Indianapolis Colts Key Additions and Key Losses
Photo Courtesy of Colts.com
Written by Ali Jawad
After a disappointing 7-9 finish last season, it’s no surprise to see how active the Colts were this off-season. With new additions on both sides of the ball and very few departures, the Colts are poised to make a playoff run in 2020. Let’s take a look at the key additions and key departures for the 2020 version of the Indianapolis Colts.
Michael Pittman Jr
After missing the playoffs a season ago, the Colts seemed destined to return to the postseason. The Colts wasted no time surfacing the QB market and signed former Chargers QB for the last 16 years in Philip Rivers. At age 38, GM Chris Ballard believes the future Hall of Famer still has another year or two left in him. What makes this an essential addition is Rivers provides a veteran presence and an upgrade over last year’s starter Jacoby Brissett, but also the offensive line and weapons. Rivers played behind the 29th ranked OL in LA last season. With Indy, he will have the services of Quenton Nelson and Anthony Castanzo to provide him more time in the pocket. As far as weapons, the Colts will have a healthy TY Hilton along with new additions such as former Wisconsin Badger Jonathan Taylor and USC WR Michael Pittman Jr. Perhaps the most underlooked addition to the Colts is former Washington QB Jacob Eason. While no one can predict the future. Eason will get his opportunity down the road to show that he is the future of the Colts after Rivers. The bright side the Colts are in no rush and Eason will get the opportunity to learn behind a Hall of Famer like Rivers, and Jacoby Brisett a QB with super bowl experience.
For a defense that was middle of the pack last season, the Colts came away with some much-needed help. Xavier Rhodes had a down year last year, but the former All-Pro and Pro Bowl corner was granted a one year make or break year and should provide much-needed help in a Colts secondary that ranked 23rd in the league last year. The most significant addition overall for this team is former 49er All-Pro DT Deforest Buckner. Buckner has registered 28.5 sacks since entering the league back in 2016, along with 263 tackles and 11 pass deflections. The addition of Buckner gives the Colts something they have not had since the days of Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, a disruptive force on their defensive front.
Looking at this off-season for Indy, they didn’t have to worry about many losses. If any TE Eric Ebron who compiles a career year in 2018 with 66 receptions, for 750 yards, and scored 13 TD’s in 2018 with Andrew Luck under center. This past season his numbers went south. His season was cut short in November and finished with just 31 receptions for 375 yards and three TDS. The Colts will rely on rotation this year at TE that features former Eagle and Bear Trey Burton, as well as Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox.
To no surprise, the Colts did an excellent job retooling the franchise this season. If Rivers can revert to his 2018 play with a stellar offensive line and several weapons, the Colts offense will make plenty of noise this season. With questions still lingering on defense, the Colts should at least expect improvement with the additions of Buckner and Rhodes. Aside from Rivers, the Colts have all the depth in the world at QB. Brissett will likely be the backup to Rivers, assuming he isn’t shipped off anywhere. Jacob Eason will have the opportunity to learn behind Rivers and eventually take over as the potential future of the franchise.
Houston Texans Key Additions and Key Losses
Written by Ali Jawad
Coming off a 10-6 season and an AFC South division title, the Texans would reach the divisional round of the playoffs, and at one point, we all remember they were up 24-0 against the Chiefs. Kansas City would wind up knocking them out of the playoffs in a comeback performance 51 to 31. Looking at the upcoming 2020 season, it seems as if the AFC South is poised to be one of the toughest divisions in football. The Texans the last two seasons have owned the division, but teams like the Colts and Titans have risen, and Making this off-season an important one for Houston. Let’s dive into the key additions and losses for the Houston Texans.
It seems like every year; there is a new RB for the Texans. Houston brought in former Cardinals RB David Johnson via trade as the Texans would send star WR Deandre Hopkins to Arizona. Many question this trade made by Bill O’Brien. I am one of those people. While Johnson should provide much-needed help to the Texans ground game and looks to be a good pairing with Deshaun Watson. O’Brien gave up who many consider a top two WR for an RB with an expensive contract. The Texans would also acquire Brandon Cooks via trade from the Rams while Cooks has been serviceable over his career. He is now playing on his fourth team in seven years. Staying at WR, Houston also added Randall Cobb the long time Packer and most recently with the Cowboys from last season. Cobb should provide Watson with a playmaker out of the slot, an area where Will Fuller usually plays but has struggled with health. The Texans would also have to wait till day two of the draft to make their first selection, which went on to be DT Ross Blacklock out of TCU. Blacklock will provide power, size, and a high motor to a defensive line that features the future hall of Famer JJ Watt. Still I look at the Texans and even though they gained more than they lost. Losing a player like Hopkins makes it feel like they have lost several players and not just one.
As I mentioned before, the AFC South division is starting to get crowded. While the Jaguars seem destined to rebuild, the Colts and Titans have recharged and should have every bit of a chance to compete for the AFC South this season. Trading away Hopkins is a beyond questionable move made by Bill O’Brien. I do like the additions of Cooks and Cobb, but neither one of them can replace what Hopkins was able to bring to the table. Looking at the 2020 season, the division may not be running through the Texans like it has been the last two seasons. Hey, Houston, at least you still have Watson and Watt.