After a tough 2022 season, the Indianapolis Colts are looking for improvement under new head coach Shane Steichen after drafting exciting QB Anthony Richardson.
The Indianapolis Colts had their worst season for six years in 2022, posting a poor 4-12-1 record after firing head coach Frank Reich after just nine games.
As it turned out, Reich was still responsible for 75% of the wins they recorded as Jeff Saturday, hauled out of a TV studio to take over as interim head coach, proved not to be up to the task and lost seven straight games after winning in his debut.
The Colts have not been able to solve the quarterback position since Andrew Luck's retirement, with veteran Matt Ryan proving not to be the answer last year after similarly short runs under center for Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett.
They hope to have solved the long-term issue by drafting the physically gifted but inexperienced Anthony Richardson from Florida, but veteran Gardner Minshew may be the starter at least for the first few weeks until Richardson is ready for NFL action.
The Colts' coaching search ended with former Chargers and Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen getting the job, his first chance to lead an NFL team at the age of 37.
Steichen's offense played a key role in the Eagles reaching the Super Bowl last season and also helped Jalen Hurts to develop into one of the most dangerous dual-purpose quarterbacks in the league, which is exactly what the Colts are hoping he can do with Richardson.
The Colts are clearly ready for a major roster overhaul and began that process by using 12 picks in the recent .
Click here to read all NFL Season Outlooks for the 2023/24 season.
|What||2023/24 NFL Season|
|When||September 8th, 2023 - February 11th, 2024|
|Colts Odds||To Win Division +550, To Win Conference +6600, To Win SBLVIII +10000|
The Colts finished third in the AFC South with a 4-12-1 record.
The Colts were busy over the weekend of the NFL Draft, making 12 picks in all, although they had only one pick in each of the first three rounds, with the majority of their new young players chosen on the final day, with two fourth-round picks, five in the fifth round, one in the sixth and two in the seventh.
Much clearly rests on Richardson's shoulder as the Colts aim to recreate the glory days of the franchise under elite passers Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.
Richardson was only the third quarterback taken, after Bryce Young and CJ Stroud were the first two players selected overall, but his potential is enormous, and the big question is whether he can live up to it.
In the second round, the Colts chose cornerback Julius Brents from Kansas State, a tall corner whose game should be well suited to defensive coordinator Gus Bradley's scheme.
They went back to offense in the third round, with wide receiver Josh Downs from UNC, a shifty mover who could see extensive playing time in the slot as a rookie.
The next two picks were in the trenches with offensive tackle Blake Freeland from BYU in the fourth round and defensive tackle Adetomiwa Adebawore from Northwestern in the fifth with what looks like being a great value pick.
Cornerback Darius Rush and safety Daniel Scott provided secondary help at the start of the fifth round, followed by tight end Will Mallory and running back Evan Hull.
Edge rusher Titus Leo, another corner in Jaylon Jones and offensive tackle Jake Witt were the Colts' final three picks of a bumper 2023 NFL Draft class.
Only four teams have bigger Super Bowl odds than the Colts, who are +10000 to lift the Lombardi Trophy this season. The presence of the Texans means they again don't have the worst odds to win the AFC South, but at +550 they are still expected to find it hard to challenge the Jaguars and Titans in their division.
The unravelling of the Colts over the last two seasons must be hard for fans to take as they went into each of those campaigns seen as dark horses to challenge the elite teams in the strong AFC field, on the back of their strong defense and a great running game led by Jonathan Taylor.
There are a number of high draft picks on the roster who could continue to mature into top-level performers, such as wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., and defensive end Kwity Paye, while established veterans in guard Quenton Nelson and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and linebacker Shaquille Leonard provide a great example for the younger players if they can stay healthy - Leonard was able to play only three games due to injury last season.
It would be surprising and highly impressive if Steichen is able to turn things around quickly enough to get the Colts into the playoffs for the first time in three seasons this year, but they can at least provide hope for the future by challenging to finish ahead of the Texans and Titans in the division, even if hauling in the Jaguars looks a tough task.
With a brand new head coach and rookie quarterback, not much is expected of the Colts in 2023/24.
Indy possesses the third-shortest odds in the Worst Regular Season Record market at +1100 and have the third-lowest number in the Regular Season Wins market at O/U 6.5.
They do, however, play in a historically subpar division in the AFC South that includes the Jaguars, Texans, and Titans, a factor that makes reaching the playoffs feasible. The Colts are +360 to reach the postseason and +550 to finish atop the AFC South.
No. 4 overall pick Anthony Richardson could single-handedly make Indianapolis fans forget about the past few seasons, should he live up to his potential. The Florida product is +550 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, behind Falcons RB Bijan Robinson (+280) and 2023 No. 1 pick Bryce Young (+425).
Shane Steichen, 37, is starting his first head coaching role in the NFL with the Colts this season, but he has been coaching in the league for 12 years.
After four years as a college football coach at UNLV and Louisville, he moved to the NFL as a defensive assistant with the Chargers in 2011/12.
A one-year stay as an offensive quality control coach with the Browns followed before he moved back to the Chargers in the same role for two years. He was quarterbacks coach for the Chargers for the next four years, and also served as interim offensive coordinator in 2019 before landing that role permanently in 2020.
He really made his name in his time as Eagles offensive coordinator over the last two seasons, presiding over a dominant running game and developing QB Jalen Hurts into an elite performer.
WR Malik Turner (Houston Texans)
DT Taven Bryan (Cleveland Browns)
WR Isaiah McKenzie (Buffalo Bills) z
TE Pharaoh Brown (Cleveland Browns)
QB Gardner Minshew (Philadelphia Eagles)
DE Samson Ebukam (San Francisco 49ers)
K Matt Gay (Los Angeles Rams)
WR Parris Campbell (New York Giants)
LB Bobby Okereke (New York Giants)
DE Yannick Ngakoue (free agent)
QB Matt Ryan (free agent)
CB Stephon Gilmore (Dallas Cowboys)
|Offensive MVP||OG Quenton Nelson|
|Defensive MVP||DT DeForest Buckner|
|Top rookie||QB Anthony Richardson|
|Breakout star||WR Alec Pierce|
On offense, the Colts had depended on their solid offensive line to clear holes for running back Jonathan Taylor to run though in recent seasons, but Pro Bowl guard Quenton Nelson remains the standout performer.
Taylor was able to play in only 11 games in 2022, leading to a reduced rushing yards total of 861 after he posted an impressive 1,169 and 1,811 in his first two seasons.
Steichen loves to run the ball and he would be delighted if Taylor is healthy enough this year to spearhead his offense.
The Colts have a talented wide receiver in Michael Pittman Jr., who had 925 receiving yards last season after having a 1,000-yard season in 2021.
New recruit Isaiah McKenzie has come over from the Bills and is expected to contribute right away, alongside Alec Pierce, who had 593 receiving yards and two TDs in his rookie season.
On defense, the Colts have suffered some key losses, including CB Stephon Gilmore, who was traded to Dallas, and linebacker Bobby Okereke, but DeForest Buckner remains as an imposing sight in the middle of their defensive line.
Former first-round pick Kwity Paye should be ready to take the next step after posting sack totals of four and six in his first two NFL seasons.
Shaq Leonard was a major absentee for the Colts last season, as the player expected to be the heartbeat of the defense managed to get on the field in only three games. If he is healthy this year the outlook would be much brighter.
Odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.