Colts played hard, but failed to finish games

INDIANAPOLIS — The INDIANApolis Colts could not seem to get out of
their own way during 2017 season.

Indianapolis finished with a 4-12 record and wound up with a
third-place finish in the AFC South thanks to sweeping the series
with division-rival Houston.

It was the Colts’ worst record since 2011, when the team finished
with a 2-14 mark. Indianapolis will now have the third overall pick
in the 2018 draft.

Injuries once again played havoc with the Colts’ roster as the team
wound up with 17 players on the injured reserve list by the end of
the season.

That list included quite a few key starters, including quarterback
Andrew Luck, running back Robert Turbin, rookie safety (and
first-round pick) Malik Hooker, cornerback Pierre Desir, outside
linebacker John Simon, inside linebacker Jon Bostic, guard Jack
Mewhort, center Ryan Kelly and defensive end Henry Anderson.

Other starters, such as wide receiver Donte Moncrief, cornerback
Rashaan Melvin and tackle Denzelle Good, missed significant playing
time.

Still, despite the health issues and the uncertainty of which
players would be able to play each week, the Colts were able to be
competitive most of the season.

Indianapolis certainly had its chances to win games. But the Colts
failed to hold the lead in five games during the season. That was
two more than any other team in the league.

Consistency of effort was good for the most part. Finishing out
games was the biggest on-field problem.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: The Colts’ defensive line finally started to take
shape in 2017, thanks largely to the addition of a pair of free
agents — defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and nose tackle Al
Woods — along with the return of defensive end Henry Anderson.
Throw in the continued development of defensive tackle Hassan
Ridgeway and the addition of rookie defensive tackle Grover Stewart
and Indianapolis has some nice building blocks with which to work.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Not having quarterback Andrew Luck available for
the entire season was the biggest problem. Team officials had hoped
backup quarterback Scott Tolzien could hold down the fort until
Luck returned at some point. But Tolzien struggled badly in his
only start of the season, and Luck never made it back to the
practice field on a regular basis. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett
arrived just before the start of the regular season and was forced
to play catch-up the rest of the way.

MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER: Quarterback Scott Tolzien would probably
edge out safety T.J. Green in his category. Tolzien had played
relatively well in his only start during a 2016 homefield start
against Pittsburgh. So hopes were high that he could handle the job
if starter Andrew Luck was sidelined short or long term. That
didn’t happen. Tolzien had an up-and-down preseason followed by a
bad performance in a season-opening road loss to the Rams. That
forced the team to start quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was
acquired during the weekend of the cuts to 53 players.

MOST SURPRISING PLAYER: Cornerback Rashaan Melvin. He began the
season as the “other” cornerback who lined up opposite Pro Bowler
Vontae Davis. But as the season progressed and Davis battled
injuries, it was Melvin who developed into the Colts’ most
consistent cornerback. He wound up tying for the team lead in
interceptions with three (along with rookie safety Malik Hooker)
and could wind up with a nice new contract during the offseason.

ASSISTANT COACH ON THE RISE: While there’s uncertainty as to which
person will wind up as Indianapolis’ new head coach, quarterbacks
coach Brian Schottenheimer did a nice job of working with Jacoby
Brissett during the season. Brissett was added to the roster a few
days before the start of the regular season and was forced to learn
the Colts’ offensive system in a hurry. Schottenheimer, though, was
there to help him work his way through the playbook.

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