But more than those moments of instant gratification, I'm enamored with the way football has evolved into a form of high stakes chess. Offenses and defenses alike spend every moment of preparation figuring out how to come up with new ways to disguise their true intentions and to attack their opponents' weaknesses.
Good afternoon, Colts fans. For today’s late edition of the Notebook (no, not that Notebook), we’ll talk about Pagano’s take on the offensive line, some good blocking from the likes of Vick Ballard and Darrius Heyward-Bey, and, of course, Andrew Luck’s touchdown run.
Blocking and Blitz Pickup
Sunday’s game against Oakland began with two very good drives, and, despite a sack, it was mostly a good showing by the offensive line. Things appeared to change at some point in the second quarter, however, as Luck would be sacked three more times in the game, and the offense virtually ground to a halt until their game winning drive.
On the performance of the offensive linemen, Chuck Pagano was very positive, but he acknowledged the need for improvement. “I thought they played good,” he began. “There’s always going to be, especially in the opener, some things to clean up. They’d all tell you they’d be the first ones across the board to tell you that we’ve got to play better and we will play better. But again, you rush for 127 yards and average 4.9 per carry. We said going in we’d love to be at 4.0. So we hit that goal. We’ve got to clean up. It’s some communication things, some technique things. Again, it’s the first ball game and we’ll be better as far as run-blocking and protection going into the second week.”
One of the most interesting and intriguing, yet always personally infuriating, plays that the Colts have run this year (both in preseason and against the Raiders) is the play-action pass with a pulling guard.
The play generally involves a single-back set and at least one tight end. Luck fakes a handoff to one side and the guard on the opposite side pulls to the play-fake side to simulate a running play, further adding to the ruse.
The concept is an old staple of the Stanford offense, and a well-established one. Chris Brown at Smart Football highly endorsed it last April (and provided a better explanation than I ever could), specifically talking about that Luck-led Stanford offense.
For the Colts, the play presents some benefits, but some real challenges as well.
Greetings Colts fans, and welcome to my new weekly column, "The Monday Morning Moaner." Let's face it: there's a lot of positivity about the Colts these days. Ryan Grigson is great. Chuck Pagano is great. Andrew Luck is great. Everything's great. But what if it wasn't great? What if we just, for a brief moment, focused on the negative? That's where I come in. I know, I know, you're thinking to yourself: "Greg... negative? But how?" It'll be hard, but I'll find a way to make it happen. For you.
As most of you know (actually, it's probably all of you, but I didn't want to assume), the Colts won their regular season opener yesterday, with a 21-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders. So, the team is 1-0, not a lot to moan about, right?
I hate the Colts offense.
No, not the players. I love Luck and Reggie and Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener and Anthony Castonzo and Donald Thomas and TY Hilton and even Darrius Heyward-Bey. When I say I hate the offense, I mean the scheme that horrible, inexplicably misuses those incredibly-talented players. So what do I hate about the Pep Hamilton offense? Let me count the ways...
1) Running the Ball. Look, there's a time and place to run the ball. I've complained all off-season that the team's "run the ball, stop the run" mantra is meaningless and outdated, but the reality is, being able to run the ball in certain situations is nice. The running game is great for picking up short yardage 1st downs and goal line scores. When the opposing pass rush is controlling the game, a nice screen or draw is a great way to stop it in its tracks. And my favorite aspect of the running game is that it allows the offense to utilize the play-action pass to create separation for the receivers.
Unfortunately, the Colts don't use their running game as this beautiful supplement for Andrew Luck and their passing game. Instead, the running game seems like... a separate entity? The Colts have two offenses: their passing offense and their running offense. When they want to pass the ball, they lineup with either 2 or 3 WRs, 1 or 2 TEs, and 1 RB. When they want to run the ball, they come out with at least 2 TEs (sometimes a 6th OL/3rd TE), 1 WR, and sometimes a FB. Their pass formations scream "pass" and their run formations scream "run." I'll let my esteemed colleague, Nate Dunlevy, sum this up:
Hated the fullback plays. If you have to run a special formation to run, it's not balance. Want to run back film of that and see its utility
The absolute best offenses in the NFL have a synergy: the pass feeds off of the run and the run feeds off of the pass. They do this, generally, by running a bunch of plays that "look the same." If the defense can't look at the pre-snap formation and tell if it's a run or a pass, it makes it harder for them to defend the play. By utilizing two unique sets of formations for both actions (running and passing) you're removing the best parts of being able to run and pass.
Quick aside: the Colts running game was NOT good yesterday. Sure, they ran for 4.45ypc (remove Luck's yardage), but a deeper look at the numbers shows the following: 13 of those yards came on a pointless 3rd-and-31 carry. Outside of that, the success rate for the Colts RBs was an abysmal 35% (46% for Ballard (not bad), 17% for Bradshaw (horrible), for reference: last year, the highest success rate was 58%, and Vick Ballard's 2012 success rate was 48%). The Colts rushing attack was very boom-bust (either a great run or a horrible run). Very little consistency. And never mind the irony of calling yourself a POWER RUNNING team and then not running the ball on a 4th-and-1.
More importantly, however, is WHY the Colts are doing this: the offensive line isn't very good, which means they don't have the personnel to be the kind of team Grigson, Pagano, and Hamilton want them to be. Instead of looking at Luck, Reggie Wayne, TY Hilton, Fleener and Allen and saying, "We have the tools to be one of the most dynamic, dominant offenses in the NFL, let's throw the heck out of the ball," they have decided what kind of team they want to be irrespective of their talent. It's simply not smart management, but it does lead us to #2:no comments
It wasn’t the prettiest, but the Indianapolis Colts started the 2013 season with a win, 21-17 over the Oakland Raiders. In a game that, on paper, shouldn’t have been very close, the Colts came out of the gate on fire. They ran and stopped the run as they had intended (except, of course, for a certain quarterback), and more importantly, it didn’t come at the expense of passing and stopping the pass.
The Raiders’ first drive moved decently but ended with a Greg Toler interception. It may have been a bad pass, but a good corner should be able to get his hands on a bad throw when it comes his way. (more after the jump)
FOOTBALL'S BACK! The Colts open up the 2013 Regular Season with a home game against the Oakland Raiders! Here's your open thread, where you can discuss the game, rant about RUNNING THE BALL, and celebrate the greatness of Andrew Luck.
Have fun!no comments
Three weeks ago, Colts Authority released the first ever "Colts Authority Annual." A mixture of a look back at the best moments of 2012 and an in-depth preview of the upcoming season, the Annual was created to give Colts fans a high quality resource to get them ready for the 2013 season. Now, with the preseason over and the Colts set to take on the Raiders in their regular season opener, it's time to take this season preview off the shelves.
So, if you've been wanting to read it, but just haven't had the time, consider this your 2-minute warning. When the Colts and Raiders kick-off tomorrow at 1:07pm, the Annual will no longer be sold. You can find it here, on Madison House Publishing for $4.99.
Thank you for your support and for being the best fan base in the NFL.no comments
For those that aren't aware, the Colts Authority staff is involved in multiple podcasts throughout the week.
In addition to the fantastic Colts Authority Radio, I also do a weekly show called Colts Central Radio with Tyler Brooke of Bleacher Report. It's a short podcast, typically lasting under 40 minutes.
Next week, we'll be interviewing Dom Rhodes, so be sure to tune in for that one as well.
In other site related news, I'll be starting a weekly NFL column for our parent site Bloguin.com on Tuesday. Be sure to check it out.
Also, keep in mind that after tomorrow, the Colts Authority Annual will no longer be available. Buy it while you still can. Remember, satisfaction is guaranteed or your money back.no comments