The high-powered offense adds plenty of new weapons—and Frank Gore looks particularly spry—but the issues for this team remain on the other side of the ball
Site: Anderson University campus in Anderson, Ind., about 40 miles northeast of Indianapolis.
What I saw: An afternoon practice, the seventh day of Colts camp. Dark clouds warned of a storm, but the Colts were able to finish out practice before the drizzling rain began.
Three things you need to know about the Colts:
1. Frank Gore is ready. Colts management knows this is Andrew Luck’s window. They acted to surround him with more options and signed an offensive weapon in veteran running back Frank Gore. The longtime 49er has been impressive in camp and has yet to take a day off of practice. He’s a total workhorse. The Colts need a 1,000-yard season out of Gore (the team hasn’t had a 1,000-yard back since Joseph Addai in 2007). “He practices hard, really hard, he runs hard in practice,” Luck said. “The old adage ‘practice how you play,’ he does that.” In 10 seasons Gore has come up short of 1,000 yards just twice. The Colts need Gore to be twice what they thought they were getting in Trent Richardson.
2. There’s an insane amount of talent at receiver. Despite their apparent defensive shortcoming, the Colts focused on receiver in the offseason, drafted Phillip Dorsett in the first round, signing Duron Carter from the CFL and adding seven-time Pro Bowler Andre Johnson in free agency. With those three joining leading receiver T.Y. Hilton and deep threat Donte Moncrief, Luck has a wealth of options here. So many, that it feels like Johnson, a potential Hall of Famer, is a spare part. Hilton made his first Pro Bowl last season and was targeted 131 times for 82 passes and 1345 yards. It will be interesting to watch how Luck shares the love among his receivers. Luck plans to find a balance with his offense, “There is a happy medium,” he said. “Coach Pagano has always said, ‘If you win, there is enough credit to go around.’” With Coby Fleener at tight end and Gore at running back, this offense could be the best in the league.
3. How much does Robert Mathis have left? The Colts' five-time Pro Bowler is set to make his return from a torn Achilles this season. The team is optimistic that he’ll be ready for the opener at Buffalo Sept. 13, but for now Mathis remains on the PUP list. His last game was a playoff loss to New England on Jan. 11, 2014, which seems like an eternity ago. Mathis tallied 19.5 sacks and 44 tackles that season. He’s now 34, and the question is, will an aging Mathis be able to make a full return to his prime?
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