Yes, first-year offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said it. The Indianapolis Colts want to be a power-running football team this coming season.
But, rest easy, Colts fans. Indianapolis is not about to change its offensive identity too much with a franchise quarterback like Andrew Luck at the helm.
This is what Hamilton and second-year head coach Chuck Pagano want to do: first of all, be a better and more consistent running team. Indianapolis has struggled mightily in recent years sustaining offensive drives and finishing in the red zone with its ground attack.
The Colts have depended way too much, at times, on the strong right arms of former quarterback Peyton Manning and now Luck. Indianapolis has settled for field goals too often while in the shadows of the opponent’s goal posts.
Additionally, there have been times when the team has been unable to pick up first downs in short-yardage running situations, with opposing defenses forcing Indianapolis to turn the ball over on downs.
To put it simply, Pagano and Hamilton want to have the capability to run the football and be successful more often than not. To be able to put the fate of a game in the running back’s hands and not be forced to depend on the quarterback’s ability to scramble around and make plays. That hasn’t been the case for several seasons.
“It’s about being physical. It’s all about imposing our will on our opponent. We do not want to waste plays in the run game. But there are times when, hey, they’re going to have a better call than we have and we got to do a great job of making sure we eliminate the negative plays,” Hamilton explained Monday.
“But, our offensive linemen, they’ve done an outstanding job of accepting the challenge of being physical and having a physical mind-set and buying in to the fact that it’s going to hurt when we run the football. But we expect it to hurt our opponents more than it hurts us, especially in the third quarter, when we continue to run the football.”
Balance is the key. With weapons like receivers Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Griff Whalen and LaVon Brazill — along with tight ends Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener and Justice Cunningham — Luck will be throwing the football.
Hamilton, though, doesn’t want to get away from running the football on a regular basis. Just the opposite, in fact.
“I went back over this summer break and studied several different teams across the league, just their offenses. But you start with the two teams that played in [last season’s] Super Bowl. Both Baltimore and the San Francisco 49ers are both physical, power-running teams that do a great job stopping the run,” he explained.
“I know first-hand, [San Francisco] coach [Jim] Harbaugh’s philosophy of offense. He hired me at Stanford. I believe that we should be able to run the football and commit to running the football. But by no means are we going to not work on being an efficient passing team.
“We want to maintain balance more than anything. I think when we talk about running the football, we’re just trying to create a mentality and mind-set for our guys. For all of our guys.”
n Just win — When it comes to the Colts’ offense, there is one thing that Hamilton is pretty confident about. Luck doesn’t care how the team wins, either with his right arm or with the running game. The result is what’s important.
“We talked about Andrew being a selfless player and that’s one of the things of Coach Pagano’s program. We’re going to do whatever it takes to win ballgames. If that means we’ll go out and throw the ball more than we pass the ball, or vice versa, then so be it,” Hamilton said.
“I think Andrew, he’s bought in to the fact that a good running game can really open up our passing game. That was truly the formula that we used when he was in college. We just want to score points however we can.”
The quarterback agrees.
“It’s great to hand the ball off. The balance of the offense has been a lot of fun to play with, to play in I guess I should say. The guys up front are doing a great job and everybody is really buying into this sort of smash-mouth approach,” Luck said.
“I think that’s only going to help us in the passing game, so it’s been great.”
n Injury list — Cornerback Greg Toler, who had been sidelined since Wednesday with a concussion, returned to practice Monday afternoon.
Prior to the injury, Toler had been having an outstanding camp. He was hurt while diving to bat away a pass. His head glanced off the artificial surface of Anderson University’s primary playing field.
Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (knee), rookie fullback Dan Moore (shoulder), inside linebacker Mario Harvey (hamstring), safety Sergio Brown (hamstring), offensive guard Joe Reitz (stinger), rookie outside linebacker Daniel Adongo (bicep), rookie offensive guard Hugh Thornton (ankle) and rookie center Khaled Holmes (ankle) all remain sidelined.
n Heyward-Bey injury serious? — According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Heyward-Bey’s injury was a sprained left MCL and he was expected to out for an extended period of time. Bleacher Report sports injury writer Will Carroll, who is based in Indianapolis, was a little more specific.
