Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/4/12

These aren’t your father’s Indianapolis Colts. They might not even be your older brother’s. After finishing tied for the worst record in the NFL at 2-14, owner Jim Irsay pretty much blew up the roster that had previously taken the Colts to nine consecutive playoff appearances and two Super Bowls. Irsay had termed the makeover “Building the Monster.” Whether or not the Colts scare their opponents, this is perhaps the biggest roster reshuffling in NFL history.

The most radical and celebrated change is at quarterback, where future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning left with his surgically repaired neck to finish his career in Denver. In his place is Andrew Luck, who the Colts hope can approach Manning’s level of performance.

Irsay loved the symmetry of replacing Manning 14 years later with a virtual clone: a strong-armed, cerebral quarterback who is the son of a former NFL quarterback. To this point, Luck has not disappointed.

In his preseason debut against the St. Louis Rams, Luck completed 10 of 16 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. He even matched Manning’s debut by throwing a touchdown on his first pass as a Colt. Some rookie quarterbacks look like rookies, but Luck isn’t one of them.

He continued to look good throughout the preseason, leading a first half comeback against Pittsburgh in week two. He’s seen some tough defenses thus far and appears unflappable. How he’ll fare on opening day in Soldier Field may be another story.

Only Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie remain from what was once one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses. Collie was pronounced fit for Sunday despite suffering his fourth concussion against Pittsburgh. The Colts drafted two wide receivers and two tight ends and picked up free agent Donnie Avery as well.

Along with a nice stable of young running backs, led by Donald Brown, new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has a number of weapons to put at Luck’s disposal.

On defense, new head coach Chuck Pagano has brought over his hybrid 3-4 scheme from Baltimore. Greg Manusky is the new coordinator, preaching a desire for “violence” on every play. The switch in scheme means that long time stalwarts at defensive end, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, are now playing as stand-up outside linebackers.

This has led to some problems containing the perimeter against the run, the most glaring weakness of the Colts’ defense during preseason. Matt Forte and the Bears’ running game could have some success if they attack the Colts’ defense on the outside and force Mathis and Freeney to rush the quarterback more cautiously.

Cory Redding and Tom Zbikowski came over as free agents from Baltimore to join Pagano in Indy and provide some veteran experience. Redding has missed most of the preseason with injury, but should be ready to go Sunday.

The Colts secondary is their biggest question mark. Veteran Jerraud Powers returns as the main cover corner and the team acquired Vontae Davis from the Dolphins during the last week of the preseason. Depth is an issue though and Bears fans should be ready to see Jay Cutler test the corners early and often

Chuck Chapman is the editor at Colts 101

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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