Posted: 3:00 p.m. Saturday, July 20, 2013
Veteran Additions: FB Stanley Havili, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, QB Matt Hasselbeck, DE/OLB Erik Walden, OT Gosder Cherilus, G Donald Thomas, CB Greg TOler, DE/DT Ricky Jean-Francois, NT Aubrayo Franklin, ILB Kelvin Sheppard, S LaRon Landry.
Veteran Subtractions: WR Donnie Avery, QB Drew Stanton, WR Austin Collie, OT Winston Justice, DE/OLB Dwight Freeney, G Seth Olsen, C A.Q. Shipley, CB Jerraud Powers, DE Clifton Geathers, DT Antonio Johnson, DE/OLB Jerry Hughes, ILB Moise Fokou, S Tom Zbikowski.
Strengths: The obvious place to start is with Andrew Luck. Colts fans are a lucky bunch, having moved on from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck. That's, well, just about the best timing one could hope for. And this offense really does revolve around Luck. Even though he struggled at times last year (18 INTs isn't pretty - nor is a 54.1% completion percentage), he did almost everything right that he needed to. With Pep Hamilton in town as the new offensive coordinator, moreover, Luck won't be asked to throw downfield with every pass. That will help his accuracy.
A couple of other strengths on this offense will help luck too. The running game is looking good. Even though RB Vick Ballard is pretty pedestrian (PFF has him at 2.0 overall, with a rushing score of 2.5 - see also his 3.9 yards per carry), he will be complemented by newcomer Ahmad Bradshaw, who is a huge upgrade. And the running game isn't the only help for Luck's development, since WRs T.Y. Hiton and Reggie Wayne and TEs Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are all strengths for this team.
The Colts also have a pretty strong secondary. Look for new additions Greg Toler and LaRon Landry to perform well, as they have in the careers (when not injured). This helps out CB Vontae Davis.
Weaknesses: Where this offense runs into trouble is on the o-line. The one really bright spot on the o-line is LT Anthony Castonzo. You might also make a case for RT Gosder Cherilus, especially after his last season, which was very impressive. Save in 2009, though, his earlier career had been pretty inconsistent, but overall good. The interior portion of the line is a little bit messier, with Donald Thomas, Mike McGlynn, and Hugh Thornton duking it out over the G positions.
The Colts aren't much better on the other side of the ball either. The odd part, too, is how much money they spent bringing in guys who probably don't merit the paychecks. The obvious for us 49er fans is Ricky Jean-Francois, who will make $22 million over 4 years. He isn't that good. Nor is Aubrayo Franklin, even though he was pretty cheap. The worst signing, though, for the Colts might be Erik Walden for $16 million over 4 years.