“Hearing DHB knee injury is a Grade one plus MCL sprain. Not surgical, timeline depends on his response to treatment, strength of 2D stabilizers,” Carroll tweeted.
Team officials, however, dispute the notion that Heyward-Bey will miss significant time. The receiver watched Monday’s two practices from the sidelines without the aid of crutches.
Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (shoulder) and safety Larry Asante (AC joint shoulder sprain) also sat out Monday afternoon’s practice.
n Roster move — The Colts waived linebacker Monte Simmons on Monday. Simmons was originally signed to the practice squad on Oct. 23, 2012.
There’s no word on who the team will add to the roster to replace Simmons, but it’s expected to be either a linebacker, wide receiver or a safety.
n NFL referees visit camp — Six National Football League game officials were on hand for Monday’s morning and afternoon practices. In addition to working both practices, the referees also conducted their annual meeting with the team’s media to discuss and review rule changes heading into the 2013 season.
Yes, first-year offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said it. The Indianapolis Colts want to be a power-running football team this coming season.
Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years
Shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, Pat McAfee — the Indianapolis Colts’ punter and kickoff specialist — tweeted that he had a special announcement to make at the top of the hour.
Colts excited to add talent, experience of D'Qwell Jackson
With the National Football League's veteran free agency period set to start on March 11, the Indianapolis Colts front office has started to make the decisions needed to retool for the 2014 season.
Former Cleveland Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who had been released by Cleveland on Feb. 26, signed a reported four-year, $22 million deal with Indianapolis on Thursday. Only the first two years of the contract are guaranteed.
Jackson (6-foot, 240) started 96-of-97 games over the past eight seasons with the Browns since being selected by the team in the second round of the 2006 draft. He played collegiately at Maryland.
EIU’s Garoppolo hopes to impress scouts
Let the Eastern Illinois University quarterback tradition continue.
Mike Shanahan, Jeff Christensen, Sean Payton, Tony Romo and, now, Jimmy Garoppolo. All were record-setting quarterbacks on the Division II and FCS levels.
Grigson says Colts likely not to make big splash in free agency
Don’t expect the Indianapolis Colts to go wild in the upcoming free-agent market.
While the Colts will have anywhere from $33 to $37 million to spend this offseason, Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson says the franchise will be a bit more selective when it comes to signing any prospective veteran free agents.
SEASON IN REVIEW: Colts make progress in 2013 season
The Indianapolis Colts made plenty of progress over the course of the 2013 season.
And the Colts fought through some adversity as injuries hit the team hard at several positions, most notably at wide receiver (Reggie Wayne), tight end (Dwayne Allen), running back (Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw), offensive line (Donald Thomas) and cornerback (Greg Toler).
Moving on: Coach likes what he sees, gets ready for phase three of Colts’ development
Time to move on. In the wake of the Indianapolis Colts’ 43-22 AFC divisional playoff loss at New England last Saturday night, head coach Chuck Pagano is ready to take time off and then start getting after it again late this spring.
Blunt force trauma: Patriots running game too much for Colts
LeGarrette Blount ran the New England Patriots into their third straight AFC championship game.
The 250-pound back had four touchdown runs and New England kept Andrew Luck from a second straight comeback win to beat the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 Sunday night.
‘Still the same Tom’
How do you attempt to stop, or even slow down, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady?
Belichick impressed with Luck's skills, poise under pressure
Bill Belichick doesn’t have to be reminded about the talents of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Although Belichick’s New England Patriots handed the Colts a 59-24 loss in Foxboro last year, he came away from the game with plenty of respect for the young signal caller.
Colts, Patriots, both with many new faces, to meet in playoffs for fourth time
Here we go again. Yet another Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots playoff game.
Up next for Colts: Brady, Patriots
Hello Tom Brady.
Thanks to the San Diego Chargers’ 27-10 AFC wild-card playoff win over Cincinnati on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts will be traveling to Foxboro, Massachusetts to face Brady’s New England Patriots Saturday (8:15 p.m.).
Luck leads huge rally as Colts grab first playoff win for Pagano
What a game.
