Skip to main content

Practice Notebook

Presented by

Practice Notebook: Colts emphasizing explosiveness as they look to get run game back on track

The Colts had 32 explosive runs through the first 12 weeks of the season, per PFF. In the last two games they've only had one.

1213 Practice Notebook

For much of the season, the run game has been a strength for the Colts.

Through their first 12 weeks of 2023, they averaged 121.4 rushing yards per game and 4.3 yards per carry, which both ranked top-13 in the NFL.

However, over the last two games, there has been a noticeable drop-off in production. Against the Tennessee Titans and Cincinnati Bengals, the team combined for 101 rushing yards.

While it would be easy to blame the lack of production on Jonathan Taylor's absence, offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said it's going to take a total group effort to get back on track.

"I think that we've got to be better overall from the coaching staff on down," Cooter said on Monday. "All of us out there that participate in putting the plan together, putting the weekly practice plan together – I'm speaking about myself here – sort of putting the scripts together, putting a plan together, putting the cards together and then just playing a little bit better, cleaning up a few things. Obviously, JT (Jonathan Taylor) is a heck of a player. We'll be excited when the time is right for him to come back. It was a group effort yesterday – we would like to perform better than that in the run game and for the most part we really have this year. Yesterday just wasn't our best day."

One of the ways that the Colts can get the run game back on track is by creating explosive runs. Defined by Pro Football Focus as 'runs of 10-plus yards', during their aforementioned 12-week stretch, the Colts had 32 such runs.

Over the past couple of weeks, they've only had one.

"Yeah, I think any time, speaking of the run game, sometimes you might have games where you pop – it might be a three, four-yard run, but then you pop that 30-yarder which gets your average up and we need that," Steichen said. "We've got to get some of those. Obviously, when we were running for over 100-plus yards a couple of those games we popped some big ones. I think that obviously gets your average up creating those explosives in the run game and that's what we're going to need going forward."

The Colts know they are capable of doing so, especially with Zack Moss as their lead back. Between Weeks 1-12, he was tied for seventh in the league with 17 explosive runs.

So, how do the Colts get those splash plays going again?

"We're trying to get our guys in the best situation to go make plays and that's what we're working at every single day," running backs coach DeAndre Smith said. "I think we're trending the right way."

They will have their work cut out for them this Saturday as they get ready to play the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Over the last three games, they've only allowed an average of 85.3 rushing yards per game, fourth-lowest in the league during that span.

Despite the statistics, Smith said he likes his group's chances in what is shaping up to be a hard-hitting affair.

"I can appreciate a guy like Zack Moss because he's a physical back and this is gonna be a physical game," Smith said. "As a coach, I'm looking forward to that challenge - being tough, physical, grinding for every single yard, that's what we're gonna need to do. And it's a great measuring stick on the kind of team we want to be on Saturday and moving forward.

"You got a team that's really good against the run. You got another team that says, 'Hey, we really think we're really good at running the ball.' So, now we're gonna see what's gonna happen."

Wednesday's practice report:

Related Content

Single Game Tickets On Sale Now!

Single Game Tickets On Sale Now!

Our 2024 schedule is set! Secure your seats to all home games at Lucas Oil Stadium now.