Colts looking for playmakers
Sep. 19, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck keeps trying to push the ball down the field and defenses keep finding ways to thwart him.
This week, coach Chuck Pagano said the Colts need to more frequently get the ball in the hands of guys who can make big plays.
"I think we've got to get our playmakers involved," he said. "And we've got to do a good job of trying to do that."
Pagano has made that a point this week — get the ball in the hands of playmakers. But T.Y. Hilton wants to stick with whatever's working best at the time, starting Sunday at Jacksonville (0-2).
"That's been the point of emphasis," the third-year receiver said. "But if the running game's going, just keep running it down their throats. Last week we had Trent (Richardson) and Ahmad (Bradshaw), they really picked up, the O-line started moving guys off the ball."
It wasn't enough as Indianapolis dropped to 0-2 after Monday's loss to Philadelphia and has lost back-to-back games for the first time in more than two years.
The Colts rushed for 169 yards and established a solid running game against the Eagles. Richardson ran for 79 yards in his best game since joining the Colts a year ago. Bradshaw had 70 yards rushing and caught a career-high two touchdown passes in the loss. And Richardson said they aren't done, yet.
"It's going to be a big season for us," he said. "With Ahmad, a lot of people want to see that he can still be him, which he has showed that he's still him. A lot of people want to see that I'm still me."
It was a good sign and exactly what the Colts wanted to do. By establishing the run and making the opposing defense adjust, the intent was to free up receivers to make some of those big plays.
Still, Hilton said, it can be difficult to break away. Hilton, who set career-highs in receptions (11) and yards (155) last year against the Jaguars, is a focal point of most defenses. He said in he's had to adjust to double-coverage on him from the defense.
The weapons are there, from Hilton to Reggie Wayne. Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, too. And now, Bradshaw and Richardson have proven to be effective.
The list of opportunities for Luck is a long one, but getting the ball to a big playmaker or not isn't his focus.
"He's just looking to execute the play that's called," offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. "Depending on the type of play it is, the progression, what the defense is doing, it's going to really dictate, in some cases, who gets the ball."
Whoever Luck decides to go to, Hamilton just wants to move the ball.
"It's whatever we have to do from week to week to affectively move the football," Hamilton said. "You look at the way we played the Broncos in the first and second half. We were able to move the ball with an up-tempo offense and then we had a situation like what we had on Monday night with Philly, where we were able to run the ball successfully. We wanted to establish the run going into that game and we were able to do it."