Back at it. New season. Anything is possible. (Indianapolis Colts 2022-23 short thoughts for season)

So here we are. After losing to Jacksonville in what is an absolutely intolerable fashion and getting bounced from the playoff picture, after going out and getting Matt Ryan, and after having to wait a LONG, LONG offseason it is finally upon us. The Indianapolis Colts 2022-2023 Season.

Man, I love football. The people, the game, the sheer audacity of scale that is the NFL. It is the best. Whenever I think of the civil unrest and questions about America’s place in the world, I just remember that hey, if it were so great anywhere else… Why don’t they have football? Huh!?! Perspective is the key to growth people.

I am very optimistic heading into this season for our Boys in Blue. So before we kick off the season against the Houston Texans, I wanted to touch on a few short thoughts of mine. I am no expert, don’t pretend to be. I just write from an often times overly-optimistic fan’s perspective.

So first things first. The front office.

It’s his world, you’re just livin’ in it.

While the front office seems to be working in harmony, the big bet that is hoping a QB solution just falls into place each year can not continue. I just can’t see it being sustainable. and I don’t think that Jim Irsay is fine with not having a franchise staple under center. And after owning the team during the Manning to Luck eras, who can blame him? Here’s hoping a second breathe leads to a new Ryan era to last a few seasons before having to find a face for the franchise.

On that, next is Matt Ryan. I have so many hopes for Matt this year, least of which is a surprise MVP run. Why can’t this happen? I mean he had nothing in ATL. I mean… NOOOTTHHIINNGGG. Give him a few weapons, and an offensive line, why can’t he make it back to absolutely elite QB play. He’s old. What does that even mean anymore? These guys are balling far past the old age of expiration, no reason Marty Ice can’t follow suit. Matt Ryan’s had backs like Devonte Freeman and Tevin Coleman (shout out Hoosiers) to open up his passing game. But now with Jonathon Taylor, Matt Ryan has the most threatening run game in the league to take pressure off his passing game. Opening up coverage, coverage vets like Matt absolutely take advantage of.

Now onto Jonathon Taylor a bit more. Actually what more needs said? You know the expectations. Now it’s time for him to go out and exceed those.

So… Shaq. I’ve let it marinate, and I’ve got to say, I love it. “Shaq Leonard” is the type of name that endows whomever claims it with at least +5 hit power. Shaq Leonard sounds like a name of someone who is bringing the pain on each and every hit he’s making. If Khaleesi was the Mother of Dragons, Shaq is the Father of Turnovers, so he can do whatever the heck he wants. With a healthy ankle for the first time since his rookie season (each season still just NFL history making stuff), Shaq Leonard is looking to show the NFL why the Colts paid him, not that he hasn’t done that already. But I think he wants to bring the national eye and really ire to Indy, and I love that. He’s a true captain setting the tone in each facet of the defense, I expect nothing less than to see running backs getting entirely demoralized by the “SHAQ TRUCK” (workshopping that one) and no less than a dozen “strip-shaqs” (I’ll admit that one’s terrible).

We added some dogs on the defense. And the bad taste in our mouths from Jacksonville has been able to marinate with our boys and has been calcified. Ngakoue will add a sense of pressure that our defense greatly lacked last season. Glad to see Deforest getting some help. I expect this signing to greatly assist Deforest’s ability to create havoc in the backfield by reducing the attention he can be allotted by the opposing offensive line. More threats, more pressure, better defense. That tracks.

Lastly, it’s proving time for one Colt for sure. While I had expected the Colts to go and pay a receiver this offseason, they didn’t. Thus showing Michael Pittman, after he was drafted with the intention of being our WR1 to build around, the Colts are all in with him. It’s put up or shut up for Michael Pittman Jr. this offense could potentially be the most explosive of the Reich’s career. With the biggest question being our receivers, it’s time for Michael Pittman to come into his own as an elite WR1. I think he’s got it in him.

Just keeping it short and sweet. I’m looking for a team that is hungriest at the end of the season. We can not have the late season collapse that seemed to be built on a foundation of complacency with being ok with just making the playoffs. This is no longer the case, is Colts fans expect a contender, and I’m thinking this Sunday, we will see just that.

Thank you all for taking the time to read. I don’t have a cushy writing gig, I don’t pretend to know more than the professionals. I just love the Colts. So if you’d like to read more from a fan just like the rest of us join us back here for pregame and post game posts all season!

For the Shoe!

-Burke

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