Indianapolis Colts' Biggest Early-Season Story Lines
Last season, the Colts didn't get their first win until Week 15. After Sunday's win over the Vikings, the Colts are halfway to their win total of 2011. It's the little things that you look at when your team is rebuilding, er, building the monster.
Here's a look at some of the story lines for the Colts heading in to Week 3.
The Maturation of Andrew Luck
Yes, the expectations for Andrew Luck were enormous. Yes, he lived up to them in the preseason.
Yes, the preseason.
Luck had a rough first game in Chicago (as many quarterbacks do) against a very good Bears defense. He had three picks and only completed 51 percent of his passes. He performed much better at home against the Vikings, completing 64.5 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Now, better numbers against the Vikings at home than the Bears on the road is to be expected. What shows Luck maturing and getting better before our eyes is the way he got those numbers.
One big example is his touchdown pass to Dwayne Allen against the Vikings.
Jump back to a similar situation in Week 1, when the Colts had the ball at the Bears' 10-yard line late in the third quarter. Luck dropped back to pass and seemed to lob the ball up to Reggie Wayne in the end zone between two defenders. The pass was picked off.
Fast forward to Sunday against the Vikings, where the Colts were faced with a 3rd-and-goal from the 3-yard line. Again, Luck threw to the end zone (this time to Dwayne Allen) between two defenders. The difference was, this pass had some steam on it, and it was low. Dwayne Allen was the only one who was going to catch the football.
Just like we've seen in preseason, Luck doesn't make the same mistake twice, and he just continues to get better.
Donnie Avery is Emerging as a Viable No. 2 Receiver
There were a lot of questions surrounding Donnie Avery after he signed with the Colts in the offseason.
Does he still have it?
Will he stay healthy?
After two weeks, so far, so good. Avery is ranked in the top 10 in the AFC in both receptions and receiving yards, and has the most targets on the team behind Reggie Wayne. With Austin Collie's status uncertain, the Colts needed someone to step up and give Andrew Luck a reliable target opposite Wayne. Avery has risen to the challenge and produced.
And yeah, he's still got the speed. Check out the 45-yard bomb Luck threw to Avery with two minutes left in the first quarter against the Vikings. Avery got behind the defender, and would've scored if the ball was thrown out in front of him.
The Offensive Line is Still an Issue
While Luck and Avery have been positives, the offensive line has been, well, what we're used to in Indianapolis. That is to say, it hasn't been good.
This year's version of the offensive line was pieced together through free agents and trades. Left tackle Anthony Costanzo was the only sure, returning starter from a year ago. With the additions of Samson Satele, Winston Justice and Mike McGlynn, I figured this group had to be better than last year's squad.
I was wrong.
Are they worse? No, but they're certainly not better. You can blame it on injuries (they could really use Joe Reitz), or everyone still learning the new offense. The bottom line is, this line's play is terrible.
It seems like Andrew Luck is always having to sidestep the rush. The running backs are regularly getting hit in the backfield.
I do like the signing of Trai Essex, and Joe Reitz should be back soon, but we saw Samson Satele leave the game Sunday. Mike McGlynn took Satele's place at center. From that moment on, every shotgun snap made me cringe.
If everyone can get healthy, I'm still holding out hope that this line will improve.
Follow Brian on Twitter @coldy4goldy.
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