Indianapolis Colts 2013 Offseason-A Comprehensive Review of the Offensive Additions

This is a follow up to the article I did reviewing the Colts' 2013 defensive offseason additions (which you can find HERE).

A few points:

  • I do not have the time, nor the expertise to watch tape from the 2012 and 2013 seasons therefore I have used statistics, grades from Pro Football Focus (subscription required) and my own observations to analyse the offseason moves.
  • I have taken the Free Agent signing's salary cap hits into account too when reviewing their impact.
  • Obviously the draft picks and some of the Free Agent signings were intended to be long term investments however I have only considered the effect of their contracts this year. I also fully understand some of these players may or may not improve so do not consider this a definitive review of their careers with the Colts.

Gosder Cherilus (2013 Cap Figure-$3,900,000)

In 2012 Winston Justice was brought in at Right Tackle and while he did start the season very well, inconsistent play and a constant struggle with injuries lead to him not being resigned.

In what was Grigson's biggest offseason move, Cherilus arrived in Indianapolis with an expectation that he would be the starter at right tackle for the foreseeable future.

2012:Winston Justice, Jeff Linkenbach

2013:Gosder Cherilus

Cumulative PFF Overall Grade



Cumulative PFF Run Blocking Grade



Total Snaps



Pass Blocking Snaps



Cumulative Sacks Conceded



Cumulative QB Hits Allowed



Cumulative QB Hurries Allowed



Average Pass Blocking Snaps per pressure Conceded



Looking at the pass blocking stats Cherilus has definitely been an improvement. Missing only one snap this year has also been huge, especially when the interior of the offensive line has been changing so much.

While he may not have completely lived up to his contract thus far, he certainly had a very solid season. Hopefully the Boston College pairing of Castonzo and Cherilus can be the solid bookends for this franchise over the next few years.

Darrius Heyward-Bey (2013 Cap Figure-$2,500,000)

Heyward-Bey was welcomed to Indy with open arms after the Donnie Avery experiment in 2012. While looking at Avery's receiving stats, an outsider may be confused with the hostility towards Avery. However any Colts fan knows how infuriating it was to see the ball ping off of Avery's outstretched hands. A receiver who had not had a reliable QB during his career at Oakland, who also had great measurables, could surely not be worse than Avery?

2012:Donnie Avery

2013:Darrius Heyward-Bey

PFF Overall Grade









Completion Percentage



Receving Yards



Receiving Touchdowns



Dropped Passes



Average Targets per Drop



Wrong. DHB had a hefty 9 drops this past season. He also had a drop rate of 23.68% which is second worst in the league (for players who have been in for at least 25% of their team's offensive snaps). Eventually benched in favour of younger, inexperienced receivers, DHB's time in Indianapolis has been a disappointment.

Since his benching however, DHB has taken some snaps on special teams and impressed during limited opportunities. Credit where credit's due Heyward-Bey has taken his benching very well and he has continued to fight for the team. Some fans have even been calling to resign him purely to play on special teams.

Hugh Thornton (2013 Cap Figure-$541,345)

Thornton was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft presumably to gradually make the transition to be a starting guard in the NFL, rather than being a day one starter.

2012:Joe Reitz and Jeff Linkenbach

2013:Hugh Thornton

Cumulative PFF Overall Grade



Cumulative PFF Run Blocking Grade



Total Snaps



Pass Blocking Snaps



Cumulative Sacks Conceded



Cumulative QB Hits Allowed



Cumulative QB Hurries Allowed



Average Pass Blocking Snaps per pressure Conceded



When Donald Thomas went down with an injury in the week 2 game against Miami, Thornton was thrown into the lineup probably sooner than he anticipated. He remained the starter at Left Guard for the remainder of the season. Thornton struggled as a starter in 2013 (he finished with the second lowest overall grade on the whole team according to Pro Football Focus). While his performances left a lot to be desired, fans should not give up on Thornton just yet as he was given a starting role that he was clearly not ready for.

Donald Thomas (2013 Cap Figure-$2,750,000)

A career backup before arriving in Indianapolis, Thomas was brought in to shore up the Left Guard position on an offensive line that had allowed a staggering 244 pressures in 2012 (league leading).

He only managed to play 72 offensive snaps before he went down with a Quad injury and did not see the field for the rest of the season. His play was encouraging for this very short period. Fans and coaches alike will be very much looking forward to getting him back.

Matt Hasselbeck (2013 Cap Figure-$3,500,000)

He was signed as an insurance policy for Andrew Luck, while also helping him to adapt to the new offense. Thankfully Hasselbeck was not required to step in for a substantial amount of time. Some fans have criticised paying a player so much who is unlikely to see the playing field at all. It remains to be seen whether Hasselbeck will be on the Colts roster for the start of the 2014 season.

Stanley Havili (2013 Cap Figure-$480,000)

A position that some might consider endangered, Havili was acquired via a trade with the Eagles, for Clifton Geathers.

As many expected he was a vital part of Pep's no-coast offense and has contributed well this past season. Havili played 336 offensive snaps this season (just over 30% of all offensive snaps). Colts Fullbacks have played a total of 155 snaps in the previous 3 seasons combined (a Fullback was on the field for just 37 offensive snaps in 2012).

Havili finished the season with a -5.6 blocking grade from Pro Football Focus (the fourth worst blocking grade among Fullbacks). While some might assess a Fullback solely on their run blocking abilities, Havili's role is much more than a traditional blocking fullback in Pep's offense. He featured often in the passing game and finished the season with 18 receptions for 128 yards and a Touchdown.

Hopefully Havili can improve his run blocking abilities but overall this trade appears to be a solid move from Grigson as Geathers was unlikely to make the roster anyway.

Ahmad Bradshaw (2013 Cap Figure-$1,918,750)

Not content with Donald Brown and Vick Ballard, the Colts decided to add Ahmad Bradshaw to be part of a running back by committee group.

He started the season very well but unfortunately his year was cut short due to a neck injury. He played a huge part in getting Indy one of their toughest wins of the season, at Candlestick against the Niners (95 Rushing yards on 19 carries and a Touchdown).

Khaled Holmes (2013 Cap Figure-$510,027)

Khaled Holmes only played 13 snaps in the 2013 season. While it may be unreasonable to expect much from a fourth round rookie in his first year, the fact that he played so few snaps on an offensive line plagued with injuries and poor play, speaks volumes.

The AQ Shipley Trade

AQ Shipley was traded to Baltimore for a conditional 2014 draft pick. A move that was initially heavily criticised by fans, myself included, appears to not have been as damaging as first thought. Shipley has primarily played at left guard for Baltimore this year.

2013 AQ Shipley (primarily at Left Guard)

PFF Overall Grade


Total Snaps


Pass Blocking Snaps


Run Blocking Grade


Sacks Conceded


QB Hits Allowed


QB Hurries Allowed


Only one Colts offensive lineman (Mike McGlynn, -23.40) had a worse overall grade than AQ Shipley's -18.1 grade from Pro Football Focus last season. It was understandable that fans were upset with the trade at the time but it now seems that Shipley was never going to be "the answer" for our interior offensive line woes.

Quite rightly, Grigson spent most of the 2013 offseason trying shore up the defense. While he did find new starters at Right Tackle and Fullback, the other additions didn't really work out last season. Hopefully he can secure more "hits" than "misses" now that we are into the 2014 offseason.

Feel free to add comments in the section below or hit me up on Twitter: @Colts_Comments.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.

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