INDIANAPOLIS — 32nd. 32nd. 29th. 32nd. 29th.
A quick look at the post-draft “NFL Power Rankings” by various sports websites doesn’t exactly paint the best picture when it comes to the outside perspective of the Indianapolis Colts.
After a 4-12 season and a change at head coach — as well as the continued uncertainty at the quarterback position, at least to outsiders — the pundits aren’t expecting much out of the 2018 Colts.
So does new head coach Frank Reich care, at least publicly, about any of the outside noise?
Well, yes and no.
See, keeping tabs on where you stand in various sites’ power rankings more than 100 days before the start of the regular season — way before the roster takes shape during training camp and the preseason — is, really, a moot point.
But as Reich told reporters this week, “I think we take note, but we don’t go crazy on that right now.”
“At this point, we’re focused on who we got in the building and how we’re going to get better,” Reich said when asked what he made of being ranked 32nd, last in the league, in a recent power ranking. “Now is really not too much time for bulletin board material.”
But Reich isn’t about to ignore the rankings, completely.
Head to ESPN.com, and the Colts are ranked 32nd. Will the team’s selections of offensive linemen in the first and second round of the NFL Draft pay off, they wonder?
At NFL.com, analyst Elliot Harrison also has the Colts at No. 32 overall. Pretty good draft, Harrison writes, but apparently it wasn’t enough to earn the respect of moving ahead of any other team.
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco is a little more kind to the Colts, ranking them 29th. If Andrew Luck can return fully healthy, maybe that’ll change, he writes.
USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis has the Colts at No. 32, too, and says the “questions still far exceed the answers” for Indy.
At SB Nation, the Colts are ranked 29th, just behind the likes of the Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears.
In the grand scheme of things, the rankings don’t matter; plenty of teams have headed into seasons without any sort of hype and went on to play well. Just look at the 2012 Colts, who were ranked at or near the bottom of preseason power rankings that year and, led by then-rookie Luck, would go on to post an 11-5 record and earn a playoff berth.
Reich acknowledged that this current crop of Colts have “a lot of work to do” to get to that same point, but “we like the position we’re in” — whether those on the outside believe in them or not.
“I like the guys we have in the room,” Reich said. “I like the guys that are out on the field, in the meeting room, in the weight room. I like what we’re seeing.
“Let’s just put it this way,” Reich continued. “I’m very confident that the team we’re going to put on the field this year is going to be a highly competitive team.”