Value of a good offensive line to the Colts

The problem with the Colts offense last season was the offensive line. Poor protection is something Luck has had to deal with throughout his career, but the repeated battering finally left its mark last year. Luck missed weeks 4 and 5 with a shoulder and rib injury. Then, during week 9, Luck took a nasty shot to the gut after a play broke down, which led to the end of his season due to a lacerated kidney and torn abdominal muscles.

This offseason, the Colts have done everything to prevent this from happening, starting with using four draft picks on offensive linemen. Good offensive line play not only reduces the chances of Luck being injured, but it also allows Gore and the run game to take the offensive load off of Luck. Even though Gore is 33, he is still a very good back because his game is not entirely reliant on athleticism. His vision is top-tier, and he showed last year that he can turn a tiny crease into a nice gain:

And in the open field, he doesn’t need to outrun defenders because he still has the power to run through people:

If the line can consistently get a push on rushing plays and let Gore average 4.5+ ypc instead of a well-below average 3.7, teams would have to blitz more or put 7 in the box. If teams blitz more, Luck has shown the ability to make changes at the line of scrimmage. He can call a hot route or hit a dumpoff and let one of the 4.3 burners do the rest of the work. If teams have 7 in the box and don’t blitz, a play action pass can allow Hilton, Moncrief, and Dorsett to take the top off the defense. If defenses truly respect the run game, the safeties and linebackers have to pause and step up for a split second which is when Hilton has shown the ability to consistently blow past a defender 1v1 or 1v2.

If Moncrief and Dorsett beat defenders 1v1, then the Colts offense will run a clinic. In summary, if the Colts can establish a run game and teams have to commit more to stop the run, Luck and the passing game will make them pay.

In the past, bad offensive lines and quickly collapsing pockets have forced Luck to create highlight plays like this:

But everyone would rather let him be able to sit in the pocket, go through his progressions and reads, and throw the ball without being touched.



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