Coming off of last year’s dismal 8-8 season, the Indianapolis Colts will look to get back to their winning ways as they opened training camp Wednesday at Anderson University.

The 2015 Colts were looking to have a monumental season with the free agency acquisitions of Frank Gore, Trent Cole, and Andre Johnson and their 2014 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. However, an injury to Andrew Luck, and subpar performances from many of the Colts stable saw them miss the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

The horseshoe, who many pundits on the NFL Network project will finish 6-10, have had winning seasons in 14 of their last 17 and have only missed the playoffs three times in that span.

To turn it around, the Colts must have a great comeback season from quarterback Andrew Luck, with his new 6-year, $140 million contract. He MUST stay healthy for the Colts to compete this year. With the emphasis on offensive linemen in the draft and the return of Anthony Costonzo and the emergence first round selection, Ryan Kelly, out of Alabama, Indianapolis will look to keep their franchise more upright.

The Colts hired former Miami Dolphins head coach, Joe Philbin, to be their new line coach. Philbin has a reputation of coaching very good o-lines and hopes to bring that to Indy.

If Luck can stay healthy and hit his receivers, TY Hilton, Donte Moncrief, and Phillip Dorsett, it should help open some running lanes for Frank Gore and company. Rob Chudzinski will take over the reigns as offensive coordinator. He will look to install his own scheme in 2016 after taking over for Pep Hamilton last season and running his sets.

The defense, who ranked 26th overall last year, must also play better. Robert Mathis is back, but aging, and appears to be healthy. Darius Butler, Vontae Davis, and D’Qwell Jackson will also look to solidify the defense, who’s under first year defensive coordinator Ted Manchino.

Manchino comes to the Colts from the Baltimore Ravens where he served as linebackers coach. He worked with Colts head coach, Chuck Pagano, in 2010 and 2011, where Pagano served as DC the final year he was in Baltimore. So, Manchino is very comfortable in Pagano’s 3-4 defense and has coached great pass rushers like Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervill during his time as a Raven.

The “Fourth Down Army” is back and better than ever with Pat McAfee, Adam Vinatieri and Matt Overton. McAfee and Vinatieri were both Pro-Bowler’s last year, along with Hilton, Davis and Luck, and will look to have great seasons again in 2016.

The Colts defense struggled last year because the offense couldn’t sustain drives or made costly turnovers to put them in tough situations

I think both sides, including Pagano, and GM Ryan Grigson, learned from their mistakes last season and we will see marked improvements.

I’m going to pick the Colts to finish 11-5 and take their seat back atop the AFC South standings. My youngest believes they’ll finish 9-7, let’s hope he’s wrong.

The preseason starts for the Colts at the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 7 when they’ll face the Green Bay Packers. Their regular season opener is Sept. 11, when they’ll host the Detroit Lions.

Scott Smith is a Sports Writer for The Paper and has enjoyed covering Montgomery County sports for almost two years. What started out as simply attending his son’s baseball games turned into a passion for writing about all different games and players. Scott’s “From the Cheap Seats” can be found in The Paper every Friday.