving yards.
While Ryan is the biggest addition, the Colts added other key pieces this offseason as well. Trotter was also complimentary of those additions.
“Defensively, the Colts addressed an area of concern by acquiring talented pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue from Las Vegas. He joins a unit that finished among the top 10 in scoring the past two seasons and has playmakers among the front seven.”
Reasons to Still Doubt the Colts in 2022
Although the expectation around the league is Indianapolis will be one of the better teams this fall that didn’t make the postseason in 2021, the Colts still face question marks.
Trotter called wide receiver and the secondary areas for concern with the Colts. He also labeled left tackle a place to watch.
“The only proven threat is Michael Pittman Jr., though he could find it harder to make plays if there isn’t a reliable complement on the other side,” Trotter wrote. “Former second-round pick Parris Campbell has talent but has played in just 15 of a possible 49 games to this point in his career.
“Indianapolis used its first two draft selections on a wideout (Alec Pierce) and tight end (Jelani Woods) and later added another tight end (Andrew Ogletree), but these rookies are question marks until they prove themselves.”
Trotter was critical of the depth Indianapolis possesses in the secondary as well. The Colts did not re-sign Xavier Rhodes and traded Rock Ya-Sin to the Las Vegas Raiders for Ngakoue. Isaiah Rodgers and newly signed Brandon Facyson will compete for the starting cornerback job opposite Stephon Gilmore.