There is no doubt that this year’s Indianapolis Colts offense will be different from a year ago. Part of it is the different personnel.
The offensive line was been improved. The running back position is deeper and now there are actually bona fide fullbacks on the roster. There are new wide receivers.
But what really intrigues me the most is the intent of the offense. The offense will, in some ways, be less entertaining while at the same time be more effective.
It seems apparent, to me at least, that Indy is no less determined to score, but it will be more patient in doing so.
The increased emphasis on the running game dictates some of the style of grabbing smaller sections of real estate per play. The idea isn’t so much to break off 50- or 60-yard runs, though they would be welcome, as much as it is to gain enough yards on first down as to make both running and passing an option for second down.
This should decrease the rush that opposing defenses will be able to put on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. The less time Luck spends running for his life in an effort to remain upright, increases the chances for a good season in Indy.
The passing game also seems destined to change.
The rest of the league knows that Luck can and will go deep. He demonstrated that a year ago and he has connected on an impressive number of long throws during camp here in Anderson. But the success rate of those deep aerials will go up if the defense also has to worry a bit more about the short passing game.
Deep drops by the opposing secondary will trigger passes that will spend less time airborne than a season ago. Mostly when the defense begins to cheat forward to try and take that short toss away will Luck then look to make a big play downfield.
It is obvious that those throws with a lot of hang time are real crowd-pleasers when they are completed to the Colts receivers. But then winning is the ultimate crowd-pleaser.
It also seems to me that this more deliberate pace down the field could be of benefit to the defense.
The Indianapolis defense is going to be a more physical group than a year ago. That physical style takes a toll on those playing it. The longer the defense can spend on the sidelines catching its collective breath, the better it will perform once called upon.
A more methodical pace down the field will give the defense that rest. There is a direct correlation between a low number of three-and-outs by the offense and a rested, aggressive defense.
Fans should welcome the changed version of the Colts this year and enjoy the success I think is just ahead for us.