ANDERSON, IND --- Colts Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton joked after his team selected wide receiver Phillip Dorsett in the first round of the draft in April that he ran to his office and tore up all his three tight end and fullback formations. The possibilities seem endless for how Hamilton can deploy the Colts offense in 2015, and now the time for brainstorming is over, as the Colts take the field for their first practice Sunday.
"I'm really excited. We've had a lot of time to pontificate on all the different things we can do with the pieces that we have." said Hamilton Saturday. "Now is the time for us to really get out on the field and see what we're about, work together, grow together, and work out some of the kinks that are normal, that you expect to have in training camp."
The first piece is quarterback Andrew Luck, who has more passing yards in his first three seasons than any signal caller in NFL history. Add running back Frank Gore's 11,073 career rushing yards in 10 seasons, and it appears Indianapolis potentially has its most reliable running back since Joseph Addai in 2007 (the last time the Colts had a 1,000-yard rusher).
"I think we have a lot of guys that have field credibility. I think that's important," said Hamilton. "It starts with our quarterback. He's continued to improve as a pro. I think he'll only get better with the guys that we have around him."
Add wideout, T.Y. Hilton returns as the leading pass catcher. His 214 career receptions and 3,289 career yards lead everybody from the draft class of 2012. Adding Andre Johnson, who is quickly climbing the NFL's all-time receptions (9th) and receiving yards (12th) lists, doesn't hurt either. Donte Moncrief, Dorsett, and CFL signee Duron Carter add a ton of upside.
And don't forget about tight end, where Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener became the first tight end duo in NFL history last season to each catch eight touchdowns.
"You look at the two veterans that we acquired in Frank and Andre and what they've done over their career, along with the young guys that we already had in place," Hamilton said. "I think the sky is the limit."
The offensive line is the one position group where Hamilton and the rest of the Colts would like to see 2015 play out much differently than 2014, when injuries led to Indianapolis fielding 11 different offensive line combinations. One week before camp, the Colts released Gosder Cherilus, who opened last season as a starter.
"Five. I hope there's no rotation," said Hamilton with a smile as if it were a trick question, when answering how many players he'd like to see get time on the field up front. "Regardless of our inability to keep the same five guys available to play, over the course of the season, we understand that's part of the game. I think we haven't made any excuses. We'll found ways to overcome that adversity. That was a long (way of saying) I think we have no issues with our offensive line, and I think they'll do a great job."
So, the offensive roster has been assembled. The offense itself was installed during OTAs. Now over the next two weeks, it's time to start perfecting it.
"Our biggest goal in training camp is to just make sure we eliminate any uncertainty anybody may have in what it is we're trying to do," Hamilton explained. "We have tough, smart players. They're going to have all the time in the world to really work on studying their playbook and mastering their skill set. It's just to make sure we're all on the same page."
In 2014, the Colts were 3rd in the league in total offense, 6th in scoring offense (28.6 points per game), 1st in passing offense, and 22nd in rushing offense. The biggest area in need of improvement? Turnovers. Only Tampa Bay and Philadelphia had more turnovers last year than Indianapolis' 31.
The popular question for Hamilton and the offense on day one of Colts training camp though was how he'll satisfy the appetite for production with all the viable weapons he has to choose from this season. Could it be a problem?
"No, not at all. Over the course of what we hope to be a 19-game season, I think there will be many opportunities for our guys to make plays for us," said Hamilton. "That hadn't been an issue in years past. I don't see it being an issue as we move forward."
In the end, winning solves everything.