Overview of Madden Teams - Indianapolis Colts
The real life Indianapolis Colts have been a consistent playoff team, but have yet to take that next step. In madden, however, these guys can go as far as you can take them. They have a very talented roster, and should definitely be taken advantage of.
Quarterbacks - Andrew Luck is one of the best young signal callers in the league right now (the best, in this writers' opinion). He has the athleticism (83 speed, 85 agility) to avoid the rush and run when he needs to, the arm (94 throw power) to make all the throws needed - including the deep bombs, and the accuracy (85 short, 87 medium, 85 deep) to shred the opposing secondary all game long. Backing up Luck is veteran Matt Hasselbeck, who can still lead his team - but only when he absolutely needs to.
Running Backs - At this position, it's difficult to choose one specific starter, as all of them have traits working for and against them. However, my preference would be to split carries, mostly between Trent Richardson (74 overall, 23 years old) and Vick Ballard (75, 24). Richardson has decent speed (86 speed, 83 agility) with decent trucking (80), and a good 87 carrying, making him the most well-rounded back on the team. Ballard, on the other hand lacks speed (83 speed, 79 agility), but makes up for it with his 89 trucking and 90 carrying - although his 79 injury is definitely a red flag against using him as your unquestioned starter. Veteran Ahmad Bradshaw (84, 28) and Daniel Herron (75, 25) make for a solid grouping, even though this roster does not contain a franchise running back. Rookie fullback Zurlon Tipton (66, 24) has the makings of another running back in this rotation (81 speed, 88 trucking, 84 carrying, 72 catch), but needs to work on his blocking (52 run blocking) if he is to grow as a fullback.
Wide Receivers - I would personally rearrange this receiving corps to benefit all involved. My starting number one receiver would be 26 year old Hakeem Nicks (80 overall). His solid size (6'1", 208 pounds) would be beneficial against the opposing teams' top cornerback. His good hands (86 catch, 90 catch in traffic) and decent route running (74) would definitely help out, as well as his 84 beat press rating. The ageing Reggie Wayne (81, 35) would play as my number two man, as he would line up against the second best opposing corner. Wayne's hands (87 catch, 86 catch in traffic) would come in handy (no pun intended) as would his 77 route running and 97 awareness. 24 year old T.Y. Hilton (91) is a great speed threat in the slot (96 speed and agility), and he has great hands as well (93 catch, 87 catch in traffic). He can run routes as well as anyone (96), which all makes him a perfect fit for a slot receiver. Donte Moncrief (75, 21) and Griff Whalen (74, 24) provide solid depth to this receiving group.
Tight Ends - Both Coby Fleener (83, 25) and Dwayne Allen (84, 24) deserve a starting job, but only one can technically be the starter. Fleener has better speed (83 compared to 75) and better hands (86 catch to 81, and 84 catch in traffic to 79) than Allen, even though the latter has much better blocking skills (83 run blocking compared to 64) so it depends on how you use your tight ends. Personally, I like using faster guys in that spot, rather than blockers because I tend to target them frequently. Either way, it would be very smart to run two tight end sets throughout the game to make the best use of these two great young players.
Offensive Line - This is a pretty good offensive line overall, but there are a couple of spots that can be improved upon. The good includes left tackle Anthony Castonzo (90, 26) who is a great blindside protector of Andrew Luck, and should be in that spot for a very long time. The two guard spots are decent, although not the most ideal. At left guard, Donald Thomas (81, 28) is a solid blocker (88 run blocking, 78 pass blocking), but is average at best, and is slowly ageing. At right guard is the opposite, as Hugh Thornton (75, 23) has a lot of potential, but has a bit to go before he can be considered a "great" option along the offensive line. The same goes for Khaled James (71, 24) at center - he has potential, but has to realize it before he can be considered anything more. At right tackle, the ageing Gosder Cherilus (79, 30) is a decent starter, but is obviously not the long-term option.
