Colts struggling in short yardage

Originally Published: September 18, 2009
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Scouts Inc. breaks down the five key storylines in the AFC showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins on "Monday Night Football" (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET):

  • The Colts' offense always seems to struggle in short-yardage situations and their identity as a finesse offense continues. They had one third-and-one and two fourth-and-one situations against Jacksonville and failed to convert any of them. New head coach Jim Caldwell seems to be willing to gamble in short-yardage situations, but the production must get getter. This will at some point cost the Colts, and their inability to close out a game and keep the clock moving is a potential problem.

  • The Colts will tell you that they are still a base 4-3, Tampa 2 defense with limited blitzing, but on film they are attacking more than they have in the past. Their front four has always been expected to apply most of the pass-rush pressure, but we are seeing more twists and stunts by the guys up front to take advantage of their quickness and also confuse O-line blocking schemes, and they can even interchange their DEs and DTs to get better matchups. When they do bring the blitz, it will be interesting to see if a group of DBs that are used to playing zone schemes can turn and run with receivers in man coverage.
    Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.