Indianapolis Colts 2013 Team Preview
July 24, 2013 | Chet
Welcome to our 2013 Colts Team Preview. To get a better understanding of what each NFL team might be up to this season we are asking local team bloggers to answer a few questions for us. We talked to Brian Bulmer to get the inside scoop. Follow him at @Brian_Bulmer and check out his work at FFOasis, Profootballfocus, Dynasty League Football, and Gridiron Experts.
1. Andrew Luck broke the rookie record for most pass attempts last season (among other things) with 627. Under his old coach Pep Hamilton how do you think his production will change?
Luck’s 627 pass attempts were a product of trailing in games, poor defense, and poor offensive line play. Andrew Luck led the Colts to seven game winning drives/fourth quarter comebacks. Luck scored 29% of his fantasy points in the fourth quarter. Lucks defense ranked 26th in the league in defensive yards given up as well as 27th in the league in plus/minus turnover differential. The offensive line graded out to the worst in the league according to stats at ProFootballFocus.com. Andrew Luck was sacked 41 times, fourth among all quarterbacks in the NFL. All of those were reasons to pass the football. Enter Pep Hamilton, Luck’s old college coach. Under Hamilton at Stanford, Luck threw the ball 404 times for an average of 31 passing attempts per game at 8.7 yards per attempts during his senior year. For the Colts in Luck’s rookie year he passed the ball 627 times for an average of 39 attempts per game at 7.0 yards per pass attempt. I see him throwing the ball fewer times due to a better defense. I also see an increase in his yards per attempt because he will have better protection and more time in the pocket. The addition of Ahmad Bradshaw to protect Luck should increase his time in the pocket and increase his yards per attempt. The familiarity of Luck with his old offensive coordinator and a year under his belt in the NFL, I could see Luck increase his fantasy production by increasing touchdowns and decreasing interceptions, but his passing attempts should see a significant drop (around 525 attempts).
2. The signing of Ahmad Bradshaw helped strengthen the running back situation in Indianapolis. What do you feel would be a realistic statistical line for him in this offense?
The signing of Bradshaw gave the running game a significant boost for the Colts. Ballard was a decent plug-in-play running back, that did not have game breaking ability but could pick up a yard or two when needed. Bradshaw fulfilled two of the Colts biggest needs: 1) he finished third among all running backs in pass block efficiency on ProFootballFocus, 2) Bradshaw adds the much needed balance to an offense that finished 22nd in the NFL in 2012 in rushing yards per game. Pagano likes to run the ball and play defense and Bradshaw will provide a much needed veteran presence to the Colts backfield. A realistic statistical line for Bradshaw in the Colts system would be 1,050 yards rushing, 25 catches for 150 yards, and six total touchdowns.
3. I like Dwayne Allen quite a bit, but it looks like Coby Fleener should get more work than he did last season. How do you think those two will split targets and in turn, fantasy points?
Pep Hamilton knows how to use multiple tight ends in his offenses. In 2011 it was Coby Fleener who finished second on the team in receiving yards and Zach Ertz who finished fifth, respectively. In 2012, it was Ertz who finished first for the Cardinals in receptions and Levine Toilolo who finished third. Hamilton knows how to use multiple tight ends. In 2012 it appeared that Dwayne Allen was the premiere tight end for the Colts. Hamilton is familiar with Fleener and he will do whatever he can to get this talented former second round pick involved. With two talented tight ends I could see them both getting fifty catches each. I do see an increase in production for Fleener in the redzone. If the 2011 season with Stanford is any indication, Fleener finished with 10 touchdowns. Hamilton likes to use the height advantage of his tight ends in the redzone. With Fleener at 6’6” I could see him catch seven touchdowns to Dwayne Allen’s five touchdowns. I see no clear cut advantage for either tight. Both would be great TE2, but I would not draft either as my TE1 at this point.
4. Reggie Wayne was targeted the second most in the league with 194 last season and had 158 fantasy points while T.Y. Hilton had 91 targets and 133 fantasy points. Hilton obviously was more productive per target, but will there be a changing of the guard this season?
I still think at 35 Reggie Wayne will hold onto the receiving crown in Indianapolis. He will not see the same number of targets as last season, but he could easily see 140+ targets again this season. T.Y. Hilton will be a threat to steal some of the targets, but I feel that the tight ends will be the biggest thieves when it comes to stealing targets from Reggie Wayne. I have T.Y. Hilton catching 70+ passes in this offense and nearly 1000 yards. He may be the most explosive player on the Colts offense, but Reggie Wayne is a steady fantasy option and will still be king of the horseshoe receiving corps.
5. How different will Pep Hamilton’s offense look from Bruce Arians? Do you expect it to make a significant impact on the Colts offensive production compared to last season?
I feel like the Colts will have a more efficient offense this season. Pep Hamilton is a creative play caller that knows how to use mismatches to his advantage. He is familiar with many players on the Colts roster (Luck, Fleener, Griff Whalen). Although Luck will not be slinging the ball around as much in Pep’s system the short-intermediate passing routes should result in a more accurate Luck that passes for as many yards without as many attempts. The Arian’s pass attack focused on vertical routes, but Luck’s lack of an offensive line resulted in less time to throw and a less accurate Andrew Luck. I predict a more accurate Andrew Luck who is comfortable in a familiar system and could result in a top five quarterback finish for the super sophomore.