Offseason Playbook: Colts

A look at Indianapolis' philosophy, team needs and a key free-agent move

Originally Published: February 27, 2013
By Gary Horton and Field Yates | ESPN Insider
Andrew Luck Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY SportsThe Indianapolis Colts need to do a better job of protecting Andrew Luck.

In a new offseason series, Insider takes an in-depth look at NFL teams before free agency begins March 12. What is each team's philosophy on offense and defense, biggest needs and one player who could make for an ideal signing in free agency?

Team philosophies

Offense -- Even with a new offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton from Stanford, this offense won't really look any different than it did a year ago under Bruce Arians. In the run game, the Colts want to be physical between the tackles with power man blocking up front, but they have finesse personnel -- so we will still see wide plays, draws, misdirections and stretch looks as they evolve. The passing game will work with a variety of personnel packages, including two-tight end sets and multiple-receiver looks with a lot of movement and motion. Andrew Luck will work out of the shotgun and no-huddle with an up-tempo approach to run a large volume of plays and wear down a defense.

The Colts are very creative in their play-calling with a variety of screen passes, well-designed pick plays, bunch formations to avoid the jam, a lot of deep crossing routes and seam passes. Luck has terrific timing, releasing the ball as his receivers come out of their break. They even have some unique wrinkles such as throwback screens and trap run plays. Luck has a lot of freedom to change the play at the line of scrimmage and he will also use sight adjustment with his receivers. There is even the potential for some read-option plays next season.

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.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.