This article is part of our Team Previews series.
The Colts appeared set for a playoff spot last season before a Week 18 loss to lowly Jacksonville, thanks to shaky signal-caller play and coverage lapses on defense. This year, the ground game remains strong, and the team's overall talent is high, but questions loom at quarterback and in the pass rush.
2022 Offseason Moves – Indianapolis Colts
- Matt Ryan – QB (from Falcons)
Came over from Atlanta in exchange for a third-round draft pick.
- Alec Pierce – WR (Rd. 2, No. 53 – Cincinnati)
The Bearcats star could be an immediate starter for Indianapolis.
- Phillip Lindsay – RB (from Dolphins)
An experienced backfield depth option behind Jonathan Taylor.
- Yannick Ngakoue – DE (from Raiders)
Bolsters the pass rush on the heels of a recording 10 sacks in 2021.
- Stephon Gilmore – CB (from Panthers)
The former Defensive Player of the Year should improve the secondary.
- Carson Wentz – QB (to Commanders)
Traded to Washington after underwhelming last season.
- Jack Doyle – TE (retired)
His departure clears the top tight-end spot for Mo Alie-Cox.
- Zach Pascal– WR (to Eagles)
The wideout's 384 receiving yards were second on the team last year.
Indianapolis Colts 2022 Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Frank Reich (Year 5)
Offensive Coordinator: Marcus Brady (Year 2) – West Coast offense
Defensive Coordinator: Gus Bradley (Year 1) – 4-3 scheme
Stats to Know for the Indianapolis Colts
2022 Vegas Projected Wins: 10.5 (T-4th)
2021 Record: 9-8
2021 Points Scored: 451 (9th)
2021 Points Allowed: 365 (T-9th)
2021 Point Differential: +86 (7th)
2021 Run-Play Rate: 47.4 percent (5th)
2021 Offensive Snaps: 1,052 (T-21st)
2021 PFF O-Line Ranking: No. 12
2022 Indianapolis Colts Depth Chart
2022 Indianapolis Colts Schedule
|1||Sep 11||@ Houston Texans||1:00 PM|
|2||Sep 18||@ Jacksonville Jaguars||1:00 PM|
|3||Sep 25||Kansas City Chiefs||1:00 PM|
|4||Oct 2||Tennessee Titans||1:00 PM|
|5||Oct 6||@ Denver Broncos||8:15 PM|
|6||Oct 16||Jacksonville Jaguars||1:00 PM|
|7||Oct 23||@ Tennessee Titans||1:00 PM|
|8||Oct 30||Washington Commanders||4:25 PM|
|9||Nov 6||@ New England Patriots||1:00 PM|
|10||Nov 13||@ Las Vegas Raiders||4:05 PM|
|11||Nov 20||Philadelphia Eagles||1:00 PM|
|12||Nov 28||Pittsburgh Steelers||8:15 PM|
|13||Dec 4||@ Dallas Cowboys||8:20 PM|
|15||TBD||@ Minnesota Vikings||TBD|
|16||Dec 26||Los Angeles Chargers||8:15 PM|
|17||Jan 1||@ New York Giants||1:00 PM|
Indianapolis Colts Storylines for 2022
Can Matt Ryan Provide Stability at Quarterback?
The franchise has struggled to find a solution at quarterback since the retirement of Andrew Luck in 2019. The Colts thought they had a long-term solution last year after trading for Carson Wentz. Despite throwing just seven interceptions in 2021, he came up short in big moments. Wentz failed to lead a game-winning drive all season, threw six of his interceptions in the second half of games and struggled in the team's final two losses with a playoff spot on the line.
Moreover, he was seen as overly aggressive, hanging on to the ball too long and unwilling to take the easy play. Frustrated with his inconsistency, the Colts dealt Wentz to Washington and replaced him with Matt Ryan, who becomes Indy's fourth new starting quarterback in as many seasons.
Ryan just missed out on his 11th consecutive season with 4,000 yards (3,968) last year in Atlanta despite a subpar receiving corps, and he represents an upgrade in overall accuracy and on deep balls. Ryan also is seen by the coaching staff as playing more to the team's style of spreading out the targets, whereas Wentz too frequently was seen locked in on top receiver Michael Pittman.
The Colts don't necessarily need the 37-year-old Ryan to return to his MVP form. They just need him to hit the open targets generated by a good offensive line and threat of the league's top running back.
Jobs Open in Receiving Corps
Michael Pittman established himself as the Colts' top wideout last season, leading the team with 88 catches on 129 targets for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns. In the absence of Zach Pascal and T.Y. Hilton (who still could return in a lesser role), there's now an open competition for the looks that don't go Pittman's way. Pittman has also been a player that has had some very popular betting markets at Indiana sportsbooks, as many Colts fans believe he will burst onto the scene.
With that in mind, 2022 second-round pick Alec Pierce, a 6-3, 211-pounder with 4.41 speed, could emerge quickly as the No. 2 receiver alongside the 6-4 Pittman, giving Matt Ryan a pair of imposing pass-catching targets.
