Over the past 4 games, the Colts have scored multiple touchdowns only once. Thus, problems are evident. Some of these problems are fixable, whereas some are not (for example; seeing Donald Thomas, Dwayne Allen, Ahmad Bradshaw and Reggie Wayne on the field or seeing Darrius Heyward-Bey consistently catch the ball). To solve the offense's fixable problems to fulfill their responsibilities' for the rest of the team (i.e. to score more touchdowns), I will describe some suggestions that I think the Colts must implement...
PROBLEM #1: Philosophy-wise, the "power run" is the backbone of the offense
I am fed up with the offense wanting to establish a San Francisco 49er or Seattle Seahawk-like offensive scheme. The personnel for it is simply not there. The Colts do not have the dominant offensive line (a quality interior line is lacking) nor a back with elite vision (Donald Brown, the Colt's best active back is a good player, but still cannot find the holes as well as Frank Gore or Marshawn Lynch). Colts, however, have a better quarterback than both these teams. I am not saying the Colts abandon the run game because that won't work. I just have some suggestions to get the run game and offense going...
SUGGESTION 1: Run TRich in the I-Formation less
The Colts must vary it up and use the running backs in various formations to establish the run game. This, in particularly, relates to Trent Richardson. For example, Richardson picked up 11 yards on a shot gun draw play against the Titans and it was one of his most encouraging runs of the year. Even though it was on 3rd and 20 and it was not going to get a first down, the defense was in a state of 'shock' and TRich wasn't running into a brick wall of 3 defensive linemen. In his other 4 run plays, TRich was predominately in a power run formation and with the defense's keying in on him, he was preyed upon for 8 yards combined. Shotgun, 2/3 WR singleback set and draw play runs I would like to see Richardson get the call up more because he can make yards after contact and is scary when he is in space. Also, the main man who should run in the power run formations is Donald Brown. He terriorised the Titans two games ago and he killed them today in the final drive while in the power run formation to win the game. On the goal line, TRich couldn't pick up the yardage for a touchdown; Brown did. He is simply suited to sliding in between the blockers and the stacked defense better than Trent.
SUGGESTION 2: Pass to set up the run
To prevent defenses stacking the box and playing the run (particularly when Trent is in), establish the pass and get the defense spread out. Running to set up the pass is not working. Get Luck to play-action and ROLL OUT- I think he is one of if not the best QB when he rolls out. Attack the run when the defense is respecting the pass. I would like to see some screen plays to TY Hilton or Trent Richardson, to get the defense in two minds and less focused on the runs. Early short and intermediate routes should be implemented too. Coby Fleener must be the go-to receiver; the plays in the passing game must be based around him. Since the big drop against San Diego, he has made huge catches and with 212 receiving yards in the past 3 games, he is now the most reliable and the 'hot' receiver (active) in this offense. I also like the passes to the reliable Stanley Havili in the power run formation to catch the defense off guard; he got a season-high 29 yards receiving against the Titans (Luck misfired him on one occasion, missing out on another big play too- this will be addressed later).
PROBLEM #2: Some players should not be out there
Chuck Pagano made some good moves in cutting Reed (he was prominent sometimes on offense as well as being the returner) and starting Donald Brown. To protect Luck and get the offense moving, there are some players out there who should sit on the bench to start next game. I suggest starting Mike McGlynn over Samson Satele, as Satele really struggles to pass protect. Also, Da'Rick Rogers should be the third string wide-out, LaVon Brazill should be the second string wide-out and the man, Darrius Heyward-Bey, who dropped the worst drop of all time should not start next game (I don't have to post the video do I?; you guys know the one) should not start next game. In limited action, and in his only target, Da'Rick burnt one of the Titan's cornerbacks and drew a big 27 yard pass interference. I like his upside.
PROBLEM 3: The offense is not executing at times
It simply comes down to executing. Some of the plays are there and should be made....but ends up not working due to a player's failed assignment. It is not always the coaches' fault. Some poor plays against Titans that come to mind is the drop by TY Hilton that led to the Luck interception, Luck's poor decision to go deep when it fell straight into George Wilson's lap when pressured (Luck narrowly escaped with an incompletion), Gosder Cherilus did not have his usual solid performance, particularly on that trick, end around play to the WR and Luck overthrowing Havili was on Luck too. I can't suggest much here besides having attention to detail, concentrate and for players to make better decisions.
It was good to see the Colts' offense close out the game and not force many turnovers on offense (unlike the Cardinals game) in the game which essentially wrapped up the division. But the starting 11 players and the coaches must improve their performance's if they want to make a playoff run and win more than a division title. They can too.