The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Pro Sports

May 29, 2014

Luck, offense could move forward in second year under Pep

INDIANAPOLIS — There's a high bar to clear when it comes to offensive production in Indianapolis.

Colts fans have been spoiled by years of Peyton Manning shredding defensive backfields throughout the NFL, and many are anxious to see Andrew Luck unleashed in similar fashion.

That's at the heart of the "power running game" debate that remains a surefire tactic to cause a Twitter meltdown among the team's fanbase.

So when second-year offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton recently told ESPN.com that Indianapolis would have a "score-first" mentality this year, it caused some ears to perk up.

"We're going to do whatever we need to do to score one more point than our opponent," Hamilton told ESPN reporter Mike Wells.

That's not exactly a groundbreaking stance, and it doesn't represent a philosophical shift.

Despite the criticism of Hamilton's scheme a year ago, the 2013 Colts scored more points (391 compared to 357) and ranked higher among NFL offenses (14th from 18th) than they did under previous coordinator Bruce Arians.

"Is there any other mentality?" left tackle Anthony Castonzo said when asked about the score-first approach. "We want to score points. That's basically all there is."

And Indianapolis remains likely to pass often in order to make that happen.

One of the most common gripes during Hamilton's first year was that the offense didn't put the ball in the air frequently enough. But while Luck's passing attempts dropped from 627 as a rookie to 570 last year, his efficiency sky-rocketed.

The franchise quarterback raised his completion percentage by more than six points (54.1-60.2), equaled his 23 touchdown passes and cut his interception total in half (18-9).

Third-year wide receiver Griff Whalen has been with Luck since his days at Stanford, and he still sees improvement every day.

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