INDIANAPOLIS – When a season has reached the disappointing and embarrassing levels as this one for the Colts, it’s hard to find positives.
But even amidst a season fans (and many players) will want to forget, it’s worth pointing out a handful of Colts who have had strong individual campaigns, for a variety of reasons.
Here are 5 Colts who should feel good about their individual seasons:
WR-Parris Campbell: It’s going to be pretty cool to see Parris Campbell suit up on Sunday as an Ironman in 2022. Ironman status means suiting up in every game in a season. And Campbell will accomplish that on Sunday. What an incredible physical, and mental, accomplishment for Campbell. After playing a combined 15 games in his first 3 seasons, Campbell now heads into free agency having proven he can stay healthy and produce in this league.
DT-Grover Stewart: If you gave out an award for “best Colts player in 2022” I’m giving it to Grover Stewart. You don’t see many defensive tackles, who mainly play over or near the center, be as disruptive in the tackling department as No. 90. What also stands out to me about Stewart is this is a guy who has taken his play to another level since signing a new contract in November 2020. That doesn’t happen often.
LB-Zaire Franklin: Similar to Grover Stewart, Zaire Franklin got paid and then took his game up a notch. Franklin’s ascension this season is really remarkable. He became a full-time starter with Shaquille Leonard’s lingering back issues, earning an immense amount of trust from new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Franklin is one of the most beloved Colts with coaches and players lauding his leadership. The fifth-year pro also showed he can handle a big-time defensive role.
CB-Stephon Gilmore: It’s not often you see a 32-year-old cornerback in the NFL, let alone guy play nearly every snap in a single season, particularly at a very high level. But Stephon Gilmore did that. He’s logged every single snap in 15 of the 16 games (his only missed time this year are 10 snaps against the Chiefs in Week 3). And he was one of the few (only?) Colts to deliver with game-clinching plays on a couple of occasions. Gilmore’s availability and level of play this season is even more impressive considering the time he missed last year. A potential pitch count debate for Gilmore leading into this season ended up being a waste of time.
K-Chase McLaughlin: Anytime you cut your kicker after the first game of the season, it’s very likely “kicker hell” will follow you the rest of the year. But Chase McLaughlin squelched that for the Colts. Not only did McLaughlin prove to be a very reliable find, he actually has given the Colts a long-distance weapon they certainly did not have before his arrival (8-of-11 from 50 yards or longer). And for McLaughlin, his performance comes as he enters free agency. Talk about great timing.
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