The 2021 season was a roller coaster ride for the Indianapolis Colts. They started things off slowly, going 1-4 out of the gate. They picked things up after that, winning eight of their next 10 games. But, the season ended on a low note as they lost the final two weeks of the season to miss the playoffs.
A big reason for that was the performance of quarterback Carson Wentz. He was unable to pick up his performance when the team needed him the most, putting together his worst game of the season in the finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
After trading him to the Washington Commanders, the Colts acquired Matt Ryan from the Atlanta Falcons. That is a sizable upgrade as Ryan is as consistent as they come and should be able to take advantage of the favorable looks defenses give them when focusing on running back Jonathan Taylor.
A lot of people would say that Ryan is the x-factor for the Colts this season and they would certainly have a strong argument. But, the NFL scout that spoke to NFL Analysis Network chose a different player to be the X-Factor; tight end Mo Alie-Cox.
“You have your big names like Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr., and Alec Pierce. However, the key X-Factor for this team will be tight end Mo Alie-Cox. If the Colts want to live up to their offensive potential, they need to get Mo involved often as a go-to target.”
The converted college basketball big man from Virginia Commonwealth has done an excellent job acclimating himself to the NFL. It took him one year from his basketball career coming to a close in 2017 to make an NFL roster, as he appeared in nine games with the Colts in 2018.
He has seen his opportunities increase each season since then, working his way into a regular role with the team last season. He was on the field for 55 percent of the offensive snaps in 2021 and his role will be even bigger this upcoming season.
With Jack Doyle retiring, there are some targets up for grabs. Cox looks to have the inside track to that and if history has proven anything, it is that converted basketball players can find plenty of success at the position.
Beyond Michael Pittman, who had 1,082 receiving yards last season, no one else on the team finished with even 400 yards. There is a void to fill behind him in the pecking order and involving Cox as a go-to target would help bring this offense to another level.