Just when it looked like the Indianapolis Colts were going to be blown out at home in an AFC wild-card playoff game by the Kansas City Chiefs, the impossible happened.
Colts sell out today's Kansas City game
There will be no local television blackouts in the NFL this weekend.
The Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers said Friday that their weekend wild-card playoff games are sellouts. Normally, teams must sell out 72 hours before kickoff to have a game broadcast in their local market. The NFL gave the Colts, Bengals and Packers an extra day to do it.
The Colts host Kansas City today. On Sunday, the Packers host San Francisco and the Bengals host San Diego.
NFL honors Colts' Mathis with Deacon Jones Award
Robert Mathis never got to see Deacon Jones take down opposing quarterbacks in person.
He learned to appreciate Jones’ creativity over time.
The Colts Pro Bowl linebacker and newly crowned sacks champion was honored Thursday as the inaugural winner of the NFL’s Deacon Jones Award, which goes to the league’s sacks leader. Mathis will be recognized at the NFL award banquet Feb. 1.
Victory over Chiefs means nil, Mathis says
Robert Mathis doesn’t care that the Indianapolis Colts registered a 23-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium two weeks ago.
Record-setting Indy win
Finish the National Football League regular season strong. That’s what the Indianapolis Colts wanted to accomplish Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
In major gain, Colts lead NFL in fewest turnovers
Play clean. That’s been a credo that the Indianapolis Colts have tried to live by this season.
Has Luck's growth been accelerated by Colts' adversity? Probably
Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck is quickly becoming known as a guy who can quickly adjust to any situation.
Toeing the line: Colts’ offensive line getting healthy, finding niche as playoffs near
The Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line has certainly taken its share of hits this season, both on and off the field.
Colts’ chief strength: No panic
The Indianapolis Colts had watched the Kansas City Chiefs march downfield for an easy score on the first series of the game, yet nobody on their sideline seemed to be worried.
In fact, it seemed as if their confidence soared.
Luck has knack for knowing when to run
To run or not to run. When it comes to Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck, his competitive nature usually comes into play.
Loss at Chiefs could cost Colts bye in playoffs
Chuck Pagano doesn’t have to make his Indianapolis Colts players aware of the playoff implications surrounding the team’s road game at Kansas City on Sunday.
Back in the mix: Colts are hoping to improve their playoff seeding in final two weeks of NFL’s regular season
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano stresses that he is not a scoreboard watcher when it comes to other National Football League games.
Back in stride: Colts finally put points on board early, roll to ninth victory of season
It had been a long time in coming, a National Football League game in which the Indianapolis Colts had a comfortable lead well into the second half.
Whalen, Richardson make waves on offense
It’s not too hard to figure out who the offensive and defensive players of the game were in the Indianapolis Colts’ 25-3 win over Houston Sunday.
Mathis, Colts hoping to gain defensive momentum against Texans
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis, one of the Indianapolis Colts two most vested veterans, has taken it upon himself to make sure his team is ready for Sunday’s AFC South matchup with Houston (1 p.m., CBS Sports).
Mathis and injured wide receiver Reggie Wayne have been with the Colts the longest. They, along with defensive end Cory Redding and safety Antoine Bethea, have become important voices in the Indianapolis locker room.
Colts not apologizing for way they won division title
Backing into the AFC South title? The Indianapolis Colts are not apologizing to anyone for claiming the franchise’s eighth division crown since the start of the 2002 season.
Bungles — including refs’ — benefit Bengals
Give the Cincinnati Bengals plenty of credit. In a game that pitted two of the AFC’s better teams and two of the National Football League’s best young quarterbacks, the home-standing Bengals took care of business.
Many doubt Cincy runner scored on goal-line play
Did he make it or didn’t he?
Was Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis stopped on fourth down short of the end zone or did he make to the end zone without being touched?
Heavy snow appears in forecast for Colts
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrew Luck doesn’t have a history of playing a lot of football in the snow or in snowy conditions. But if weather forecasts for this weekend remain on track, Sunday’s AFC battle between the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals may be severely tested by the weather.
- More Colts Headlines
- Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years