Browns 2017 opponent breakdown: Colts, Week 3


One by one, is breaking down each of the Browns' 2017 regular season opponents as training camp fast approaches.*

Who: Indianapolis Colts

When: Sept. 24

Where: @ Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

Series history: 12-12 (Most recent: Colts 25, Browns 24 in 2014 at FirstEnergy Stadium)

Way-too-early storyline(s): The Colts, typically a playoff contender of late, are coming off a relatively disappointing 8-8 season that watched them experience a series of highs and lows.

But Indianapolis is poised bounce back with sixth-year quarterback Andrew Luck — who completed 64 percent of his passes for 4,240 yards, 31 touchdowns and just 13 interceptions. Offense wasn't a problem for Indianapolis in 2016 — they ranked 10th in total offense and fifth in the pass game. Its defense, however, struggled, finishing 30th in total yards surrendered and yards per game.

Though after signing some key free agents and drafting S Malik Hooker and DE/LB Tarell Basham, the Colts stand to improve on that side of the ball.

Key players to watch: QB Andrew Luck, WR T.Y. Hilton, RB Frank Gore, S Malik Hooker, DL Jonathan Hankins, DE Jabaal Sheard, LB John Simon, TE Jack Doyle, OL Jack Mewhort

What happened in Indianapolis this offseason?

— The Colts used their first-round pick on Malik Hooker, the rangy Ohio State safety whom had seven interceptions in his first and only year as a starter. Hooker should help a Colts secondary that struggled last season.

— They were pretty active in free agency, signing solid players like Jonathan Hankins, Jabaal Sheard and John Simon, who were all starters on their former teams. They also inked former Seahawks/Packers running back Christine Michael before placing him on injured reserve last month and tabbed former Browns first-round pick Barkevious Mingo off waivers.

— They parted ways with general manager Ryan Grigson in January after five seasons. Grigson, who worked with Browns vice president of personnel Andrew Berry during their time in Indianapolis, joined Cleveland's front office this past spring as a senior personnel executive.

— Fun note for all you Ohio State fans: the Colts feature five former Buckeyes, including Hooker, Hankins and Simon -- the most of any NFL team.

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