1. How will the Colts defensive line look?
Since Chuck Pagano’s arrival to Indianapolis, the defensive-minded coach has seen his defensive line be an Achilles Heel for the team. Former 1st round pick Bjorn Werner has yet to live up to expectations. Cory Redding will be playing in a different uniform while Josh Chapman has yet to record a sack since entering the league. The Colts made an attempt to bolster their defensive line in signing former St. Louis Rams player Kendall Langford. Langford will be in the 3-4 since 2011 with Miami where he claims to have played at his best. It will also be interesting to see how fellow rookies David Parry and Henry Anderson are implemented as well. But given that they are first year players, expectations should be tempered. The X factor in all of this will be Arthur Jones. Last season, an injury limited him to 9 games and visibly slowed him when he did play. However, when healthy, he is the Colts best interior defensive lineman. If the Colts plan to take the next step and win a world championship, a large part of that hinges on the play of their defensive line.
2. Who will stand out amongst a talented group of wide receivers?
Right now, the Colts most talent latent position is also one its most intriguing. Speedy rookie Phillip Dorsett turned heads at OTA’s while Andre Johnson looks to step in as the team’s replacement to Reggie Wayne. The Colts hope that Johnson can give them the same type of veteran presence that Wayne had given them. Second year upstart receiver Donte’ Moncrief is also looking to take a leap after showing promise his rookie year. Add this in with intriguing CFL product Duron Carter and you get a wide receiver competition that will be amongst the league’s most watched during training camp. And of course, this all without mentioning the team’s best receiver in T.Y. Hilton, whom has his spot securely locked as Luck’s primary weapon.
3. How will the Colts rushing attack take shape?
Much to the dismay of Colts fans everywhere, the Colts released Trent Richardson in the offseason (might just be a tad bit of sarcasm in there). With Richardson out, former 49er’s running back Frank Gore is in. It’s fair to assume that Gore will be the workhorse back but the real question lies in who’s behind him. Ahmad Bradshaw is gone as well and given his age, injuries and off field incident this offseason, it’s likely the Colts don’t bring him back. Vick Ballard returns in a contract year after two devastating knee injuries the past couple of seasons. It’ll be interesting to see what he has left in the tank after his rookie year showed some upside. Daniel “Boom” Herron returns after showing a few flashes towards of the end of the regular season. The Colts will keep a close on eye on Herron to see if his fumbling issue has improved. Zurlon Tipton looks to get more playing time after playing sparingly last season along with rookie Josh Robinson out of Mississippi State. All in all, the Colts running back position will be an interesting one to see develop.
4. Will the Colts offensive line finally click?
Arguably the biggest question heading into camp this year is how the Colts offensive line will take form. For much of last season, problems with protecting Andrew Luck remained at the forefront. It wasn’t until later in the year that the unit started to gel, with its best performance coming in the wildcard playoff game against the Bengals. Anthony Castanzo was the lone consistency on an otherwise roller coaster offensive line. Outside of Castanzo though, there are many questions to be answered. For one, how will Jack Mewhort fair at the right tackle position? Given the Colts decision to release Gosder Cherilius, it’s apparent that the Colts feel confident with Mewhort at that spot. Another position on the line to watch will be the center position. Last season, the position was a revolving door between A.Q. Shipley, Khaled Holmes and Jonotthan Harrison. It appears that the job is Holmes’s to lose heading into camp so we’ll see if he holds on to it. The Colts brought in longtime Philadelphia Eagle Todd Herremans to likely fill the right guard position. However, given his age, it’s fair to wonder if he will remain there all season. Lastly, the left guard position is up for grabs. While Hugh Thornton has played there, Lance Louis should also be looked at to start at a position that is notably its most weakest.
The Colts open camp to the public on Sunday August 2nd.