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STAY IN ATTACK MODE

Posted Dec 19, 2012

At 9-5 and with a rookie pulling the trigger, Indianapolis has one of the league’s most aggressive and successful passing offenses. Slowed a bit for the last couple of games, Bruce Arians says it is business as usual, which means to attack.

INDIANAPOLIS – At 9-5, the Colts’ record has been built on a number of factors and not the least of which is an aggressive passing attack.

 

Indianapolis is tied for fifth in the NFL in attempts (564), 13th in completions (308) and eighth in yards per game (267.6).  All three totals top the league averages.

 

The team’s 54.6 completion percentage is 32nd, while 37 sacks allowed are the ninth-most.

 

Andrew Luck has started each game and is within reach of the league rookie yardage record, while he already is one of the winningest rookie performers ever. 

 

The last three games Luck has not hit half of his attempts, while being sacked 11 times.

 

Change the attack?  Not be so aggressive? 

 

“We have to do what we’re capable of doing,” said Bruce Arians. 

 

The Colts lead the AFC with 12.9 yards per completion, an average exceeded only by Carolina (14.0) and Tampa Bay (13.5), while only six other teams even average 12.0.

 

With the club yielding nine sacks in the last two games, Arians says while shorter drops are in the arsenal, they are not at the forefront.

 

“We have it.  We use it some.  There are times for it,” said Arians.  “Last week we were running ball too well, we didn’t need to.  When we were passing, we were taking shots.  It’s part of the philosophy. 

 

“I’m not a dink-and-dunk guy, I never will be.  That doesn’t mean we don’t throw the ball short.”

 

Arians said Luck does have checkdown options to the running backs in the offense, but a portion of the time they are kept in for protection reasons.  He also said Luck is so sharp mentally in the offense that he could slow down a bit for effectiveness.

 

“Sometimes his brain works faster (than anything).  He knows where he wants to go, and his feet start getting there instead of just standing there and throwing the ball and letting it happen,” said Arians.  “He wants to get it out of his hand because he knows where he wants it to go too fast sometimes.  He’s just playing a little too fast.  That part of it, he’s going to continue to work on it. 

 

Because of the pressure Houston applied last week, the line’s play has been questioned.  Arians said a bit less pressure could help Luck perform in the pocket.

 

“I think the biggest thing for him is for us to get better pass protection, and then for him to stay in that pocket,” said Arians of improving fundamentals and footwork.  “He’s been working his tail off for the last month on staying in the pocket.”

 

Luck feels his line is playing well, citing a unit that has had six different starting alignments and only twice opening three consecutive games with the same personnel. 

 

Luck is focused more on himself.  

 

“I have to make some better throws out there,” said Luck.  “Just play good offensive football…making sure you are following through on all your throws and getting your feet set in good position.”

 

He also feels the attack should continue to take its shots downfield.

 

“I think so.  That’s BA’s (Arians) mentality, and we’re behind him 100 percent,” said Luck.  “If we can execute what we do (we’re fine).  If Colts aren’t beating Colts, we have a chance.”

 

Guard Joe Reitz is one of the linemen who have battled through injuries.  He says protecting Luck is the focus.

“We need to do a better job protecting and keep guys off him, and keep his jersey clean at the end of the game,” said Reitz.  “That’s always our goal going into games.  Last week, we didn’t do nearly a good enough job of doing that.  We’ve been watching extra film and getting things corrected so we can hopefully put a better performance out there this Sunday.”

INDIANAPOLIS – Arians said safety Tom Zbikowski has a chance to play at Kansas City, but that center Samson Satele, linebacker Kavell Conner and running back Delone Carter remain out.  Players hurt last Sunday at Houston all have a chance to play, too.

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