Andrew Luck and the Colts will strive to go deeper in the playoffs in 2013.
Their season ended on January 6 with a 24-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card Round of the NFL playoffs. They finished the regular season at 11-5, a nine-game improvement from the previous season's 2-14 disaster.
Said Richards of the Colts' rookies:
Perhaps one has a chance to impact that character more profoundly than the Colts' precocious rookie class. They have been immersed. They understand what it is and what it takes and Pagano said the coaching staff will identify and recommend two or three specific things for each player to focus on.
In the same report, running back Vick Ballard will focus more on his blocking and run reads as areas of improvement. Tight end Dwayne Allen will make conditioning a priority since he felt preparing for Clemson's pro day and the NFL Combine hampered it a bit last year.
Luck agrees there is still plenty of room for improvement. He may have established a rookie record for passing yards with 4,374 in 2012, but if what he said in the report is any indication, he should be back with a vengeance in 2013.
Richards quoted the quarterback as saying "I think just improving accuracy, footwork and making the different throws. I think I have a feel for how fast things occur, how different guys get out of breaks, depths of routes, things of that nature. Just building up more rapport with the receivers, the tight ends and the running backs."
As for player movement, the Anderson Herald Bulletin reports a number of free agents may eventually test the market, including outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, punter Pat McAfee, cornerback Jerraud Powers, wide receiver Donnie Avery and right tackle Winston Justice.
In a separate report written by George Bremer of the same newspaper, Bremer says both McAfee and Powers have indicated a desire to remain with Indianapolis.
As of January 15, the Colts have around 58 players under contract for the 2013 season. Salary cap space is expected to hover around the $40 million range.
Indianapolis GM Ryan Grigson promised to be aggressive in making the roster more competitive than ever. Bremer reiterates the goal of putting together a deep roster and allowing players to battle it out for slots in training camp. This kind of competition is what both Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano thrive on.
In spite of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' hiring as Arizona Cardinals head coach on January 17, look for the front office to lock up a solid replacement to keep the team competitive in this area. Indy finished 10th overall in the 2012 regular season in terms of total offense after racking up a net total of 5,799 yards.
Even prior to Arians' impending departure, Grigson said he is always prepared for such a situation.
In an interview with Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star, Grigson said "With success comes these types of obstacles to overcome. That's my job. Much like player acquisition, I have to go through names with Chuck and hash things out and come to a capable successor to him."
Colts fans can be assured that the team will be in the upper echelon of the NFL for quite some time. As per Pagano in Bremer's article, "The foundation has been laid. It's a solid foundation, and it's one that we can build on. I'm really looking forward to the future. I feel like we have a bright, bright future ahead of us for many years to come."
Nothing can be more satisfying than that.