Frank Gore signed with the Indianapolis Colts last season with the goal of turning one of his new team's weaknesses into a strength. Indianapolis hadn't had a legitimate running back threat in years, but Gore didn't live up to the hype that surrounded him during training camp and preseason action.
While Gore struggled a bit last season and wasn't able to hit the 1,000-yard mark, he will bounce back with a huge season in 2016 for the Colts.
Andrew Luck missed the majority of last season due to multiple different injury problems. That forced the Colts to feed Gore the football with defenses packing the box. No defense in the NFL would respect Matt Hasselbeck enough to drop back into safe coverage.
Throughout the course of the season, Gore ended up carrying the football 260 times for 967 yards and six touchdowns. Those numbers may not look impressive, but they offer hope for the upcoming season.
The longest run that Gore had during the year was just 37 yards, which shows just how difficult running the football was for the Colts without Luck on the field. Adding Luck to the field will open up opportunities for much bigger runs for Gore.
At 33-years-old, Gore still has plenty of football left in him. He showed that last season by beating all of the nagging injuries he suffered to continue playing each week and putting up solid numbers. Indianapolis will give him a much better situation in 2016 with a balanced all-around offense.
Chuck Pagano and the Colts' front office could have gone out and pursued another running back this offseason, but they didn't do that. They showed faith in Gore and are expecting him to come out and show why they signed him in the first place. Gore has always been one of the toughest backs in the league, and that will show once again this coming season.
Indianapolis will continue feeding the football to Gore this season. There is a good chance that he will get around 15-20 carries per game. If that is indeed the kind of workload the Colts give to him, he will likely exceed the 1,000-yard mark and prove once again that he is a top back in the NFL.
There is pressure on Gore to succeed this season as well. If he is unable to perform up to standards, the Colts will likely consider moving on from him. Great players play at their best when pressure is on their shoulders.
It will be intriguing to see what kind of offensive unit the Colts put on the field this coming season. Luck being at full health will make them dangerous, but the tight end and wide receiver positions still have some question marks surrounding them. Indianapolis also improved the offensive line, which will be a major help to both Luck and Gore.
Jim Irsay strongly believes that the Colts can be Super Bowl contenders this coming season. It won't be easy, but they will certainly need Gore to bounce back and put up big numbers.
Expect to see Gore come out this season looking to prove a point. He is still unhappy with the way the 2015 season panned out, which will fuel his fire to bounce back. Indianapolis still believes that he can be a key piece to their Super Bowl hopes, and he will prove them right for sticking with him.
What kind of season do you expect to see from Indianapolis Colts' veteran running back Frank Gore? Do you think he will bounce back with a big year and get back to the 1,000-yard mark? Let us know in the comment box below!
[Photo by Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini]