Indianapolis Colts: 2012 Stat Predictions for Key Offensive Players
The Indianapolis Colts' 2012 offense will feature many new faces (six of the 10 key offensive players are new to the team) to go along with a new offense under new head coach Chuck Pagano and new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
That's a lot of "new," which could make it difficult when projecting stats for the upcoming season.
On second thought, maybe it's not as difficult as it appears.
Even though the Colts have yet to play a game with all those new faces, Pagano gave some insight, according to Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post, on how he intends to play: "'[Y]ou've got to run the football and you've got to stop the run to be successful, at any level.'"
Colts fans are also familiar with Arians, as he was the Colts' quarterbacks coach from 1998 to 2000. Back are Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Donald Brown and Delone Carter. We've also seen the Andrew Luck-Coby Fleener connection at Stanford.
So, even with all this "new," maybe the Colts' offense isn't as unknown as it looks.
Here are my stat predictions for the Colts' 10 key offensive players.
Andrew Luck: 3,700 YDS, 23 TD, 17 INT
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I've thought for a while that Andrew Luck and the Colts will have a year similar to what Cam Newton and the Panthers had last year. Maybe five to six wins, and Luck having numbers comparable to Newton's. Newton threw for 4,051 yards with 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
Now, even though Chuck Pagano implied via the Denver Post that the Colts will focus more on the run, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians does like to throw the ball all over the field. Just check out Ben Roethlisberger's 2007 numbers when Arians arrived in Pittsburgh as the offensive coordinator.
Roethlisberger threw for over 3,000 yards with 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. That's 14 more touchdowns and 12 fewer interceptions than the previous year. It was also Roethlisberger's first Pro Bowl.
Couple that with the expectation that the Colts will be playing catch-up in many of their games, and I see Luck throwing for 3,700 yards with 23 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
Reggie Wayne: 1,000 YDS, 80 REC, 6 TD
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Reggie Wayne saw a big dip in his stats last year. Even though he appears to have lost a step, he sure didn't benefit from having Curtis Painter, Kerry Collins and Dan Orlovsky throwing him the ball instead of Peyton Manning.
This season, he'll have a better quarterback delivering the ball, but will that translate to better stats?
Wayne's receptions and yards per season actually improved from 2008 (82 catches for 1,145 yards) to 2009 (100 catches for 1,264 yards) and again in 2010 (111 catches for 1,355 yards). Last year, he had only 75 receptions totaling 960 yards.
At this stage of his career, Wayne is more of a possession receiver than the go-to guy. That doesn't mean he can't put up good numbers, though. I just think those numbers will more closely resemble last season's than those of seasons prior.
Eighty receptions for 1,000 yards and six touchdowns would be a solid year for Wayne.
Austin Collie: 800 YDS, 60 REC, 5 TD
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Like Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie's stats took a hit last year.
In just nine games in 2010, Collie had 58 receptions for 649 yards and eight touchdowns. In 16 games last season, he had 54 receptions for 514 yards and just one touchdown.
Things are looking up for Collie heading in to the 2012 season. Per Josh Wilson via stampedeblue.com, he likes his new quarterback, saying during camp, "'Andrew's got it. You can tell he's on his stuff, just the way he's pointing out his hots and stuff.'"
Collie will most likely line up in the No. 2 receiver spot instead of the slot, meaning he should see the field more than last year.
It's reasonable to expect 60 receptions for 800 yards and five touchdowns.
Coby Fleener: 550 YDS, 50 REC, 5 TD
Coby Fleener has a big advantage over most rookie tight ends. Not only is he big and fast with great hands, but also his quarterback in the pros is the same guy he had passing him the ball in college.
And what a tandem they were at Stanford.
Last year alone, Fleener averaged close to 20 yards per reception and picked up 10 touchdowns. You've got to think Luck will look Fleener's way quite a bit in their rookie seasons.
