The Indianapolis Colts scored 21 points in its first game, a 21-17 win over Oakland this past Sunday.
Indianapolis’ new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton had introduced a different style of attack than what fans grew accustomed to seeing a year ago when Bruce Arians was in charge.
Arians’ system wasn’t better. Just different from what Hamilton wants to get accomplished.
Now, heading into the team’s home game with Miami on Sunday, the Colts would like to see continued improvement in the offense, specifically, and in the overall play of the team overall.
“As long as we move the chains and you can put points on the board, I really don’t care about it to be honest with you. I think you’ve got to be able to — I’ll say it until they run me out of here — you’ve got to be able to run the football,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said this week.
“We took a few shots down the field last week. We missed them. We’ve got to hit those. We got to hit our chunk plays. I think balance is important and that’s one thing we thought we needed to do regardless was have better balance. Certainly when you can run the ball, it takes a little heat off of your quarterback.”
He has no issues with the job done by Hamilton in the Raiders game.
“If you look at it, Pep’s been at both levels,” the Colts’ coach said. “He’s been in the NFL for a long period of time and been around NFL football, so to speak. So I don’t think it’s that.
“I think it’s more just getting a system and play calls and getting everybody on the same page. We knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight, particularly with the way the offseason is anymore, the way training camp is and preseason.”
“We all go into preseason and guys get a certain amount of reps. We know which guys get more and which guys get less. So now it’s like, OK, your first offense, your first defense, the guys on special teams, your core players on teams, they’re all playing together for the first time a significant amount of reps. So I think it’s more just time and getting everybody on the same page. And we’ll get better with each and every week.”
Protecting the football is another issue. The Colts have improved at cutting down on fumbles and giving up the ball on interceptions.
“Every week we go in on Wednesday morning when they come back in. We start with a special-teams meeting, then we have a team meeting. We go through the keys to victory and that’s first and foremost every time,” Pagano mentioned.
“They get tired of hearing it, but if you protect the football and you take it away. … Again, we saw last week, tight ballgames, it doesn’t matter. It’s the No. 1 indicator, other than score, for wins and losses in the National Football League. So we’re going to emphasize it daily.”
With the Dolphins game coming up, he knows that Indianapolis will be tested on both sides of the ball. The two teams butted heads for four quarters last season at Lucas Oil Stadium with the Colts pulling out a 23-20 victory.
“[They haven’t changed] that much. Just missing [running back] Reggie Bush. I think anybody would love to have Reggie Bush in their backfield. First- and second-down run game. I mean he rushed for almost 1,000 yards last year for them. They got more than capable backs back there in [Lamar] Miller and the other guys. I think the tight end, losing [Dustin] Keller, hurt a little bit. They’ve got guys that are capable,” Pagano said.
“Those are two pretty good weapons from an offensive standpoint that defensively you’ve got to make sure you tend to. Not that we don’t have to tend to the other guys, but there are key components that aren’t there right now.”
One big component on defense for the Dolphins is defensive end Cameron Wake.
“Yeah, we’re going to know where he’s at. It’s really no secret. Pretty much 99.9 percent of the time, he’ll be lined up to our offense’s right, defensive left. That’s one thing — know where he is. It’s a different thing getting him blocked. The guy is very, very athletic, very powerful. He’s got a nice tool box full of rushes,” the Colts’ coach explained.
“He’s good vs. the run. Obviously, 15 sacks a year ago, 2 1/2 sacks in the opener vs. Cleveland. He’s a great player. Great, great player. So we got to make sure we tend to him.”
The Indianapolis Colts scored 21 points in its first game, a 21-17 win over Oakland this past Sunday.
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