Indianapolis Colts training camp opens Wednesday and will do so without Coach Frank Reich, who is quarantining, but it really shouldn’t affect Indy in the long run as this could be a legit Super Bowl contender on the NFL odds if new QB Carson Wentz can bounce back from an awful 2020 season in Philadelphia.
NFL Analysis Indianapolis Colts
- Regular-season win total: 10
- Odds to win AFC South: +110
- Odds to win AFC: +1200
- Odds to win Super Bowl 56: +2500
Despite being vaccinated for COVID, Reich recently tested positive and thus will miss the start of camp – he can join the team at the earliest next Monday. Per the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, a fully vaccinated and asymptomatic individual like Reich can return to duty after two negative tests at least 24 hours apart. He will thereafter be tested every two weeks or as directed by the medical staffs. Although Reich is physically away from the Colts, he will still be involved in meetings through Zoom and will remain in contact with players and staff. The team didn’t name an interim coach.
The Colts dealt two draft picks to the Eagles in exchange for the 28-year-old Wentz this spring. In Indianapolis, Wentz will be re-united with Reich, who was his offensive coordinator with the Eagles in 2016 and 2017 — and, in 2017, Wentz was an MVP candidate before he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 14. Wentz is the clear-cut starter in place of the retired Philip Rivers. There here will be a strong competition behind Wentz to see who the Colts’ backup will be between Jacob Eason and rookie Sam Ehlinger.
The Colts have one of the best young running backs in the NFL in Jonathan Taylor. He finished his rookie season with 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns. Fellow RB Marlon Mack (Achilles) is “100 percent” to start training camp. Mack tore his Achilles’ tendon in Week 1 last year. Mack rushed for nearly 1,100 yards in 2019.
Indy was also able to re-sign to wideout TY Hilton to a one-year, $10 million deal. After battling through injuries in recent seasons, Hilton was available for all but one game last year, catching 56 passes for 762 yards and five touchdowns, helping the Colts finish 11-5. In his Colts career, he has five seasons of 1,000-plus yards and four Pro Bowl selections. Fellow WR and 2019 second-round pick Parris Campbell has basically lost his first two seasons to injuries, with a knee issue costing him the final 14 games of 2020.
The team signed left tackle Eric Fisher, the former No. 1 overall pick this offseason, but he has begun camp on the active/PUP list. That was expected with Fisher six months removed from a torn Achilles. There’s a good chance he won’t be ready until October. Last year’s starting left tackle, Anthony Castonzo, retired.
Defensively, there are few linebackers better than former Defensive Rookie of the Year Darius Leonard. The team is trying to lock him up to a long-term deal. Leonard recently had a “small procedure on his ankle” and will miss some early practices but nothing major. Fully established as one of the league’s best linebackers after earning two first team All-Pro nods and one second-team in his first three seasons, Leonard likely will not be affected much by the missed practice time. He was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2018, when he led the NFL in tackles.
The Colts open the season on Sept. 12 vs. Seattle as 2.5-point favorites on the NFL odds.
- 11-6 record, first in AFC South
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