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Indianapolis Colts

Run Game Improvement A Focus Going Into Preseason Home Opener

Intro: The Colts are still in Training Camp mode this week, back practicing at their facility in Indianapolis. A clear emphasis this week is improving on the run game output they had in Buffalo.


INDIANAPOLIS – A quarterback leading the team in rushing is never a recipe for sustained longevity for run game success.

On Saturday night in Buffalo, the elusiveness of Stephen Morris (three carries for 19 yards) marked the top ground gainer for the Colts.

Take away Morris' production and the Colts combined for just 11 yards on 20 carries.

No one needs to remind Chuck Pagano of that this week.

"Obviously, we are disappointed that we weren't able (to run)," Pagano said on Monday.

Pagano says the run game, on both sides of the ball, will be a "major focus" this week for the Colts.

The full pads were back on Tuesday morning adding to a camp/preseason that Pagano calls the toughest a team has had to face in his five seasons with the Colts.

Back working at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, practice for the Colts still isn't live from a tackling standpoint, but Pagano says the staff can still see where the run game is at.

"Up front it's still (where you've) got a guy lined up across from you offensively, so guys are getting a hat on a hat and making the right reads," Pagano says of the run game.

"You have to get a hat on a hat, you have to move people, you have to double team at the point of attack, you need to get movement on a three-technique and if you don't get movement you are going to have problems."

Even if the run game can find success in the next couple of weeks, they will be doing it with very limited work from their starting ball carrier.

Frank Gore has combined for nine total carries in the last three preseasons. That number won't increase much in the coming weeks.

The ground game will clearly have an added dimension once one of the league's all-time leading rushers has the training wheels taken off him come September.

With Gore, an improved offensive line, plus the combination of a healthy Andrew Luck giving the threat of a consistent deep ball, the running game for the Colts is expected to be a beneficiary of the surrounding offensive personnel.

Gore still believes that will eventually be the case.

"We saw the mistakes we made," Gore said on Monday of evaluating the Buffalo film. "We just have to keep working it. We have to look at the mistakes we made, both O-line and the backs, and clean them up.

"The preseason is all about learning and trying to get better. We'll be fine."

Monday morning practice getting ready for the Ravens.

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