ANDERSON, Ind. — Daniel Jeremiah believes the Indianapolis Colts should be getting a little more hype entering the 2016 season.
The Colts players and coaches aren't too sure about that.
It's not that those on the team aren't confident about their chances this year. The thing is, they're just fine with flying under the radar.
But first, here's what Jeremiah, an analyst with the NFL Network, had to say in a recent video on NFL Now, in which he ranks the Colts as his No. 3 "underrated" team in the NFL heading into the season:
"This is a team last year, we seem to forget, a team that beat the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, that took the Carolina Panthers to overtime, that went 8-8 without Andrew Luck for the majority of the season. I think they're very underrated. They ran this division for a very long time. I think they get back to dominance in this division again this year; they win the AFC South."
Jeremiah has the Chicago Bears (No. 1) and San Diego Chargers (No. 2) as the other teams on this underrated list.
First, everything Jeremiah says is accurate. And he's not alone in his thoughts about the Colts getting back to their winning ways in the division, as CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora last week told Colts.com the following about Indy's prospects for 2016:
"I know there's a hype train going on with this division now, right? And everybody's looking looking at the Jags and all these teams, and the Texans, and saying, you know, they're the next 'It' team. That's not me. Color me a skeptic on that. So I think the Colts are positioned to win a lot of games in their division and get back to the playoffs."
But, as mentioned earlier, the Colts players and coaches aren't buying into the hype train this season. Last year, the team was mentioned by many around the league as a Super Bowl favorite, and, for a variety of reasons, the team narrowly missed out on a playoff spot.
In fact, some of Jeremiah's colleagues at the NFL Network seem to think the Colts will somehow regress in 2016, predicting a 6-10 record for the team for 2016. Here's what some players and coaches had to say about that prediction, and others speaking of being under the radar this time around:
• "Good, it's just more fuel to the fire. I know what we have in that locker room, I know the sense of urgency coming from every guy in that locker room that was a part of last season and prior seasons. I'm glad, no one is expecting us. … To be quite honest with you, I could care less one way or the other. I know the time and the sacrifice I've put into just preparing for each day, staying up early mornings and late nights and I know a lot of other guys are doing that as well. I'm glad, once we get to the preseason and season and actually put what we've done in practice to the game field, I think everything else will take care of itself." — Inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson
• "I love it. Me personally, I've always played the underdog role. Right now, it looks like the Colts are the underdog; no one is talking about us, and that's a good thing. There's no pressure. We aren't worrying about what anyone else is saying. We just have to handle what we have to handle and our goal is to end up in Houston." — Safety Mike Adams
• "It's always exciting when we give our fans something to get excited about so obviously free agency can be enjoyable in terms of creating preseason excitement, but I think that we feel and knew where we were cap-wise going into this year that it was mainly going to be through the draft. We also feel like we did add some guys that could help us and we were also happy to have eight draft picks total, add those extra picks that we got. Again, I think there was big splash last year obviously but I think that everyone knows that we kind of feel like if we can play like we did against Denver and even better that with some young players we're going to be a heck of a franchise to compete with. We know our division is a lot better, it's going to be tough but we're up for the challenge. We have continuity which is great, with Ryan (Grigson) and Chuck (Pagano), and Andrew (Luck) is feeling great. We're excited, we really are." — Owner Jim Irsay
• "I think it's exciting. I'm really excited. I'm excited about just the whole continuity, the synergy, the energy that the new coordinators bring and you never have to worry about that with Midge, or Tom McMahon, Midge as he's called. There is really good energy and there is a lot of great communication lines between those three phases. We're all in this together so I think people are excited about a lot, even the current development of the players that we have out here that some of us weren't even that familiar with that are starting to make a name for themselves out here because they're buying in." — General Manager Ryan Grigson
• "Yeah, well first, no we did not pay attention to what outside expectations are. Obviously, you listen to the owner of the team and you listen to GM and you listen to the head coach and your teammates. As far as expectations internally, it's been the same since I've been a rookie here. Probably the same since before I was a rookie here. It's you win. This is a winning franchise. You find a way to make the playoffs and give yourself a chance to win the Super Bowl. That's always been the expectation, no matter if you're picked first, 32nd, or anywhere in between." — Quarterback Andrew Luck
• "You know as well as I know, this is day-to-day and week-to-week, regardless. We have a job to do, it is a bottom line business as you now and it's all about one thing and one thing only and that's winning. So we are going to go to work, roll up our sleeves and try to win football games. But it's a bottom line business and it's day-to-day. I don't look at it as, 'Hey, I have security now.' Because the biggest myth in life is you think you have time and you really don't." — Head Coach Chuck Pagano
• "I don't look back. I don't look back on last season. This is a brand new season, a lot of great things here. We've got a lot of new additions here and I'm really looking forward to it. I am very excited about the season." — Outside linebacker Trent Cole
• "You know what, every year as you're back in this locker room as a professional, as an athlete, it's an honor — it's almost a dream, you know, every year you come back here — so for me I have that excitement every year. I know the guys in this locker room have that same excitement, that same hunger to go out there and prove yourself again, get out there and win some games, get out there and play well. And that's what every game in this locker room is all looking forward to doing." — Cornerback Darius Butler