Would a Healthy Andrew Luck Even Make the Colts Playoff Contenders?

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The Indianapolis Colts can’t make the playoffs without Andrew Luck—that’s pretty clear. The possibility only slightly increases with Luck in the lineup.

The team’s personnel—especially the defense and skill positions—is filled with question marks, though you wouldn’t know it from general manager Chris Ballard’s recent comments.

“I think we’re sitting on a sleeping giant. I really do,” Ballard proclaimed, per Andrew Walker of the Colts’ official site.

The Colts are coming off a 4-12 campaign and have a new coaching staff (after being dumped by their chosen candidate) and a quarterback who hasn’t thrown a full-sized football in over 500 days. Optimism needs to be tempered no matter how excited the franchise is about the possibilities.

“I’m really excited to work with [Luck],” new offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said, per the Goshen News’ George Bremer. “He’s a sharp guy, off-the-charts intelligence, football IQ. So what a guy to be able to work with. And obviously the sky’s the limit when we have a quarterback of his caliber.”

A few promising signs emerged for the Colts nfl jerseys cheap nike in the last month, starting with Luck’s recovery from 2017 offseason shoulder surgery.

“He’s doing good,” Ballard said of Luck, per Walker. “Strongest I’ve seen him, both mentally and physically.”

The Colts have been down this road before. They expected their signal-caller to be ready for the start of the 2017 campaign, but he didn’t play a snap before being placed on injured reserve in November.

An injured player becomes part of the forgotten during an extended layoff. Luck’s presence has always loomed over the organization, but his overall talent and what he means to the team must be re-evaluated. Will he return from nfl nike jerseys cheap shoulder surgery like Drew Brees did in 2006, or will his career path closely follow Chad Pennington’s?

The first overall pick entered the league as the closest thing to a perfect prospect. His combination of size (6’4″ and 240 pounds), athleticism, arm talent, intelligence and polish made him the most sought-after quarterback in the last 25 years.

Luck has fallen short of expectations because of injuries, and how he responds will show his mettle.

“I mean, look, we’re sitting on a unique human being; what he stands for [is] everything we want to stand for,” Ballard said. “Really, one of the growths that I’ve seen in Andrew—I mean, Andrew is very talented, and he’s been talented his whole life. And we’re really getting to see some of his internal grit right now to get over a hump that was very difficult to do.”nike nfl jersey cheap

Quenton Nelson’s selection with the sixth overall pick will become the foundation upon which Luck and the Colts can stand. Nelson is the closest thing to a surefire draft pick. He developed into a dominant force for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and his highlight reel, even as an offensive lineman, is the stuff of legend.

With Nelson nestled between Anthony Castonzo cheap nfl jerseys nike and Ryan Kelly, the left side of the Colts offensive line is settled. The right is far more fluid.

Second-round pick Braden Smith is the favorite to start at right guard, while the organization recently signed eight-year veteran Austin Howard to compete at right tackle.

The potential pitfalls of inexperience along the interior and replacing nike nfl jerseys for cheap three starters could have a negative effect despite the overall talent upgrade. Mistakes will be made. Hopefully, Luck won’t pay the price again.

Portland Trail Blazers: Offensive Firepower

The Portland Trail Blazers match up just fine with pretty much all of their possible first-round foes. But later-series tilts with the Warriors and/or Rockets (probably) loom if they plan to advance.

Do they have enough raw firepower to combat the juggernauts ahead of them?nfl jerseys

This feels like a stupid question for a team touting Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, two of the NBA’s premier tough-shot makers. But Portland’s offensive distribution raises some red flags when looking at best-of-seven sets with Golden State or nfl jersey Houston.46b8f8e31b28ffd3070dc4cdee85241a_crop_exact

The Blazers are 17th in three-point-attempt rate. That won’t fly against a Rockets contingent launching more than 42 triples per 100 possessions—not even with the Blazers canning a respectable 37.6 percent of their outside looks. They’ve vaulted themselves into the top eight of downtown frequency since the All-Star break without sacrificing much efficiency, but a demonstrative chasm remains between them and Houston.

Modest three-point volume doesn’t hurt the Blazers as much against the Warriors. They’re 16th in frequency on the year and 19th since the All-Star break. cheap nfl jerseys china

Good luck trying to make that quantitative deficit mean something. The Warriors override it with unrivaled accuracy and transition blitzes. No team shoots a better clip from behind the rainbow, and only the Los Angeles Lakers dedicate more of their offense to fast breaks.

Portland’s machine is closer to the extra-methodical side authentic nfl jerseys . Half-court sets are the emphasis. The offense is dead last in transition frequency and 29th in points scored per fast-break possession.

Both the Warriors and Rockets would invariably force the Blazers to deviate from their wheelhouse. They’re built to play an array of styles, but they’re also experts at dictating terms. So even if the Blazers effectively combat their offensive genre, it could come at the expense of their defense—wholesale nfl jerseys just like it has through six meetings with Houston and Golden State during the regular season.

Cincinnati Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap

The Cincinnati Bengals got a big rookie season out of 2017 fourth-round defensive end Carl Lawson, and there’s still a good chance third-round pass-rusher Jordan Willis takes a big step forward in his sophomore campaign. Those two should play large roles in 2018, along with veterans Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson.

But that depth could also inspire Cincinnati to deal Dunlap prior to the final season cheap nfl jerseys china  of his five-year, $39.4 million deal. 2ac1ecb6572db5357969460052a8b9cd_crop_exact

It’s not as though the 29-year-old isn’t worth his $7 million salary after a 7.5-sack season, but a trade would save the thrifty Bengals some cash while allowing them to get something for a player who might leave next offseason.

If I were running a team in need of some pass-rushing experience, I’d be dialing up the Bengals and asking about Dunlap, or even Johnson.

The Los Angeles Chargers gave veteran cornerback Casey Hayward a authentic nfl jerseys three-year contract extension this weekend, and the Bolts got strong performances from young corners Desmond King and Trevor Williams in 2017.

General manager Tom Telesco could consider trading talented 2014 first-round pick Jason Verrett before his $8.52 million team option for 2018 becomes guaranteed.

Knee injuries have caused the 26-year-old to miss all but five games the last two years. wholesale nfl jerseys The Chargers probably won’t want to sell low, but any offer for that type of injury-prone player might work for a Bolts team with extreme deep at that position.

So if you’re a team with money and room to take a flier on a superb talent hoping to prove himself, you might want to consider making an offer to nfl jerseys wholesale Telesco.