The Indianapolis Colts will succeed or fail on the arm of quarterback Andrew Luck in 2017. The three-time Pro Bowl player had surgery in the offseason on his shoulder. While team owner Jim Irsay said the franchise quarterback is “healing tremendously” there is no timetable yet on when he might throw a football.
This team needs Luck to play at full strength if it has any hope of competing for the AFC South title. Tennessee, Jacksonville and Houston all made changes for the better in the offseason, which means this could be the best division in the NFL.
Irsay was also quite vocal in his assessment of this team for the future. He is adamant about expecting multiple Super Bowl titles in the future with Luck at the helm. Just so everyone knows, the Indianapolis Colts won one Lombardi Trophy with Peyton Manning behind center.
Still, Luck’s shoulder is the most talked about topic in the state of Indiana.
“This [surgery] has been a positive thing, not a negative thing or anything like that,” Irsay said to the fans during the event held on the Butler University campus. The story appears in a Mike Wells article on ESPN.com.
“He was really struggling going through the process of being ready to play [each week last season]. This was, quite frankly, not that complicated of a surgery. This was a simple labrum repair. There are a lot of other things that could have been involved with this surgery that weren’t.”
Somehow, I cannot see the words labrum tear and simple fitting properly in the same sentence.
Luck’s injury isn’t the only unanswered question heading into the Colts’ training camp. Here are three of the most pressing questions the Indianapolis Colts must answer.
Will The Defense Be Stronger?
According to cbs4indy.com, By all appearances, an area of strength for the Indianapolis Colts’ still-evolving defense rests up front. The line seems loaded.
There’s proven talent with a possible starting unit of nose Johnathan Hankins, end Kendall Langford and tackle Henry Anderson.
And there is depth to be had. The need for this team to play with continuity is ever present.
If the Colts are to make any significant strides on defense – remember, they were historically bad in 2016, allowing the second-most yards per game in franchise history (382.9) – it has to start up front.
They team must find a way to the quarterback and search for run stuffers in the middle.
What Can We Expect From Luck?
That might be the $64,000 question on everyone’s mind. Luck is progressing. He is the name of this franchise. There is a lot of pressure to produce now. But if the shoulder is not ready, then he isn’t ready. If he isn’t ready, then the Indianapolis Colts aren’t ready. It’s sad to explain the situation in those variables, but it is as plain as night and day. The Indianapolis Colts go nowhere without Andrew Luck leading them.
There may not be another franchise in the NFL that is so dependent on its quarterback to make the offense move. It almost seems like the team freezes if No. 12 isn’t on the field.
Calling Frank Gore
No one works harder than Frank Gore.
The elder statesman of the Indianapolis Colts running game, Gore keeps on going like a Timex watch.
As ESPN.com’s Mike Wells points out, one of the more active offensive positions for the Indianapolis Colts this offseason has been running back. They’ve made a number of additions on the heels of a season that saw Indy’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2007, as Frank Gore gained 1,025.
Still, Gore will determine the destiny of this group. The Colts re-signed Robert Turbin earlier this offseason. They selected South Florida’s Marlon Mack in the fourth round of the draft, then signed free agent Christine Michael. There is depth, but in the end, Gore will still be the bell cow runner.