New Colts OC Pep Hamilton seems to have caused a stir among some of the Indy faithful around here when he made the comment that the Colts offense would feature a "downhill running attack." Nevertheless, that approach is exactly what this team needs in order to get to the next level of success in the NFL. I know all the so called "experts" are stuck on the "This is a passing league now" mantra, but I am a firm believer that passing the ball without a solid running game will only get you so far in the NFL. Throughout it's existence, the NFL has been a trendy one with a new batch of copy cats every year who try and do their best impersonation of the "current" SB champs with each coming season. Still, one fundamental truth has never changed when it comes to winning in the post season: "Running the football, and stopping your opponents from running it." Every year there's always a team that gets dubbed the "flavor of the month" and lights it up on the scoreboard in the regular season; only to fade in the games that matter the most: The post season. Teams like the Marino led Dolphins, the Kelly led Bills, and even the Manning led Colts who all led some of the games most prolific offenses in history during the regular season, all came up short on more occasions than not due to their inability to run the ball and stop the run in the games that truly count.
For all of the naysayers out their who are up in arms with Hamilton's emphasis on having a physical, running identity are missing one crucial element that successfully running the ball adds: "Controlling the clock." It hasn't been that long ago since you've last remembered seeing Peyton Manning dominate the regular season, and then get dominated in Foxboro by Patriot teams that many felt were inferior on the defensive side of the ball to the High-powered Colts offense. If you remember, those Colts teams couldn't beat the Pats because they had no physical running game and couldn't stop the run on defense either. The Pats had no where near the kind of talent on offense at the WR position the Colts had and or RB during those early 2000 battles, yet you wouldn't know that if you watched those games. Ditto for when Manning and company faced the Steelers, Chargers, and Jets of late. I remember those games vividly. I remember watching Patriots defenders like Vince Wolfork, Richard Seymour and Ted Bruschi tossing our WRs and linemen around like rag dolls while all pro RB Edgerrin James was mostly ignored as Manning tried (And failing miserably) to pass the ball repeatedly against a NE defense that simply dropped 8 and sometimes 9 defenders into coverage. Trying to defeat a Brady led Pats team in NE in December with no running game is like taking a butter knife to a gun fight. This is where Hamilton and his "downhill running" approach comes in.
I've said many times from the beginning of Pep's tenure here that the "No coast offense" the Colts will be running will very much resemble the Niners offense. I am even willing to go a step further and say that the Colts version of it will be even more diverse than that of the Niners due to the untapped Dynamic Andrew Luck brings to the table. Colin Kaepernick may be the better athlete, but Andrew Luck has the higher football IQ. His photographic memory allows him to learn on the fly at a faster rate than most of his competition (If not all). That's an asset that can't be taught. That's something straight from the All Mighty.
I don't care how good your opponent's aerial attack is. If they don't have enough time on the clock to be multidimensional they won't be as difficult for you to stop. When you don't have to play the run, you can focus as a defense on just shutting down the pass and getting after the QB. A team that features only one dimension is easier to stop than one that has two, or three if you add special teams to the mix. Running the ball and passing it successfully will always add an element to the game that makes your opponents respect all facets of your offense. When an opponent can't just pin their ears back and come after you with the same setup all game long it makes life easier for your offense. Andrew Luck doesn't need to be 90% of the offense for the Colts to win. All he needs to be is 60% of it with the rest of the team doing the rest. Luck at 90% is good. Luck at 60% with a team that can provide the other 40% is down right scary.