American Football

The Colts continue to stay the same while the AFC South grows stronger


NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While the Colts tread water, the rest of the South is making moves.

The Indianapolis Colts have been focused on one thing and one thing only this offseason. For most teams that one thing is get better by improving the roster. Not the Colts, however. Their goal this offseason is to stay exactly the same. Like, the same. The exact same. The frustratingly, no moves, no upgrades, going to stay the same as last year, same.

The Colts brought back Julian Blackmon on a one year deal on Tuesday. By itself, I like the deal well enough. A prove it year to see what you got is smart for the team. It is also smart for Blackmon. In a year in which there is a lot of similar talent floating around, defer one year and bet on yourself to have an impact season before cashing in. This move helps the team focus on other areas instead of this needing to be addressed in the draft.

The problem is, what has changed from last year? The Colts finished 28th in team defense. 28th. I am not much of a math guy, but 28th out of 32 teams seems pretty poor to me and is an obvious place to upgrade the roster. Nope, not this team. The unwavering philosophy is to reward your guys and bring them all back.

Across the AFC South, the Texans made a major splash by trading for Stefon Diggs. Who knows how this works out in the end, but right now, you can’t say it didn’t make them better and the clear favorite to win the division. C.J. Stroud has a full year under his belt, Joe Mixon will run the ball, and Danielle Hunter will do what he does by terrorizing the opposing quarterback. (Yes, they lost people too, but come on. They got better for sure.)

Not that I fear the Titans as much as the Texans, but they too improved. Adding Calvin Ridley and L’Jarius Sneed provide more skill and depth to the team. The Jaguars are more of a mixed bag, but they did add Ronald Darby, Gabe Davis, and Arik Armstead. Sometimes name recognition alone doesn’t do much to move the needle, but overall, I like what they have done. At the very least, they are trying something different.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Colts have added two outside free agents for depth purposes. A 9-8 ball club with the 28th ranked defense and the sixth most cap space has returned the exact same roster. Betting on Anthony Richardson to be the panacea for everything seems ill-advised. If he was a seven year veteran which we knew could elevate a franchise, I would be more ok with the moves. Problem is we don’t know what he is because we have very little data. That is something that the Colts don’t seem to mind, however, as they are confident he alone will elevate the team.

While it isn’t new, this offseason has been frustrating. The team was middle of the pack last year, and that seems to be the goal for this year as well. Free agents don’t always pan out. The winner of the offseason rarely is the real winner when things get going. That doesn’t mean upgrading areas of need is a bad plan. What is a bad plan is bringing the same players back and expecting different results. As disappointing as it is to admit, maybe that is exactly the plan after all.

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