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Improved Colts Run Game The Focus For Saturday Night

Intro: As the Colts prepare for Week Three of the preseason, getting the running game established is a key for Saturday night.





INDIANAPOLIS – Going down a checklist of preseason results and many things can be crossed off the Colts list.

Rush Defense

            -Opponents have been held to less than three yards per carry in each of the Colts first two preseason games.

Pass Defense

            -Quarterbacks Geno Smith and Eli Manning were a combined 5-of-13 for 29 yards against the Colts starting defense.

Pass Offense

            -Andrew Luck is 16-of-23 for 142 yards with a passer rating of 100.3 in five offensive drives. He's put up those numbers without Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton for all those series but one.

Rush Offense

            -The Colts are averaging just 2.4 yards per carry with starting running back Trent Richardson running for 34 yards on 14 carries.

It's the last part of that checklist which can't be crossed off, yet.

And that's why Andrew Luck put an improved run game atop his list of goals for Saturday's third preseason game.

"Would love to run the ball better," Luck said earlier this week

A candid look at the Colts sideline during the Giants preseason game.

Chuck Pagano was asked about the run game after the head coach had evaluated the game film from the Giants contest.

With Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton out of the lineup, it was clear to Pagano that the Giants were going to try and stop the run at some extreme costs.

According to Pagano, the Giants had eight guys in the box on 70-80 percent of the Colts first 30 plays from scrimmage.

When those pass catchers get back in the fold, maybe as early as this weekend, Pagano thinks defensive coordinators will have a difficult time deciding how they want to go about defending the Colts.

"Everything's dictated on what the defense presents," Pagano says. "If they give you a light box, it doesn't matter who's in there, you're going to have an opportunity to gain some yards. Once we've got Reggie (Wayne) out there and T.Y. (Hilton) out there and Hakeem (Nicks) out there and Coby (Fleener), whoever it is, they've got to make a decision how are they going to defend you.

"Are they going to go small, put an extra nickel in there, an extra safety or whatever? Or stay big and load the box up? So it kind of depends on how the defense decides to defend you."

Richardson's preseason production hasn't been what he wants it to be.

Out of the shotgun and against spread type looks, Richardson and the Colts run game has had some success.

But when loaded up, the Colts have struggled to establish consistency on the ground.

The Colts starting running back knows that many eyes are on him this season and he's a firm believer that things will be different once the offense has their full assortment of options.

"When Reggie's out there, and T.Y. and Hakeem, you can't double all of them," the third-year pro says. "Reggie is his own man by himself. I call him 'Old Faithful' because he is who he is. T.Y., he's got a lot of speed. Hakeem's catching everything.

"To have them with us, especially when Ahmad (Bradshaw) comes back, it's going to be dangerous and I like the direction we're going in. I know there's still a lot to come and still a lot to work on. When it comes down to it, we're just a work in progress right now."

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