ANDERSON, Ind. — The running game has gotten an overhaul in the Indianapolis Colts offense heading into this season and those who play that position know they're in the spotlight.
The offensive line has been upgraded and that has moved up the expectations of yardage and points the Indy runners can produce in the upcoming games.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano knows there is more balance needed between passing and running and said, “Much more (balance) than last year, obviously. I know we got put in some situations where we got behind and we had to drop back 45, 50 times in some games just to come back and win those football games. But certainly we want balance. Again, they understand first day in pads today the mindset we’re trying to develop is run the ball and stop the run. Anytime you can have success, you can have a successful play, don’t take a negative play. If we can gain three, three-plus, four yards on first down, we get in second down. You get in third-and-two, three, four and five, you’re going to make a lot of first downs. You’re going to move the chains. You’re going to score a lot of points.”
The three front-runners to get playing time at running back are Vick Ballard, who was a rookie a year ago and started the final 12 games. He averaged 3.9 yards per tote.
Ballard likes the depth on the team and said, “It’s great. Obviously we’re not going to keep all the guys that are here, but going into the season, whoever we choose to keep, I feel like whoever is in the game could get the job done.”
Another member of that trio is Donald Brown, who played 10 games a season ago and was inactive for three games beginning Dec. 11. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry.