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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Opening day is here and the Colts aren’t close to being ready

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It’s the favorite time of year for you NFL fans. The beginning of a new season where every team is undefeated and carries Super Bowl aspirations out of the tunnel and on to the playing field for their first contest of the year.

Up until now it’s been staged drills in practice, mixed in with a couple of joint sessions with another wannabe champion and then three rather pedestrian preseason tilts which really do nothing but finalize the roster and develop the practice squad.

That will change this Sunday when the Jacksonville Jaguars arrive to Lucas Oil Stadium to face the Indianapolis Colts in an inner division game that not only counts in the standings but also gives the home crowd their first real look at a highly anticipated rookie quarterback, and a new coach who now must face the fire without the services of his best player on each side of the ball due to injuries and highly publicized contractual disputes. 

Yes, quarterback Anthony Richardson will be handing the ball off to a corp of running backs you’ve never heard of while throwing it to a group of receivers that on their best day are simply average and certainly not the type to take the team to the proverbial promised land.

Mix in an offensive line that performed poorly last season along with a totally unproven secondary, and it’s easy to see why there’s a multitude of alleged football experts smarter than me who’ve already written this team off before the season begins and initiated the valid discussion about just how high the Colts will draft next year.

First year Head Coach Shane Steichen was brought in after showing the pedigree necessary to help the continual develop of talented young quarterbacks such as Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts, and while he has had previous success as an offensive coordinator, he knew when he took the job here that the two keys to this team’s overall production would be running back Jonathan Taylor and linebacker Shaquille Leonard, and with neither of them at his disposal this week against the Jaguars, his job becomes even more daunting.

So, just how bad is this Colts roster, and what exactly can their loyal fans expect this season from their beloved squad?

Well, not much. This team won’t even come remotely close to sniffing the playoffs, and l can’t envision a scenario in which they win more than five games, but as stated previously, everyone is undefeated the first game of the season and maybe just playing hard on every down and leaving it all on the field will suffice for a fanbase that certainly had much higher expectations this season.

Character and integrity are always tested in sports when you’re slated to revel in dire mediocrity, and we’re about to find out just how much of those two important qualities this team has. That alone won’t win at the NFL level, but it can go a long way to establishing some respectability, and right now that’s all you diehard Colts fans can hope for. Time will tell, but this forecast isn’t simply calling for rain, but rather a tsunami.

Notes: The Colts will kick off the opening weekend of their season with a free concert performance from the Jim Irsay Band. This stellar collection of musicians is a must see for rock music fans.

You can also peruse the fabulous collection of artifacts the owner exhibits from time to time for no cost as well. For details, go to the Jim Irsay Collection website.

If you can’t join the Colts faithful at Lucas Oil Stadium this Sunday, you can watch the game on WXIN FOX 59 at 1pm or tune in to the Colts Radio Network for the golden tones of play-by-play announcer Matt Taylor. 

Danny Bridges, who is both impressed and confused by the resolve that Colts fans continue to demonstrate year after year, can be reached at (317) 370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com. 

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