For the first time since Chris Ballard took over the personnel duties for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017, he has a fresh start with a rookie QB. There were wholesale changes made this offseason, and while we won’t know until September if the team can truly contend in the AFC South, they finally have something they’ve lacked for so long … hope for the future.
Everything You Need Ahead of the Indianapolis Colts’ 2023 NFL Season
Since Andrew Luck suddenly retired before the 2019 NFL season, many veteran passers have come and gone from Indianapolis. Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and Matt Ryan have all been recycled through the program, with varying degrees of success and failure.
What changes did the Colts make in 2023 to bring life to a franchise that has been clinging on to relevancy over the past half-decade?
Indianapolis Colts Roster Changes
- Players Signed
- EDGE Samson Ebukam
- K Matt Gay
- LB E.J. Speed
- WR Ashton Dulin
- DT Taven Bryan
- QB Gardner Minshew
- WR Isaiah McKenzie
- TE Pharaoh Brown
- EDGE Khalid Kareem
- S Rodney McLeod
- CB Tony Brown
McKenzie, Gay, and Ebukam are likely the most significant names on the list. It should come as no surprise that Ballard did very little needle-moving during free agency. He’s never been one to make big moves during that period.
- Players Traded
- CB Stephon Gilmore
On the surface, losing Gilmore really hurts the Colts’ defense in the short term. However, few teams have done a better job of evaluating and developing talent at the CB position than Indianapolis over the years, and the Colts drafted three of them.
- Players Lost
- K Chase McLaughlin (Buccaneers)
- G Matt Pryor (49ers)
- LB Bobby Okereke (Giants)
- WR Parris Campbell (Giants)
- CB Brandon Facyson (Raiders)
Okereke really exploded when forced into the main playmaking role with Shaquille Leonard out with an injury for most of the 2022 NFL season. Losing him means losing an integral piece of the middle of the defense, although getting Leonard back healthy in 2023 will help mitigate that loss.
Zaire Franklin and Speed should be more than enough from a depth standpoint.
- Expired Contracts
- EDGE Yannick Ngakoue
- EDGE Ben Banogu
- OT Dennis Kelly
- S Armani Watts
- Players Cut/Waived
- RB Darrynton Evans
- WR Kristian Wilkerson
- QB Nick Foles
- DL Chris Williams
- DL Kameron Cline
- TE Nikola Kalinic
- TE Jalen Wydermyer
- QB Matt Ryan (cut/retired)
- Players Drafted
- QB Anthony Richardson
- CB Julius Brents
- WR Josh Downs
- OT Blake Freeland
- DT Adetomiwa Adebawore
- CB Darius Rush
- S Daniel Scott
- TE Will Mallory
- RB Evan Hull
- EDGE Titus Leo
- CB Jaylon Jones
- OT Jake Witt
Richardson may or may not start right away for the Colts with Minshew in the fold. However, he is the team’s future, and fans should be incredibly excited about his unbelievable physical tools.
Indianapolis Colts Coaching Staff in 2023
- Head Coach: Shane Steichen
- Assistant to the Head Coach: TJ Ingels
- Offensive Coordinator: Jim Bob Cooter
- Wide Receivers: Brian Bratton
- Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne
- Tight Ends: Tom Manning
- Offensive Line: Tony Sparano Jr.
- Quarterbacks: Cam Turner
- Assistant Offensive Line: Chris Watt
- Running Backs: DeAndre Smith
- Defensive Coordinator: Gus Bradley
- Linebackers/Run Game Coordinator: Richard Smith
- Defensive Quality Control: Brent Jackson
- Assistant Linebackers: Cato June
- Defensive Backs: Ron Milus
- Assistant Defensive Backs: Mike Mitchell
- Defensive Line: Nate Ollie
- Assistant Defensive Line: Matt Raich
- Special Teams Coordinator: Brian Mason
- Assistant Special Teams: Joe Hastings
- Head Strength and Conditioning: Richard Howell
- Assistant Strength and Conditioning: Zane Fakes
Steichen is an outstanding offensive architect.
He found a way to absolutely maximize Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia, helping him achieve near-MVP levels of passing and rushing efficiency. However, the offensive line was outrageously talented, and the receiving corps was one of the best in the entire league.
Keeping continuity on the defensive side of the ball with Bradley was a good decision by the organization.
The Colts’ defense wasn’t one of the best in the league, but relative to the talent on the depth chart, it performed admirably.
Predicting the Indianapolis Colts Depth Chart
- QB: Anthony Richardson, Gardner Minshew, Sam Ehlinger
- RB: Jonathan Taylor, Zack Moss, Evan Hull, Deon Jackson
- WR: Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, Josh Downs, Isaiah McKenzie, Ashton Dulin, Mike Strachan
- TE: Jelani Woods, Mo Alie-Cox, Will Mallory
- LT: Bernhard Raimann, Blake Freeland
- LG: Quenton Nelson, Emil Ekiyor
- C: Ryan Kelly
- RG: Will Fries, Danny Pinter
- RT: Braden Smith, Jake Witt
- DE: Kwity Paye, Samson Ebukam, Dayo Odeyingbo, Tyquan Lewis, Khalid Kareem, Leo Titus
- DT: DeForest Buckner, Grover Stewart, Taven Bryan, Adetomiwa Adebawore
- LB: Shaquille Leonard, Zaire Franklin, E.J. Speed, Grant Stuard, JoJo Domann
- CB: Isaiah Rodgers Sr., Kenny Moore II, Julius Brents, Darius Rush, Dallis Flowers, Jaylon Jones, Tony Brown
- S: Julian Blackmon, Rodney McLeod, Nick Cross, Daniel Scott
2022 Results and Standings
The Colts’ offense struggled mightily in 2022. They scored 30 points just three times all season and lost two of those games, both late in the year. Their 4-12-1 record was bad enough to secure them the fourth pick in the NFL Draft, which then allowed them to secure the future of their franchise with the selection of Richardson.
However, the Texans had a worse record in the division, and both the Bears and Cardinals finished with worse records league-wide.
2023 Power Ranking and Season Outlook
The latest edition of the Pro Football Network NFL Power Rankings by Dallas Robinson has the Colts coming in at 28.
“It feels like the Colts have one of the widest ranges of potential outcomes of any team in the NFL,” Robinson wrote. “If Anthony Richardson can immediately capitalize on his legendary athletic profile and deliver an Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign, Indianapolis has enough playmakers to compete for the AFC South title.”
The Colts do have a massive range of outcomes, and it is because of the unknown at the quarterback position. Richardson could end up being everything we dreamed of, but that is likely to take quite a bit of time to round into form.
According to PFN’s model, the Colts have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL heading into 2023. If Richardson plays beyond his years under center, the team could surprise everyone and push for a playoff birth.