Colts’ Embarrassing Start To 2015 Reinforces Franchise’s Biggest Flaws

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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck

Photo via Sep 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) calls a timeout during a game against the New York Jets at Lucas Oil Stadium. New York Jets defeat the Indianapolis Colts 20-7. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Chances are, you’re having a better 2015 than the Indianapolis Colts.

Even if you haven’t shed those 20 pounds, slimmed down a couple of waist sizes or kicked that bad habit like you pledged back in January, the last nine or 10 months have been better than that of the Colts, who have been an absolute joke.

The year started well enough, with a win over the Denver Broncos in the AFC divisional round. It’s been all downhill since. The Colts were steam-rolled in the AFC Championship by the New England Patriots. They went into the offseason with clear, glaring holes and did little to fill them. Unsurprisingly, those issues have carried over to start this season, with two losses to teams who combined to go 13-19 last season.

The Colts have lost their last three games by a combined 64 points. But, hey, they’ll always have that win over the Broncos. Oh, and this.

Don’t expect it to get drastically better any time soon, either. It’s becoming more and more evident that the Colts have two big problems that are likely to keep them from being a true contender any time soon.

The first is that you can’t help but notice how soft they are. When they lose, it’s because they get pushed around like a meek schoolchild — or like Meek Mill. We saw it last season when they went to Pittsburgh and got blown out by 17. Or when the Patriots came to Indy and ran all over the Colts on the way to a 22-point win. Or the AFC Championship, and the 38-point drubbing. Or when they went to Buffalo in Week 1 and got punched in the mouth. Or when a physical Jets team went into Indy on Monday night and laid the smackdown.

Or, really, whenever the Colts play anyone not in their own division. Under Andrew Luck, the Colts have a 15-1 record against the pathetic assembly that is the AFC South. Against everyone else, including playoffs, the Colts are 20-18. Hard “meh.” Inside the friendly (safe) confines of Lucas Oil Stadium, they’re 19-6 with Luck under center, just 14-11 away from the NFL’s biggest shrine to mediocrity.

The other big problem? There’s no reason to believe they can actually fix the problems they have, at least under the current ownership, management and coaching staff. Just take this offseason as a prime example: The Colts needed to get better against the run. They needed to improve the offensive line. They needed to get tougher. What did they do? They drafted a wide receiver with their first-round pick. And then a cornerback. And then a defensive end. Finally, they addressed the areas of need — by drafting a defensive tackle in the third round and an offensive lineman in the seventh. Their big splashes in free agency were aging wide receiver Andre Johnson and aging running back Frank Gore.

Don’t discount Luck’s role in this, either. If he plays this poorly all season (six turnovers through two games), they are completely and utterly screwed, as he’s the only hope of somehow covering up those flaws.

There’s still time to turn things around. The 0-2 Colts get their security blanket back with three AFC South games in the next three weeks, all leading up to a matchup with a presumably ticked-off Patriots team. (Don’t forget about the Colts’ role in Deflategate.) If the Colts go into that game 3-2, maybe they can prove us wrong by, you know, actually showing up and not being punked by the Patriots.

Given what we’ve seen, though, don’t count on it.

FOURTH AND SHORT

1. The Colts should thank their lucky stars for the Philadelphia Eagles, who are taking the bulk of the bad headlines. Mad scientist Chip Kelly is seeing his scientific progress go “boink” to start the season. Just about every move Kelly’s made thus far has backfired, and all the skepticism about whether his system could succeed in the NFL certainly seems warranted. The biggest issue, though, is the quarterback. Sam Bradford’s not getting the job done, and it’s trickling down to the rest of the offense.

2. I was down on the Saints entering the season, and things actually look even worse now that Drew Brees has reportedly suffered a shoulder injury. This is admittedly with the benefit of the hindsight, but maybe the Saints should have looked to trade the veteran QB in the offseason. It’s looking more and more like a rebuild is needed, and a 36-year-old quarterback with shoulder issues and a $26.4 million cap hit kind of gets in the way.

3. I like Rex Ryan, but I totally get how he’s a laughingstock in New England. The Bills head coach says all the right things, but he’s never really been able to back it up on the field. His team was astonishingly sloppy in the Bills’ loss to the Patriots. Blown coverages and penalties did Buffalo in, and those sorts of things start at the top. It was a typical Rex Ryan vs. Bill Belichick matchup. Ryan wanted to build a bully, and he proved Sunday he has with a team that talks a big game, isn’t very smart and goes away when you punch back.

4. Get your popcorn ready and watch the Seattle Seahawks as they near implosion. I’m telling you, if this thing gets any closer to the rails, it’s going way off. I still think they can turn it around, and back-to-back home matchups with the Bears and Lions will help. But Pete Carroll doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’s going to navigate choppy waters, and they’ve got a locker room of players who seem kind of off even when things are going well.

Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images

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