Also on hand is Parris Campbell, an outstanding athlete, who at 6-0, 208 pounds ran a 4.31 40 at the 2019 Combine. However, he's played just 15 games in three seasons and may be a better fit for the team's slot receiver role.
Ashton Dulin has advanced from star special teamer to having some big moments as a receiver and could contend for a significant role in the offense. Meanwhile, 2021 seventh-rounder Mike Strachan and 2020 sixth-rounder Dezmon Patmon have displayed promise in limited action.
At tight end, Jack Doyle's retirement paves the way for Mo Alie-Cox to see an increased target share and red-zone usage. Also in the mix at the position are 2021 fourth-rounder Kylen Granson, whom GM Chris Ballard believes has "big upside," and 2022 draftees Jelani Woods and Andrew Ogletree.
Improving the Pass Rush
With 33 sacks in 2021, the Colts defense fell to tied for 25th in the league, down from 40 sacks in 2020 (t-12th). The team also ranked 31st in QB pressures per drop back. Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner led the way with seven sacks but didn't get much help from the unit's defensive ends. The players with the next-highest sack totals, Al-Quadin Muhammad and Kemoko Turay, both left this offseason in free agency.
With a void at defensive end, the Colts traded cornerback Rock Ya-Sin to Las Vegas for Yannick Ngakoue, who offers a nice floor as a pass rusher, having recorded eight or more sacks in each of his six NFL campaigns. The team also will be counting on younger players to improve.
Kwity Paye, a 2021 first-round pick, had four sacks as a rookie and likely will start at left defensive end. Dayo Odeyingbo was considered to have first-round talent, but the 2021 second-rounder had just half a sack in 10 games after returning from an Achilles injury he suffered before the draft.
To bolster the defensive line's depth, Indy took Missouri State's Eric Johnson in the fifth round of the 2022 Draft and then tabbed Curtis Brooks out of Cincinnati a round later. Any level of added pressure the unit can apply on opposing signal-callers this season will go a long way toward adding balance to the defense.
Fantasy Football Stock Watch
⬆️ Rising: WR Michael Pittman
Pittman made massive strides in 2021. At 6-4, 223 pounds, the 2020 second-rounder is an imposing target who moves well for his size. This season, he should benefit from better QB play and complementary receivers.
⬇️ Falling: RB Nyheim Hines
Despite a large contract and praise from coaches, Hines' touches took a hit in 2021 with Jonathan Taylor becoming a near every-down back. While a versatile receiver, Hines also faces competition from Phillip Lindsay.
😴 Sleeper: WR Alec Pierce
As a rookie, Pierce could become the No. 2 option in the team's passing game. A strong route runner with good body control, he was a centerpiece for a strong Cincinnati offense (52-884-8) last season.
🌟 Pivotal Player: Jonathan Taylor
Though opponents keyed on him due to a mediocre passing attack, Taylor rushed for a league leading 1,811 yards in 2021 due to his ability to break tackles (2.6 yards per carry after contact) and outrun defenders (three of the five fastest top speeds recorded on TDs). Taylor's dominance should ease QB Matt Ryan's transition to the offense.
Indianapolis Colts Injury Report
Campbell missed most of last season after injuring his foot and undergoing surgery after Week 6, but he got healthy by Week 18 and has remained such this offseason. Injuries have limited the 2019 second-round pick to five appearances per season in his three pro campaigns, but if can avoid the injury bug this summer he has the inside track for a top-three role at receiver for the Colts.
Leonard underwent a procedure in June to fix two discs in his back that were causing pain down his leg. He was placed on the active/PUP list at the start of training camp, and while it's uncertain whether he'll be ready by the regular-season opener, the Colts believe he will be. Leonard previously was rehabbing an ankle issue this offseason, missing OTAs and mandatory minicamp as a result.
Blankenship's 2021 season was cut short by a hip injury after five games, but he has since recovered, and coach Frank Reich confirmed in June that the 25-year-old enters training camp as the favorite to handle placekicking duties for the Colts this season. That said, Blankenship will have to fend off the challenge of Jake Verity, who spent most of the 2021 season on the Ravens' practice squad.
Training Camp Battle 2022 – Indianapolis Colts
Most of the Colts' key positions are set, but who emerges as team's second and third wide receivers is a situation to monitor. Parris Campbell could be the No. 2 option in the passing game given his top-flight speed and glimpses of explosiveness. However, he's had trouble staying healthy during his NFL career. Campbell played in just six games in 2021, but he returned for the season finale and hasn't had any reported setbacks since then.
Meanwhile, Indy used a 2022 second-round draft pick to select Alec Pierce, and he could push Campbell for slotting out of the gate. The Cincinnati product was the alpha of the Bearcats' receiving corps and commanded a 22 percent target share in 2021, which converted into 10.4 YPT and 17.0 YPC on his 85 targets. Pierce boosted his stock with a standout combine performance, where he checked in with 4.41 speed and a 40.5-inch vertical. In any case, when both are available this year, Campbell and Pierce figure to join No. 1 option Michael Pittman when the Colts run three-receiver sets.