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The Indianapolis Colts are gearing up for the 2023 NFL season, and their training camp is buzzing with activity. This is a good time to take a closer look at a few key players who are facing some early challenges. In this article, we’ll focus on four Colts players who are currently having a bit of a tough time during their training camp: Jonathan Taylor, Gardner Minshew, Bernhard Raimann, and Shaquille Leonard. We’ll give you a quick rundown on each player and discuss how they’re faring in the current training camp, especially where they might be encountering difficulties.

Let’s first rewind a bit and review how the Colts performed last year.

The Previous Season

The Indianapolis Colts had a bit of a rocky ride during the 2022 NFL season. They weren’t in terrible shape in the middle of the season with a 3-3-1 record. However, they lost nine of their last 10 games to finish at 4-12-1 and well outside of the playoffs. They had trouble under center as the Matt Ryan experiment did not exactly pan out. Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles also didn’t exactly do well. Additionally, running back Jonathan Taylor didn’t make it past 1,000 rushing yards for the first time ever while only Michael Pittman Jr was the only consistently reliable WR. While the Colts didn’t make it to the playoffs, they still showcased some potential and have some talented players.

Now, let’s zoom in on the players who are facing challenges this year.

1. Jonathan Taylor

Star Indianapolis Colts running back, Jonathan Taylor is a remarkable athlete. In his debut Colts season, he rushed for 1,169 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. He did even better in his sophomore season with 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns. His third-year effort, however, saw a significant dip in production. He produced just over 860 yards with four touchdowns in 2022. Taylor is currently sitting out training camp because of trade and contract issues. Despite his past success, Taylor’s absence at camp is evident. The Colts struggle without him. Two years after leading the league in rushing, Taylor’s future with the Colts is uncertain.

2. Gardner Minshew

Fourth-year play-caller Gardner Minshew is currently facing the challenge of a quarterback battle with rookie Anthony Richardson during the Colts’ training camp. While Minshew may have the early advantage due to his experience and familiarity with head coach Shane Steichen, there is uncertainty regarding his role as the starting quarterback for the 2023 season. Minshew’s signing with the Colts on a one-year, $3.5 million deal adds intrigue to the quarterback situation.

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However, it remains to be seen whether Minshew will be allowed to start or if he will serve as a backup or stopgap starter until the Colts select a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. The competition with Richardson and the decisions made by the coaching staff during the training camp will ultimately determine Minshew’s role and the direction of the Colts’ quarterback position for the upcoming season.

3. Bernhard Raimann

Sophomore left tackle Bernhard Raimann is expected to take the next step in his development during the upcoming season. Raimann’s rookie year showed promise, and he was consistent across several areas. He finished the season with a 73.3 offensive grade, a 74.7 run-blocking grade, and a 71.4 pass-blocking grade. Of course, the Colts’ offensive line, including Raimann, is critical for the team’s success. That said, Raimann and the rest of the o-line struggled big time in 2022. Their collective underperformance last season was a significant issue. Right now, Raimann is trying to solidify his starting LT spot and trying to stave off rookie Blake Freeland. We do expect Raimann to keep making progress and be the team’s starting left tackle this season. The Colts need him to stabilize the position and take a significant step forward to improve the offensive line’s performance.

4. Shaquille Leonard

The uncertainty surrounding Shaquille Leonard’s return lingers – will he echo the prowess of the team’s All-Pro linebacker or face potential setbacks from a second back surgery that could jeopardize his career? Of course, Leonard acknowledged his longing to regain his peak form. Despite his absence from on-field offseason activities, he expressed optimism about his progress. The team’s stance remains unclear, though. Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay mentioned Leonard’s diligent efforts and gradual improvement during a recent appearance on the Pat McAfee Show. Leonard’s initial hasty return from his first back surgery drew consensus as a mistake, with his truncated fifth season and subsequent second surgery raising questions about his readiness for the upcoming season. As his eight-month rehab unfolds, the pivotal query remains: will Leonard obtain clearance for practice or find himself on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) for a second consecutive year?

Anticipating the Future

Taking a broader view, the 2023 NFL season holds significant importance for the Indianapolis Colts. The team’s success hinges on the effective collaboration between young players and coaches right from the outset. The training camp offers a valuable opportunity for the team to forge strong cohesion and set the stage for the upcoming season. Several pressing questions revolve around the Colts’ training camp: Will Jonathan Taylor stay? How will Shaquille Leonard fare in his recovery? Not to be overlooked, rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson is injecting excitement into the training camp. The outcomes of this training camp will substantially impact the Colts’ preparedness for the 2023 NFL season.

To sum it up, a handful of players on the Colts are encountering challenges during the 2023 NFL training camp. As this progresses, it will be intriguing to observe these players’ growth and whether they can overcome their challenges to shine in the upcoming season.



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