INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The methodical makeover of the Indianapolis Colts is being applauded locally, but generating tepid reaction nationally.
General manager Chris Ballard wasted no time addressing a roster that featured a slew of players who were too old, too expensive and underachieving. A quick recap:
- 25 of the 66 players under contract at the end of last season – 37.9 percent – are no longer with the team.
- Of the 90 players currently under contract, 40 – 44.4 percent – have been Ballard acquisitions, either via veteran free agency, the draft or collegiate free agency.
Owner Jim Irsay admitted he isn’t certain “how good we can be, but we sure are looking to be playing in January. That’s our hope and I don’t think that’s unrealistic at all.’’
The level of trust in the Colts from the outside is mixed.
CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora predicts the Colts will step out of mediocrity – consecutive 8-8 records, remember? – and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. He has them, not Houston or Tennessee, winning the AFC South.
“Nothing has gone right for them in two years it seems, yet the Colts have remained in the hunt for the AFC South crown until the end,’’ La Canfora wrote. “Eventually that has to change. New GM Chris Ballard has added some teeth to the defense and the offensive line is actually coming together and isn’t as poor as many would have you believe.
“Andrew Luck is the best quarterback in the division and he has sufficient weapons on that side of the ball. Give me the top quarterback, especially in a division as traditionally weak as this one . . . I like the Colts’ chances of winning a tight race with the Titans for the division.’’
A pair of post-draft power rankings don’t agree.
NFL.com ranks the Colts 20th, behind the Titans (12th) and Texans (16th). Jacksonville (26th) trails. ESPN.com has the Colts 19th, ahead of the Jaguars (27th) but behind Houston (11th) and Tennessee (12th).
Here’s where we remind you we’re in the second week of May, and things written this time of the year are quickly forgotten when September rolls around.
One item of interest, though, caught our eye.
According to Bovada, an online gambling site, the Colts are in the top-half of the league in terms Super Bowl odds. They’re at 33/1, tied for 12th. The Colts are bunched with Arizona, Carolina, Minnesota and New Orleans.
Not surprisingly, the early Super Bowl favorites are the reigning champion New England Patriots (7/2). Next in line, all at 12/1 are Atlanta, Dallas, Green Bay, Oakland and Seattle.
Odds for the other AFC South teams: Houston at 16/1, Tennessee at 40/1 and Jacksonville 100/1. The longest shots: San Francisco and Cleveland, at 200/1.