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INDIANAPOLIS Back in August, I laid out 6 answers the Colts needed to find in the 2023 season.

Those answers strayed away from the low preseason expectations win/loss wise—which the Colts blew out of the water by 2.5 games (winning 9 games).

So let’s take a look at those 6 answers:

1. Growing Hope For Anthony Richardson

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The play was promising.


Unfortunately, the sample size was also really small.


Anthony Richardson’s rookie campaign lasted 173 snaps, across 4 games, playing just 18 snaps in road contests.


Richardson started and finish just 1 game he played in. A total of 37 Colts played more snaps this past season than Richardson.


Again, when Richardson played though you saw promise and intrigue in his unique skillset. Numbers wise, Richardson went 50-of-84 (59.5 percent) for 577 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.


He added 136 rushing yards on 25 carries and 4 scores on the ground. You saw plenty of flashes of Richardson giving Shane Steichen quite the dual-threat weapon at quarterback.


Still though, Richardson didn’t get the invaluable experience of playing on the road, in meaningful December/January games or even those pressure-packed 4th quarters.


And you can’t ignore the injury questions after he suffered 4 different injuries in his 4 games played.


But if you look at the label of ‘growing hope for Anthony Richardson,’ that’s there for the Colts franchise quarterback even if the playing time was far shorter than anyone wanted.

2. Pillar Trench Positions

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Here is where we laid out the critical seasons for defensive end Kwity Paye and left tackle Bernhard Raimann.

The answers on those two are very different.

The Colts should feel confident in Raimann as the team’s left tackle moving forward.

Go back and look at Anthony Castonzo’s second season and compare that to Raimann in 2023.

It wasn’t All-Pro from Raimann, but it was upper-tackle echelon, while needing to continue to build his physical strength to constantly handle more powerful rushers. The bonus with Raimann has been he also comes in pretty cheap in 2024 (Year 3 of 4-year rookie contract). Although a contract extension for him, which would be a good thing, could be in the cards a year from now.

You can’t say with the same confidence that Paye is this team’s leading edge rush guy moving forward.

In fact, there were moments in the second half of the season when the Colts actually didn’t have Paye as a member of their third-down rush package (opting for a 4-man grouping of DeForest Buckner, Samson Ebukam, Dayo Odeyingbo and Tyquan Lewis instead).

Paye did have 8.5 sacks in Year 3, but his consistent pressure rates were not high.

Per Pro Football Reference, Paye ranked 33rd in sacks, 78th in pressures and 185th in quarterback knockdowns.

Is that worth picking up Paye’s 5th year team option, for the 2025 season, which is expected to be north of $13 million? The Colts must make that decision on Paye by the first week of May.

Entering this season, we said if the Colts could get positive answers on Paye and/or Raimann it would greatly lessen the need to commit important resources at these two very premium positions in upcoming drafts.

That can be said at left tackle, but not defensive end, in my opinion.

3. Pro Bowl Defenders Still There

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This boiled down to Kenny Moore needing to bounce back from an admittedly disappointing 2022 campaign, and Shaquille Leonard trying to return to his normal, elite, form.

And this is a pretty obvious to answer.

Moore, 28, playing in a contract year, after his public desire for a deal change last offseason didn’t work out, had a nice bounce back. Given the youth in the cornerback room, the Colts really needed the Pro Bowl level back from Moore. Perhaps he wasn’t at that mark, but he did offer some stability, and playmaking, from his slot position. When you look at the cornerback depth chart, and hear Colts defenders talk about what Moore means to the unit, it only stresses the importance in re-signing him.

Leonard, 28, was cut by the team in November, after on-field struggles, and not holding back in expressing a disagreement with Gus Bradley about his playing time.

Ironically, Leonard’s picture on the side of Lucas Oil Stadium (along with Jonathan Taylor, Quenton Nelson and DeForest Buckner) was replaced by Moore late in the season. When you looked at Leonard’s contract through 2026, the Colts could not justify keeping and paying him such a high price tag.

These two have been defensive mainstays in the Chris Ballard era.

One is gone. Will the other return?

4. Shane Steichen’s Plate

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Shane Steichen wants it all on his plate.

He wants the head coaching duties, the play calling responsibility, and had his eyes focused on Anthony Richardson during positional drills at virtually every practice.

How Steichen, 38, handled all of that in his first head coaching run was something to watch in 2023.

And, for the most part, Steichen handled all of those duties pretty darn well.

Sure, there were a few times where Steichen wore the “play caller” hat too much instead of letting the “head coach” voice of his ultimately make the decision, but that’s to be expected in a 17 game season.

Exiting 2023 though, Colts fans should be very pleased by Steichen leading the operation.

5. Contract Answer For Michael Pittman Jr.

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We did not get any answer on Michael Pittman Jr.’s future in Indianapolis.

Although MPJ certainly made a strong case for the Colts retaining him after a 100-catch, 1,000-yard fourth NFL season.

Pittman is a consistent, tough receiver, who has given this position group something reliable over the past few years.

The staff really likes Pittman, so this marriage continuing beyond 2023 should be the expectation, even if that means using the franchise tag for the first time since 2013.

No matter the debate on Pittman compared to other “No. 1 wideouts” in the NFL, the Colts cannot overlook his presence for Anthony Richardson moving forward.

6. Jonathan Taylor’s Future

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Hallelujah, we got an answer to the Jonathan Taylor drama!

Just a day before he was scheduled to make his Colts debut (would Taylor have without a contract extension?), the Colts running back put pen to paper on a 3-year extension for $42 million.

This settled quite the Taylor/Colts saga from the offseason.

And it means Anthony Richardson will have a bonafide running back next to him through for at least the next couple of seasons.

Taylor did miss 3 December games due to a torn ligament in his right thumb, but ended the season with one of the finest games of his career—rushing 30 times for 188 yards and a touchdown.

Excitement should be budding to see Taylor and Richardson in the backfield together next fall.

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