Defensive Line - Coming off the edge, Corey Redding (83, 33) isn't necessarily scaring anybody anymore. He is still a solid lineman, but he is ageing and only has a couple of years left - at most. Ricky Jean Francois (77, 27) is a solid backup, although nothing special at his position. Fili Moala (75, 29) is more of the same, unfortunately. He is ageing, isn't a long term option, and is only a decent starter. The interior of the line is even worse, however. Josh Chapman (72, 25) and Montori Hughes (69, 24) are backups, and not worthy of a starting job. They are just incapable of making the plays necessary to stop big time offenses. The entire defensive line (mostly the defensive tackles) is one of the Colts' biggest needs for the offseason.
Linebackers - Eric Walden (80, 29) is a veteran who can be relied on to make plays (79 awareness, 80 tackle, 82 hit power) but not to be a game-changing player. He is, however, a good placeholder, until someone else is brought in to take his place. It may be wise to let backup right side linebacker Bjoern Werner (73, 24) share time with him. Werner may be the next great Colts linebacker, and with his potential (76 tackle, 84 hit power, 85 pursuit, 64 zone coverage) that really isn't huge news. On the right side, 33 year old Robert Mathis (93 overall) has seen his glory days pass him by - but he still knows how to dominate on defense. His speed is somehow still top-notch (88 speed, 86 agility), as is his pursuit (95), play recognition (94) and awareness (95). Former Cleveland Brown D'Qwell Jackson (83, 30) is a solid choice to man the middle, as he has good awareness (92), really good tackling skills (87 tackling, 85 hit power), good pursuit (87), and surprisingly good zone coverage (78). He can be counted on as a good starter for this team (although that doesn't mean you can't still search for one in the mid-rounds of the upcoming draft).
Cornerbacks - Vontae Davis was one of the most underrated corners in the entire league until a couple of short years ago. He now sits at a 98 overall at only age 26. Davis can truly do it all, as shown by his ratings. He has a 98 man coverage and 96 zone, to go along with a 98 press rating. Davis truly is the definition of a shutdown cornerback. Lining up across from him should be Darius Butler (79, 28) who has an 82 rating in man coverage, and a 77 in zone. He is a solid second corner, but he could be better. Lining up in the slot is Greg Toler (80, 29) with 78 man and 86 zone coverages. I like the idea of Toler as the nickel back, as he has experience on the outside as well, if he is needed there. Josh Gordy (74, 27) and Jalil Brown (68, 26) provide average depth at this position.
Safety - Laron Landry (79, 29) seems to have been playing in this league for a while now, when in reality it's only been eight years. He has good speed for a safety (90 speed, 80 agility) and still is one of the hardest hitting players in the entire NFL (70 tackle, 98 hit power). Behind him is Sergio Brown (78, 26), who is pretty average across the board, sans his 81 zone coverage. At strong safety, Mike Adams (83, 33) starts, and is pretty average in his ratings. His 86 speed is decent, and so is his 64 catching (nothing special). Adams is a poor tackler (67 tackle, 64 hit power), but has good zone coverage (84). He is up and down, but average overall.
Summary - While this is a very good roster like a said, age is definitely a real problem, and should be handled accordingly in franchise mode. Their few needs on offense (franchise running back, quality and youth on the offensive line) don't look like much at all compared to their defensive needs (two pass rushers, two defensive tackles, linebacker youth, cornerback, strong safety). Even with these issues, the Colts can be used in head to head matches, and beat any team in the league, as long as you know how to use Andrew Luck, and use a rotation at running back. T.Y. Hilton at receiver is also a dangerous weapon to utilize as well - especially in the slot. Defensively, age shouldn't be a problem in head to head matches, but you're going to have to find a way to mask the deficiencies on the defensive line (blitz early and often, and try to score large amounts of points). The secondary and linebacking units look to be in good shape - much like this Colts team in general.