NFL Offseason - Broncos, Colts Look to Return to Glory

March 8, 2023 by Staff

There were a lot of poor performing teams on offense in 2022, and Indianapolis and Denver were among the worst. Thus, it isn't surprising that both teams have made changes.

Indianapolis jettisoned head coach Frank Reich after the Colts fell to 3-5-1 in early November. That move failed to pay immediate dividends as they went 1-7 the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Reich got a rest before being tabbed as the new head coach of Carolina of January 31. The Panthers had fired Matt Rhule after a 1-4 start in Charlotte.

Philadelphia offensive coordinator Shane Steichen was poached to take the reins in Indianapolis. Jim Bob Cooter, the former passing game coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars was hired as the OC. Now, the issue is whether or not the Colts will retain free agent WR Parris Cambpell.

As for Denver, the Broncos won the Sean Payton sweepstakes when he was hired as head coach on February 3. Oddly enough, former HC Nathaniel Hackett landed the OC job with the New York Jets.

Meanwhile, Payton brought in his former QB coach with the Saints, Joe Lombardi, as OC  after he was fired from the Chargers on January 17. For the DC role, Payton brought back Vance Joseph who went 11-21 as the Denver head coach from 2017-2018. Joseph was most recently on Kingsbury's staff at Arizona.

The Broncos have had one winning season since capturing the 2015 Super Bowl with Peyton Manning, and that came the following year when they went 9-7 after Manning retired and HC Gary Kubiak dealt with health issues for much of the season.

The Colts' success is also tied to Peyton Manning who led them to their only Super Bowl victory in 2006 and last SB appearance in 2009.

Kubiak is connected to practically all of Denver's success, having played a part in six Super Bowl appearances as a player, assistant coach, head coach and personnel executive, including three Super Bowl wins. He retired from football from Minnesota after the 2020 season.

The good news for fans of either the Colts or Broncos is that neither is expected to finish in the basement of their respective division next year. At least, not based on the odds posted at the FanDuel Sportsbook where each has the 3rd-best odds to win their division. Denver is a respectable +460 in the AFC West while Indianapolis is at +650 in the AFC South, ahead of the Houston Texans.

Denver will have QB Russell Wilson back in the fold with the prospects of an offense designed to match his talents and increase production. As bad as things were in 2022, the Broncos were only the 8th-worst team in the league in passer rating and ranked 7th in total defense.

Denver doesn't have a draft pick until the 68th selection.

By contrast, the Colts were 4th from last in passer rating in a season that saw them bench Matt Ryan twice and basically run him off. Backups Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles had zero wins in a five opportunities between them. Mock drafts have Alabama Crimson Tide Bryce Young, the 2021 Heisman winner, headed to Indy with the first over-all pick in the NFL Draft.

Indianapolis will have to re-tool and improve dramatically on defense as the Colts were 15th in yards allowed per game and 28th in points allowed.