Combine that with Bruce Arians' fondness of using the tight end in the passing game, and it's easy to see Fleener reaching 550 yards on 50 receptions and five touchdowns.
Dwayne Allen: 250 YDS, 20 REC, 1 TD
The Colts will use a lot of two-tight-end sets this year, which means rookie third-round pick Dwayne Allen will get thrown into the fire immediately.
While fellow rookie tight end Coby Fleener should get a lot of looks from Andrew Luck, Allen, who showed off his great blocking skills at Clemson, will be asked to do just that—block.
He'll still get his fair share of targets, though. And even though he was considered more of a blocking tight end coming out of college, he possesses good pass-catching skills as well.
In his rookie season, he could tally 20 receptions for 250 yards and a touchdown.
Donald Brown: 700 YDS, 4 TD
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The inconsistent career of former first-round draft pick Donald Brown has driven many a Colts fan crazy. Is he a bust?
Fair question. Maybe he is.
One thing is for certain: This is a make-or-break year for Brown. He's the veteran of the Colts' backfield and No. 1 on the depth chart for the first time.
The restructured Colts offensive line should do a better job of run-blocking than previous versions. With Pagano wanting to run the football more, Brown should have every opportunity to prove himself.
He's just a hard guy to trust, though. It's unknown whether or not he'll make it through the season as the starter, as Delone Carter and Vick Ballard are behind him.
The prediction: 700 yards and four touchdowns, which is similar to last year's 645 yards and five touchdowns.
Donnie Avery: 275 YDS, 21 REC, 1 TD
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Donnie Avery is another new face on offense. A once promising receiver with lightning fast speed, Avery missed the entire 2010 campaign with a torn ACL. He caught on with the Titans last season, but only grabbed three receptions for 45 yards and one touchdown.
So, the question is, is Avery fully recovered from that ACL injury?
If you believe Avery, he has his speed back and the knee isn't an issue. Per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, he told Indianapolis reporters about a very good 40-yard-dash time he recorded last year: "'Last year after the injury, after the lockout, I did clock a 4.25.'"
Until I see it on Sunday, though, I'll remain a bit skeptical.
I envision 275 yards on 21 receptions and a touchdown for Avery.
T.Y. Hilton: 425 YDS, 35 REC, 3 TD
I was happy when the Colts picked up T.Y. Hilton in the draft. Even though they could've used some help on defense, Hilton is a guy that can step right in to return kicks and punts. He is also a prototypical slot receiver.
In a word, he's explosive.
He's a playmaker. He ran a 4.37 40 at the NFL Combine.
Bruce Arians will find ways to get him the ball, and get it to him in places where he can break off long runs.
A good bet for Hilton next year would be 35 receptions for 425 yards and three touchdowns.
Delone Carter: 400 YDS, 3 TD
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Delone Carter had an up-and-(mostly)-down rookie season last year. He found himself in the doghouse after a few fumbles, and never really saw much time after that. He managed 377 yards on 101 carries and two touchdowns.
But Carter still showed promise last year. In the Colts' embarrassing loss to the Saints, Carter ran for 89 yards on just 10 carries. He's a capable back, but he just needs the opportunities to show it.
With Chuck Pagano saying he wants to keep his running backs fresh (via indystar.com), and the uncertainty surrounding Donald Brown, Carter may see more action this year.
I have him with 400 yards and three touchdowns.
Vick Ballard: 500 YDS, 4 TD
I actually look for rookie Vick Ballard to pass Delone Carter on the depth chart this year, and maybe even Donald Brown. Ballard's a big (5'10", 220 lbs), downhill running back that I think Chuck Pagano would favor over the other backs on the roster.
According to Brad Wells via stampedeblue.com, Ballard impressed teammates and coaches in minicamp. He may start out as a goal-line back and/or a third-down back, but he'll get enough carries to post 500 yards and four touchdowns.
Follow Brian on Twitter @coldy4goldy.