The 2017 NFL season is fast approaching, and I’ve come up with a list of the 10 things I’m excited to watch this year.
- A healthy Andrew Luck
Last season, Andrew Luck was not healthy. He spent the entirety of the season either missing practices or practicing on a limited basis each week, and his shoulder required surgery right after the season was over. Despite all of that, Luck threw for 4200 yards and 31 touchdowns, posting a 96 passer rating and being the 4th highest rated qb last season according to pro football focus. I’m excited to see Andrew Luck when he’s healthy and again being the baddest man on the field.
2) T.Y. Hilton following up his league leading 2016 season.
T.Y. Hilton was incredible last season, and he led the league in receiving yards in 2016. Despite doing that, he is still often overlooked when people are considering the top level receivers in the league. I’m looking forward to seeing T.Y. follow up an amazing 2016 season, and putting together back to back incredible years to burst into that discussion of best receivers in the league.
3) Frank Gore Chasing History
In 2016, Frank Gore became the oldest rb since John Riggins to rush for over 1000 yards. If he can do that again he can make history by becoming the 4th leading rusher in NFL history. Frank Gore has had an illustrious career which should end in Canton, Ohio with a bust in the Hall of Fame. Frank Gore is chasing history this season, and I cannot wait to watch him achieve it.
4) Big Ol’ Jonathon Hankins
Chuck Pagano has spent 5 season attempting to run a 3-4 defense without a true nose tackle, which makes it nearly impossible. Chris Ballard got Pagano his guy in Jonathon Hankins, and Hankins is a load. Weighing in at 320 lbs, Hankins is a natural to take on blocks, get push up the middle, and disrupt the run game from the snap. Hankins will help bolster a run defense that has been atrocious as long as most Colts fans can remember
5) Rookie Safety Malik Hooker
Malik Hooker was considered by many to perhaps be the top player all of the draft this past season, and because of a run on pass rusher and offensive skill players he was able to fall to the Colts. Hooker will step right in and play the role of ball hawking safety, with his job being to find the football and create turnovers. He has elite, game changing range, and will immediately provide a play-making ability for a defense that caused a a miserable 17 total turnovers last season.
6) Henry Anderson and Kendall Langford healthy
Not only is Jonathon Hankins stepping in and bolstering a defensive line that struggled last season, but the defense will also get help by getting healthy. Both Kendall Langford and Henry Anderson were strengths of the defense in 2015, yet neither were ever fully healthy in 2016. Anderson was one of the best rookie defenders in all of the league in 2015, and in the race for defensive rookie of the year before tearing an ACL. He’s back now and fully healthy, and should go great alongside Hankins on the line. Kendall Langford was also injuried nearly all season last year with a knee injury, after posting 7 sacks in 2015. These two back on the field alongside Hankins gets me pumped to see what the defensive line can do in 2017.
7) Jack Doyle
With no more Dwayne Allen on the team, Jack Doyle is the man at tight end this season for the Colts. The all purpose tight end caught an impressive 86% of targets thrown his way last year, good for 2nd among tight ends. He also was the Colts second leading receiver behind only T.Y. Hilton. Jack Doyle seemed to be Luck’s comfort blanket as things would break down, it always seemed Doyle was there, open, always catching it and picking up a first down. I can’t wait to see what Jack Doyle can do this season as the #1 tight end, and he should build upon a breakout 2016 season.
8) Who emerges as a breakout star?
Every year I get pumped to see who’s going to break out at camp, and carry that over into the regular season. Last year that seemed to be Chester Rogers. This year, I’m going to say it’s Quincy Wilson. The defense is young and athletic, and a core member of that youth movement is 2nd round pick Wilson. He’s going to get plenty of opportunity to make plays opposite of Vontae Davis, and he has the skills to wreck havoc.
On the offensive side of the ball, I can’t wait to watch what Marlon Mack has in store. The guy has game breaking speed, and seems like a perfect guy to change the pace from Frank Gore and Robert Turbin.
9) The AFC South Race
Don’t let the main stream media poke fun at the AFC South anymore as it may be the most competitive divisional race in the NFL next season. The Texans still have the #1 defense in the league, and have drafted a quarterback to lead them to what they hope is a deep playoff run. The Titans sneakily had one of the top offenses in the league last year, led by 2 sledgehammers of running backs. Even the Jacksonville Jaguars had one of the best defenses in the league, and now they added to that in A.J. Boye, and drafting the best running back in the draft in Leonard Fournette. The AFC South is heating up, and I would not be surprised to see 3 top 10 defenses, and 2 top 10 offenses coming from this division alone.
10) Energy at Lucas Oil Stadium
Can you feel it? This team is starting to have a buzz again that is resembling of the Manning era Colts. People are getting high expectations, and are starting to believe in the team and roster again. The Colts have one of the most exciting offenses in the league and Ballard is trying to build a defense to go along side with it. Last year, there was no buzz during games, people were looking for something to cheer for. It seemed that the Colts never got the crowd into the game because the defense was so awful, and the Offense sputtered too often. I’m looking forward to that buzz we’ve had in Lucas Oil before, and one to rival the RCA dome days. Colt’s fans, its time to bring the excitement back to the team.
These are some of the reasons i’m pumped for the 2017 season. Why are you?
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