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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Articles tagged: Indianapolis Colts

5 NFL teams that have improved the most this offseason

Tom Brady

The bulk of the NFL offseason is essentially over, with almost all the big moves being made and the draft being settled. That means we can really begin to assess who will be good next year and who did well this offseason based on free agency, trades and the draft.

Here are five teams who did the most to get better during an unusual offseason.

5. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts spent the bulk of the offseason retooling their offense, and they certainly look like they’ve succeeded. The biggest move was signing Philip Rivers to a one-year deal. He should immediately upgrade the team’s quarterback play. They also managed to upgrade through the draft despite not having a first-round pick. Adding Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor with the team’s first two picks should help Rivers, and proves that this team means business on the offensive end. They could be a real contender in 2020.

4. Cleveland Browns

The Browns had to fix their offensive line to give quarterback Baker Mayfield a fighting chance in 2020. They did so aggressively, adding Jack Conklin via free agency and Jedrick Wills Jr. tenth overall in the draft. That alone should bolster the offense, as Mayfield struggled to get anything going in part due to the constant pressure he was put under in 2019. Grant Delpit was a great value pick to help the secondary as well. Cleveland’s division got tougher, but the Browns got better, and that’s all they can ask.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

When you can replace Jameis Winston with Tom Brady, you’re getting better. End of story. That move headlined Tampa Bay’s offseason, combined with the rather dramatic return of Rob Gronkowski to the fold. The draft has real potential to propel them forward too. Tristan Wirfs is a great pick who will help Brady stay on his feet, while Antoine Winfield Jr. has the potential to be a sturdy NFL starter. This team is suddenly being talked about as a Super Bowl contender, as any Brady team should. That’s a huge leap forward no matter what.

2. Miami Dolphins

Given the lack of talent on Miami’s roster a year ago, they had nowhere to go but up. With money to spend, though, the Dolphins made the most of it. Miami spent heavy on defense, adding Byron Jones, Shaq Lawson, and Kyle Van Noy to what was the league’s worst unit. They brought in Jordan Howard as a legitimate backfield option. Capping it all off is the selection of Tua Tagovailoa in the draft, along with two offensive linemen to help protect him. 2020 may be a year too soon for the Dolphins, but they’re very clearly on the right track thanks to a great offseason.

1. Arizona Cardinals

Arizona’s acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins was regarded as so lopsided by most in the industry that it effectively put Bill O’Brien on the hot seat. That’s of little concern to the Cardinals, who managed to get one of the game’s best receivers while simultaneously offloading David Johnson’s bloated deal. Devon Kennard was a savvy addition at linebacker, and top draft pick Isaiah Simmons should be one of the most entertaining rookies in the league. There is some concern that they didn’t do enough to address the offensive line, but they added a lot of talent elsewhere that should push them toward .500 or better in 2020.

Colts projected to have easiest schedule in NFL for 2020

Colts logo

The NFL schedule was released on Thursday, and one takeaway is that the Indianapolis Colts have a favorable road ahead.

The Colts have the easiest schedule in the league, according to Sharp Football Stats. Their rankings are based on projected 2020 win totals from sportsbooks.

The Colts play in the AFC South and will face the Texans, Titans and Jaguars twice each. In the first eight weeks of the season, they face only one team that made the playoffs last year — the Vikings. In their final nine games, the only non-divisional opponents they face that made he playoffs last year are the Ravens and Packers.

Indianapolis will have a new-look offense in 2020. They signed free agent quarterback Philip Rivers and drafted a few offensive weapons like Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman. On defense, they made a big addition by trading for DeForest Buckner.

Even if their schedule currently projects as favorable, as Kyle Shanahan told us, it’s way too early to say who will have an easy path and who won’t.

Jacob Eason drafted by Colts as potential long-term QB

Jacob Eason

The Indianapolis Colts made an intriguing pick in the fourth round of the NFL Draft that could have long-term implications for the organization.

The Colts made quarterback Jacob Eason the 122nd overall pick in the 2020 draft, selecting him in the fourth round. The Washington quarterback was a highly-touted recruit, but an injury at Georgia cost him his starting job and led to his transfer to the Huskies.

