2012 AFC South Way-Too-Early Awards: The Indianapolis Colts

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistMay 16, 2012

Collie may well be Lost.
Collie may well be Lost.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It's May 15, and that means it's time for end of the year awards for the 2012 Indianapolis Colts

No. It's not.

It couldn't be less time for those awards.

What's the point in giving out fake awards nearly four months before the season starts? It's a great way to establish expectations for the year. I'm a big believer in creating reasonable targets and seeing if players are able to hit them.

I demand that all of you treat these awards with the same solemnity and seriousness that I do.

Here's what I expect out of key Colts in 2012:


The Wedge Antilles Award (Offensive MVP)

Reggie Wayne has never been the star of the show, but if there are fireworks going off, he probably had some part to play in them. Wayne is going to be the emotional core of the 2012 Colts. I doubt he'll have impressive stats by the end, but it's his job to lead the team and teach the young guys what winning means in the NFL.


The Helms Deep Award (Defensive MVP)

Antoine Bethea is the glue that holds things together for the Colts. He's not flashy, but he is dependable. He plays hard and well. He needs some serious help in the secondary, but with out him things would be even worse for the Colts. He buys them just enough time to make a final goal-line stand.


The Captain Obvious Award (Rookie of the Year)

It's Andrew Luck. Considering that most of the Indy rookies are offensive players, I can't imagine anyone managing a brilliant rookie year that doesn't in some way involve Luck. I hate picking chalk like this, but Luck may well be the Rookie of the Year in the NFL, so not picking him for the Colts would be crazy.


The Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Most Improved Player)

Pat Angerer has been a fan favorite and a productive player, but I could never shake the feeling like the Colts could be getting more impact plays out of him. Larry Coyer was an ineffective coordinator at best, and Chuck Pagano should install a more philosophically sound defense.

I expect Angerer to be the beneficiary of a better scheme and better coaching. He might not get all the same gaudy tackle numbers, but I suspect his overall impact will become more pronounced.


The Edward Scissorhands Award (Most Likely to Get Cut)

Dwight Freeney is still a great player, but if the Colts can't move him, they have to cut him. There are still a lot of Colts fans that think the team will be competitive in 2012, but I just don't see it. I think the front office is realistic about what this team is. They can't afford to pay Freeney $14 million this season, and unless they can move him, he's gone.


The Lost Season Six Award (Biggest Disappointment)

Austin Collie had a spectacular start to his career and became an instant fan favorite, but injuries have put his future very much in doubt. The Colts drafted two potential slot receivers this year, and while Collie may be able to play outside, his long-term future with the team is questionable. Everyone would love to see him recapture the excitement of his early campaigns. In the end, that may be just a dream.