At the midway point in this 2016 season, the Indianapolis Colts have left plenty to be desired. Putting up a 4-5 record in Chuck Paganoâ€™s first season of his new contract, along with having the organizationâ€™s franchise player looking revitalized after an injury-riddled 2015, is not what many had in mind for the first half of this critical year.
When looking at all facets of the team, as their own entities, there are few widespread bright spots at best. However, there is little debate that individuals within those units have put their best foot forward in an attempt to make this team better. Some have exceeded our expectations, some have noticeably fallen short and some have raised our eyebrows in surprise as well.
As the Colts enter the bye week they stand in second place in an under-performing AFC South, but short of another division crown, 2016 will be considered a wasted season. Those who have stood out, however, are to be honored.
With that, here are the Colts midseason awards.
Offensive MVP — Andrew Luck
Not only is Luck the obvious choice for the Coltsâ€™ team-wide MVP, heâ€™s very close to being in the discussion for the leagueâ€™s award as well. Luck is easily having the best season of his career in terms of completion rate (63.7%), and is on pace for more than 30 touchdowns and roughly 12 interceptions, which would both be his second best full-season totals in his career.
Itâ€™s been regurgitated weekly for the past month or more, but the truth is the truth; Luck is being hit, and sacked more than anyone in the league by a wide margin yet is still ‘the rockâ€™ for this organization despite the shortcomings across this roster. Heâ€™s already led three fourth-quarter comebacks this season, heâ€™s pushing the ball downfield as much as he ever has and is currently touting his best QBR since entering the league.
Simply put, this team goes as Luck goes. Very seldom does the supporting cast rise above to carry the team to victory, and heâ€™s been nothing short of brilliant thus far — all things considered. This award hasnâ€™t been legitimately challenged to this point in the year.
Honorable Mention — T.Y. Hilton
Defensive MVP — Erik Walden
Who would have thought that Walden would be leading the Colts in sacks at the midway point in the season? Not this guy. Not only is he leading the team in this category where the team has struggled so desperately, but heâ€™s responsible for over 41 percent (seven) of the teamâ€™s sacks which is, both, impressive and pathetic simultaneously.
Since being signed in 2013, as part of an otherwise terrible free agency haul, Walden has quietly become one of the more successful players of the Ryan Grigson era. Heâ€™s given the defense the ‘meanâ€™ thatÂ it so sorely needs, heâ€™s been durable throughout his tenure in Indy and he adds versatility in regards of where he can be lined up in sub-packages.
In the truest sense of the meaning of MVP, Walden gives the Colts aspects that they simply donâ€™t have — at the moment — without him; a pass rush, and consistency.
Honorable Mention — Clayton Geathers
Biggest Surprise — Jack Doyle
This one is a bit more subjective depending on whether you expected Doyle to continue to be as reliable as he has been since he joined the Colts, however, across the fan base I donâ€™t think the masses widely expected to see him go on the rampage he has thus far. Reliable is one thing, but to have said in camp that he would be second on the team in receiving yards, receptions and targets as well as being tied for the team lead in touchdowns at this point in the season would have seemed to be a bit presumptuous.
Granted, Donte Moncrief has been injured, but that doesnâ€™t take away from how impressive heâ€™s been for the Colts, or how clutch and important heâ€™s been for Luck. His ascension has been quite swift when considering the totality of his work load throughout his first three seasons. From 2013 through 2015, Doyle caught 35-of-43 targets (81.4%) for 209 yards and three touchdowns. Again, always dependable but not a true receiving threat.
This season alone, Doyle has exploded by hauling in 36-of-45 targets (80%) for 379 yards and four touchdowns, solidifying himself as Luckâ€™s official security blanket, and becoming a legit threat to opposing defenses forcing them to account for him within the offense. I think we all expected Doyle to be solid, but to be this important so consistently is certainly a surprise to many of us.
Honorable Mention — Frank Gore
Biggest Disappointment — Phillip Dorsett
If the, possibly unfair, expectations that have surrounded Dorsett werenâ€™t quite as daunting, itâ€™s possible that he may not have made this list at all. But, he was indeed a first-round draft selection, he was expected to be the third head to a dynamic passing attack alongside Hilton and Moncrief, and when given the opportunity to step into a role as the second option with Moncrief sidelined, he failed to make an impact.
Dorsett can legitimately be considered as a ‘nice pieceâ€™ within this offense, but his 57.1 percent catch rate — which is a team worst among those with 26 targets or more — and his single touchdown have fans begging to see what Grigson saw in him to warrant such valuable draft capital being utilized to get him.
Dorsett has a clear upside with all of his attributes, but he clearly needs to assert himself in a big way throughout the second half of the season in order to become an integral part of this offense.
Honorable Mention — Robert Mathis
Rookie of the Year — Ryan Kelly
This isnâ€™t even close. Kelly has been a fantastic addition to the Colts, coming in as a rookie and ultimately running the offensive line right from the jump. As we have seen with multiple quarterbacks throughout the league, a longstanding, quality center/quarterback relationship is about as ideal as it gets. Kelly, among an offensive line struggling to protect the franchise, has been one of the bright spots when Luck drops back to pass.
Second only to Jack Mewhort, per PFF, Kelly has earned a grade of 81.6 in protection, and is one of only four centers with 600 snaps on the season. Heâ€™s been given a serious work load immediately in his career and, in fact, currently the Colts are second in the league in Adjusted Line YardsÂ when running the ball in Kellyâ€™s direction.
The Colts made their first-round pick count this time, giving Luck his ‘Jeff Saturdayâ€™Â if you will.
Efficient, trustworthy and most importantly, good. Kelly will be here for a long time, has already morphed into his role seamlessly and will be crucial to Luckâ€™s progression as their careers tandem through time.
Honorable Mention — T.J. Green