Eason’s fall to the fourth round is a bit of a surprise, but the Colts benefit. He immediately becomes the only long-term quarterback on the roster. Jacoby Brissett is a free agent after the 2020 season, as is projected starter Philip Rivers. Rivers is also 38 and not a long-term solution.

Perhaps part of the reason for Eason’s availability in the fourth round was some reportedly unimpressive NFL Combine interviews.

Colts looking into new logo’s similarity to high school’s design

Colts logo

The Indianapolis Colts are looking into charges of plagiarism after their new logo was discovered to be suspiciously similar to one designed by a local high school football coach three years ago.

Jere Kubuske, a former assistant coach at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, pointed out that the Colts’ new secondary logo is almost identical to one that he designed for the school in 2016 and briefly used in 2017.

On Wednesday, the Colts issued a statement about the allegations, saying their new logo was professionally designed and while they were unaware of the Cathedral High School logo, they would look into the situation.

“We have great respect for our friends at Cathedral, and we would never purposefully take an idea from them to use as our own,” Colts VP of communications Steve Campbell said in a statement to Paul Lukas of Uni Watch. “That’s just not how the Colts do business. The new Colts Indiana logo was an independent creation that was designed by the NFL, as are most team marks and logos, and was not designed locally. The Colts and the league were unaware of the other logo, and we wouldn’t have moved forward otherwise. But we will look into the matter. Nonetheless, both the Colts and Coach Kubuske had the same goals at heart – promoting athletics and paying tribute to our home state.”

The similarities are very suspicious, and worth looking into. It’s a shame, because it’s a pretty cool logo. It’s certainly better than some others we’ve seen recently that many wish would get changed.

Colts preferred Philip Rivers over Tom Brady?

Philip Rivers

The market for Tom Brady did not seem to be quite as robust as many expected it to be, and the Indianapolis Colts may have played a direct role in that.

The Colts were obviously looking for an upgrade at quarterback this offseason, which is why they signed Philip Rivers to a one-year deal last week. However, they surely would have preferred Brady and his championship pedigree if the four-time Super Bowl MVP wanted to play in Indy, right? Apparently not.

According to Peter King of NBC Sports, Brady’s camp showed interest in the Colts but the interest was not mutual. The Colts are said to have preferred Rivers from the start because they knew they could sign him to a one-year deal.

Brady signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that is fully guaranteed and includes up to $9 million in incentives. Rivers signed a one-year deal with the Colts that is worth around $25 million. Rivers is four years younger than Brady, but it’s hard to believe Indianapolis preferred one year of Rivers over two years of Brady.

It’s possible that Brady’s camp only showed interest in the Colts as a way of strengthening the market for the 42-year-old. Brady seems like he was in a position where he would have wanted to really stick it to the Patriots, and signing with Indy would have been one way to do that. However, he also wanted to play on the east coast for travel purposes. It seems unlikely that Brady would have signed with the Colts even if they wanted him.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have teamed up yet again! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.

Brian Hoyer released by Colts

Brian Hoyer

The Indianapolis Colts have put an interesting name on the quarterback market.

As first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Colts released veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer after officially signing Philip Rivers.

This means the Colts are likely going to keep Jacoby Brissett as Rivers’ backup. The Colts like Brissett but wanted an upgrade, so he’ll be a quality second option for them should anything happen to Rivers.

This will definitely spark some speculation about the New England Patriots’ plans. Hoyer spent a long time as Tom Brady’s backup in New England, and they’ve shown faith in him previously. Though they may be planning to start Jarrett Stidham, Hoyer could be a veteran option who knows the system and will look like a steady pair of hands to Bill Belichick. It’s probably worth watching to see if the Patriots go after him.

Philip Rivers to sign with Colts on one-year, $25 million deal

Philip Rivers

The Indianapolis Colts have their quarterback.

Philip Rivers will sign with the Colts, as many have expected for much of the offseason. He’s getting a one-year, $25 million deal, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports.

The Colts went with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback last season, and clearly see Rivers as an upgrade. Rivers is reunited with Colts head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, who are both former Chargers assistants. Indianapolis was the only team that seemed to seriously pursue him, and this is not a huge surprise.

Rivers is 38 and a one-year stopgap. He also threw 20 interceptions last year. The Colts are confident they can get one more quality year out of him and contend for a Super Bowl as a result.