The 2013 incarnation of the Indianapolis Colts will have more of the same faces that you saw from the 2012 season but will have many more unfamiliar faces. Did the 2013 draft and making a big splash in free agency help create a better Colts team to open the 2013 season than the 2012 Colts?
2012 Quarterbacks: Andrew Luck, Drew Stanton, Chandler Harnish
2013 Quarterbacks: Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck
Better. Andrew Luck will be more experienced than he was in 2012 and Matt Hasselbeck is a better option at backup than not only Drew Stanton but in the entire league. The Colts have learned from past mistakes and invested in a backup quarterback as a fallback plan in case Luck would to ever go down with injury.
2012 Running Backs: Donald Brown, Mewelde Moore, Vick Ballard, Mewelde Moore
2013 Running Backs: Ahmad Bradshaw, Vick Ballard, Donald Brown, Stanley Havili (Fullback)
Better. Ahmad Bradshaw, when healthy, is a very dual threat running back whether it be running or pass catching. The emergence of Vick Ballard also has helped bolster the talent at this position. The Colts now use a fullback too in Stanley Havili.
2012 Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Donnie Avery, T.Y Hilton, LaVon Brazill, Kris Adams
2013 Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey, T.Y Hilton, Griff Whalen, David Reed
Better. With the emergence of T.Y Hilton, it bolstered the Colts receiving core exponentially. Despite the turnover from 2012, Heyward-Bey looks to rectify is poor NFL career thus far with a new team in the Colts. Griff Whalen looks to take over slot receiver duties with Collie gone.
2012 Tight Ends: Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, Dominique Jones
2013 Tight Ends: Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, Justice Cunningham, Jack Doyle
Even. With the added depth being great, Coby Fleener has under delivered at the tight end position with Dwayne Allen out performing him in the 2012 season. Fleener also has gotten dinged up this past preseason and one can question his toughness on the field.
2012 Offensive Tackles: Anthony Castonzo, Winston Justice, Jeff Linkenbach
2013 Offensive Tackles: Anthony Castonzo, Gosder Cherilus, Jeff Linkenbach
Better. It’s mostly the same other than the loss of Justice and the addition of Cherilus who is far better than Justice.
2012 Offensive Guards: Mike McGlynn, Joe Reitz, Seth Olsen, Mike Pearson
2013: Offensive Guards: Donald Thomas, Mike McGlynn, Hugh Thorton, Joe Reitz
Better. Seth Olsen was pretty terrible last year and with Thomas coming over from New England, the line is exponentially better.
2012: Offensive Center: Samson Satele, A.Q. Shipley
2013 Offensive Center: Samson Satele, Khaled Holmes
Worse. A.Q Shipley played very well at the center position and the questionable move to trade them left me and possibly other Colts fans confused. Khaled Holmes was drafted in the 2013 draft but has had injuries throughout preseason.
2012 Nose Tackles: Antonio Johnson, Fili Moala
2013 Nose Tackles: Aubrayo Franklin, Josh Chapman, Fili Moala
Better. Indianapolis gets a new face at the nose tackle position as Johnson and Moala couldn’t get the job done. Franklin is a big guy who has imposed his will on players and Chapman has done the same during Alabama’s 2011 National Championship run.
2012: Defensive Ends: Cory Redding, Drake Nevis, Ricardo Mathews, Martin Tevaseu
2013 Defensive Ends: Cory Redding, Ricky Jean Francois, Montori Hughes, Ricardo Mathews
Better. It’s more of the same but with the addition of Francois and the drafting of Hughes (who raised eyes during preseason) , it looks to be better than the makeshift line that was had in 2012
2012 Outside Linebackers: Robert Mathis, Dwight Freeney, Jerry Hughes, Justin Hickman
2013 Outside Linebackers: Robert Mathis, Erik Walden, Bjoern Werner, Cam Johnson
Better. Freeney wasn’t comfortable in the standing position and Jerry Hughes did nothing to show any progress in his skill set in 2012. The signing of Walden was to stop the run while the drafting of Werner was to provide the pass rush even though he is still a raw player.
2012 Inside Linebackers: Pat Angerer, Kavell Conner, Jerrell Freeman, Moise Fokou, Mario Harvey
2013 Inside Linebackers: Jerrell Freeman, Kelvin Sheppard, Kavell Conner, Pat Angerer, Mario Harvey
Even. The linebacker core from 2012 was one of the few bright spots of the Colts defense with Freeman having a breakout year. Kelvin Sheppard, who played well in Buffalo looks to play opposite of Freeman.
2012 Cornerbacks: Jerraud Powers, Vontae Davis, Cassius Vaughn, Justin King, Josh Gordy
2013 Cornerbacks: Vontae Davis, Greg Toler, Darius Butler, Cassius Vaughn, Josh Gordy
Better. Losing Jerraud Powers hurts but he was injured every season since his rookie campaign in 2009. Toler had played very well in Arizona over the past few seasons while Butler is good enough to be a starter.
2012 Safeties: Antoine Bethea, Tom Zbikowski, Joe Lefeged, Sergio Brown
2013 Safeties: LaRon Landry, Antoine Bethea, Joe Lefeged, Sergio Brown, Delano Howell
Better. Zbikowski was not a very good safety last year plain and simple. That safety position hadn’t had the type of talent that LaRon Landry brings since Bob Sanders was still on the team.
2012 Special Teams: Adam Vinatieri, Pat McAfee, Matt Overton
2013 Special Teams: Adam Vinatieri, Pat McAfee, Matt Overton
Even. It’s the same squad with McAfee kicking like a pro-bowler and Vinatieri still has life in his leg.
On paper, the team looks better in ever facet than the 2012 team which bodes well for their 2013 outlook. However, we have yet to see them play on the field yet and in less than 24 hours, we will see what this team is made of.