Indianapolis Colts Offense Features Major Horsepower in 2014

Spread the love

In 2013, the Indianapolis Colts offense was known for its poor pocket protection of Andrew Luck and failed attempt at becoming a run-heavy team. However, this is the same offense that revamped itself, after experiencing several key injuries to starters, into a hurry-up tempo team and found its way into the second round of the playoffs.

In 2014, if the Colts stay healthy offensively, look out for what could be an explosive offense in the NFL, but first realize the impact that these injured starters had on the team.

To begin with, Dwayne Allen, who somehow won the John Mackey Award for most outstanding tight end his last year in college and fell to the third round of the draft, was the most targeted tight end of Andrew Luck even ahead of Coby Fleener in 2012. Allen broke Ken Dilger’s franchise rookie record for receptions by a tight end with 45 catches. Allen is also a better blocker than Fleener and has been used in different spots in the offense, such as in the backfield, at the tight end spot and in the slot as well.  Allen had only one catch in week one before being lost for the season to a hip injury.  That one catch was a 20-yard touchdown. Coach Chuck Pagano’s prediction of Fleener doubling his production only happened because Allen was lost for the season due to a hip injury.

Another key injury the Colts suffered was, of course, the loss of “Mr. Reliable” Reggie Wayne. Needless to say, Wayne was Luck’s savior many times throughout Luck’s rookie season and leading up to the Denver game where Wayne was lost for the year. When the fragile Colts’ pocket would break down, Luck would throw to Wayne out of desperation to save plays, and Wayne was the third-most targeted receiver in the NFL leading up to his injury. Don’t forget that he had 106 catches for over 1,300 yards in 2012 and 38 for over 500 yards in just seven games in 2013.

Yet another notable loss was Vick Ballard. Ballard had the potential of a breakout season with the offense Pep Hamilton had constructed for them. In 2012, he was involved in a much more pass-happy offense under Bruce Arians but still accounted for 814 yards in only 12 starts. Although his average was only 3.9 yards per rush, Ballard did total 4.8 yards per carry against Oakland in Week One and could have benefited greatly from a run-heavy scheme had he not suffered the knee injury in Week Two.

Another key injury was the one suffered by offensive lineman Donald Thomas, whose loss was felt the countless times the interior of Luck’s pocket collapsed or was simply run over by defenders.

We also cannot forget running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw’s short year was capped off when he rushed for 95 yards on 19 carries against the 49ers, averaging five yards per carry for the game and 4.5 per carry for the season up to that point.  He is yet another running back who could’ve made up for Trent Richardson’s poor performance during the season.

The Colts have also upgraded their offence through free agency.

The Colts did let Donald Brown go but, in return, brought back Bradshaw. If he’s healthy along with Ballard then this offense will contain three starting running backs. Indianapolis also scratched Samson Satele after a porous job on the interior for the Colts, signing Phil Costa may not be much of an upgrade though.

General Manager Ryan Grigson once again made a splash in free agency when he signed Hakeem Nicks to a one-year deal.  This could could lead to a longer term deal if he produces well next season. Nicks is a top-tier wide receiver when healthy and motivated.  He has accounted for two 1,000 seasons in his New York Giant days. He also knows when to show up at the highest moments. Nicks totaled 28 catches for 444 yards and four touchdowns in the 2011 postseason, including a 10 catches and 109 yards in Super Bowl XLVI.

Bring all of these factors together and the Colts offense is set up for a high performing year.

The offense will feature Nicks, Wayne, and T.Y. Hilton (who has nearly 2,000 yards in his two year career), Allen and Fleener as its primary passing targets. The team also has some depth with LaVon Brazill and Da’Rick Rodgers backing up. Players like Whalen or the other two could be cut, but the passing attack, nonetheless, should be considerably better.

The Colts’ rushing attack will then have two power backs in Ballard and Richardson and an outside runner and should help Hamilton’s “no-coast offense” finally begin to take form. Protection will be better with Thomas coming back from injury as well.

The recurring theme here obviously is if all these players stay healthy, which is always had to bank on, but if majority of them last the season heading into another playoff run, the Colts will finally have a dominant offense for Luck to shine in.

 

Thank you for reading. Please take a moment to follow me on Twitter –  @MrJoseph68. Support LWOS by following us on Twitter  – @LastWordOnSport – and “liking” ourFacebook page.

Interested in writing for LWOS?  We are looking for enthusiastic, talented writers to join our NFL writing team. Visit our “Write For Us” page for very easy details in how you can get started today!

Football fans…check out our two partnered NFL podcasts – Thursday Night Tailgate Radio and Overtime Ireland.  Both shows bring you interesting commentary, critical analysis and fantastic guests including former and current NFL players, coaches and personalities.

Main Photo: