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Offensive Burning Questions at each position group after four weeks

Posted Oct 2, 2013

Intro: With the Colts regular season now four weeks old, here’s a look at some burning questions at the offensive position groups. Check back to Colts.com tomorrow for some questions on the defense/special teams.



INDIANAPOLIS – The month of September is now in the books and the Colts head into October sitting at 3-1.

In the span of four weeks, the Colts offense has seen some large turnover from what the group carried with them into the regular season.

Here’s a look at some burning questions at each offensive positional group at the quarter poll…

How does Andrew Luck 2013 compare to the rookie version we saw last year?: Coming into 2013, past burning question series thought Luck’s completion percentage and touchdown/interception ratio would rise this year, while his yards might drop.

So far, those assumptions hold true as Luck is up 10 percentage points in completing 64.1 percent of his passes.

He’s on pace for over 3,600 passing yards (4,374 in 2012) and that’s to be expected with the Colts rushing attack vastly improved.

Luck has five touchdown passes and two interceptions which puts him at a pace to be well below his 18 interceptions from 2012.

Perhaps the most interesting note at the quarterback position comes with Luck not taking every snap so far this year. Luck took every snap in 2012 but backup Matt Hasselbeck got six snaps in Sunday’s 37-3 victory over the Jaguars.

After a crazy four weeks, what’s in store for the Colts running backs moving forward?: The fact that the Colts rushing attack is fourth in the NFL at 4.9 yards per carry (3.9 in 2012) is remarkable considering what has transpired in the backfield.

Starter Vick Ballard had a strong start to the 2013 season but a torn ACL during practice ended his season in Week Two.

Newcomer Ahmad Bradshaw showed the rushing style that was apart of two winning Super Bowl teams during a Week Three win over the 49ers. Now, Bradshaw is dealing with a neck injury and missed this past Sunday’s game.

When Ballard went down, GM Ryan Grigson went to work and acquired the 2012 third overall pick in Trent Richardson.

While Richardson is still getting ingrained into the Colts system, he has been a vital resource in a backfield that has lost their top two running backs (Bradshaw for now) that entered the regular season.

The Colts are the only team in the NFL with four players that have at least 95 rushing yards (Ahmad Bradshaw-186, Andrew Luck-126, Donald Brown-120 and Trent Richardson-95).

How have the Colts receivers complimented each other in 2013?:
With one of the league’s top rushing attacks, it’s merely a byproduct that the receiving numbers aren’t as prolific as last year.

Reggie Wayne is on pace for a 1,200-yard receiving season and Wayne is just 10 catches away from 1,000 for his career.

The big play ability for T.Y. Hilton was in 2012 form during the first half of the Miami game and opposing defenses better not sleep on the electric second-year man after a relatively “quiet” first month.

Darrius Heyward-Bey (13 catches for 135 yards) has showed a nice ability to rack up yards after the catch and his production gives the Colts a very productive top three receivers.

After that, Griff Whalen (who was waived on Monday) is the only other receiver to have caught a pass in 2013 (two receptions).

Will LaVon Brazill (eligible to return from suspension this week) or David Reed change that moving forward?

Can Coby Fleener keep up his strong start to 2013?: Dwayne Allen’s season ending injury put a stronger burden on Fleener for an impact 2013 season.

Fleener has been very solid since Allen’s injury and he’s coming off a five-catch, 77-yard game on Sunday that included his fourth NFL touchdown.

Behind Fleener, Dominique Jones has been sort of an unsung hero in his blocking role as both a backup tight end and extra fullback.

The role of the tight end in Pep Hamilton’s offense hasn’t been as extensive as it was at Stanford but Fleener’s versatility has been used very well after one month.

How’s the depth along the Colts offensive line?: 
The Colts offensive line deserves some credit for the physical running nature the offense has relied on in 2013.

While the pass blocking has given up 10 sacks, the line appears to be meshing together after some change in the interior.

Rookie Hugh Thornton is now the starter at left guard after free agent signee Donald Thomas went on injured reserve after two weeks.

Starting center Samson Satele is expected to be back this week (moving Mike McGlynn back to right guard) and that means the Colts should have their starting five intact moving forward.

The Colts certainly have a pair of bookend tackles in the Boston College tandem of Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus.


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