Colts should be ready to take next step in 2013

Authored by Stew Blake on May 28, 2013
Colts should be ready to take next step in 2013

Organized team activities have only just begun, but faithful fans of the horseshoe are already foaming at the mouth to see what Andrew Luck and company can accomplish in 2013.
Expectations are real and they’re higher in Indianapolis than they’ve been in a long time. Expectations last year reached an all-time low. Many predicted the Colts wouldn’t win more than two games, repeating a season similar to the embarrassing and heartbreaking 2011-12 campaign.
So much for those expectations, huh?
Winning 11 games unsurprisingly reenergized a city and a franchise. But with winning making a return to Indy, one can only expect, yeah, you guessed it – more expectations.
Andrew Luck is venturing into his sophomore year with a new offensive coordinator, drastically improved offensive line, and virtually the same weapons that he enjoyed in his rookie effort.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was often the butt of jokes throughout the Bay Area, has come to Indianapolis to be, well, reinvented. He’s still fast, but he’s now working with a quarterback of a quality that he has been unfamiliar with from the first day he stepped onto the field as a professional football player.
I’ve never been high on DHB and for good reason. The guy was a drop machine in Oakland and his prime talent, which should be breaking away deep for touchdowns, was pale in comparison to his wide receiver colleagues.
I’ve rambled on about DHB in a previous column, so I’ll try to contain myself this time. However, it’s apparent to me that despite the dreadful quarterback play DHB experienced while in Oakland, he still has a lot to prove, and improve, in his new town.
Luck will certainly help with that, as will newly-appointed offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton. For Luck, I see this as the year he really puts his name among the top five or six quarterbacks in the league. His accuracy will go up, he’ll stay clean in the pocket, and he’ll utilize his two tight ends more frequently, generating big numbers.
This is what I expect of Luck. He’s too talented and too focused to let a “sophomore slump” get in the way of his mastering of the game.
As for the entire team, improvements have been made throughout the depth chart. The defense has become somewhat imposing. The secondary, with LaRon Landry, Antoine Bethea, Greg Toler and Vontae Davis flying around, looks incredibly promising. The physicality of such a secondary is something the Colts have missed since, well, Bob Sanders was on the field.
The defensive line will see a healthy Josh Chapman try to finally make his mark on the field, and “The Germinator,” also known as Björn Werner, looks primed for a solid rookie season.
See? I’m doing it! Expectations, expectations, expectations!
With a playoff berth after last year, it’s time to take the next step, which means advancing in the postseason. The Colts know it, the fans know it, and most of all, the league knows it.
You think anyone doubts the Colts ability to win games this year? No way. And with the Pacers returning to relevance by advancing to at least the NBA East Finals, the Colts now have a little hometown competition for the fans’ attention.
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