When the Colts went to the no huddle and hurry up offense at times last year, it seemed to work well and many Colts fans wanted the team and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton to utilize it more often. While Pep did improve as the season went on, this offseason fans were hoping to see more of it from the Colts in 2014.
In the preseason opener, we did. The Colts came out in the shotgun and utilized the no huddle offense on their first drive, the only one with the starters. The starting offense looked very sharp, and Pep Hamilton was asked Sunday about what the detriments are to running that type of offense a lot, because it seems to many to work very well. Hamilton replied:
"It's a double-edged sword in some cases. If you don't have success, and you're not able to convert third down and move the ball downfield, you put your defense on the field that much faster. Overall, I think we'll do a great job of doing whatever we see fit to the move the ball, and ultimately score touchdowns, and hopefully wear our opponent down along the way."
Hamilton has a point, but with the Colts array of weapons for quarterback Andrew Luck, I think that much more often than not the Colts would at least get more than three plays out of it and extend the drive. Everything has to be used in moderation, and that's true of the no huddle offense too. Hamilton knows that. But still - I think it'd be good to utilize that as often as possible this year.
Hamilton was also asked about what he liked from that first drive with the starters in last Thursday night:
"We wanted to, of course, start fast and try to dictate the tempo of the game. Try and dictate the tempo to the defense more importantly. We just felt like we had a pretty good rhythm once we got started. We converted the first third-and-long situation we had. We were able to make a few plays after that. It allowed us to drive the ball down field. We didn't finish with a touchdown, but there were a lot of good things that came about on that drive."
I love the emphasis on starting first and dictating the tempo, as too often last year the Colts fell behind early and then picked up the tempo to dig themselves out of the hole. That attitude should carry over to the regular season this year, and if so that would be huge. Hamilton elaborated a bit more about dictating the tempo:
"We've said that all along. We want to dictate, not just the tempo of the game, but we want to present the conflicts of, ‘Okay, what do we defend defensively when we face the Colts offense? They have really good backs, good tight ends, good receivers, a quarterback that can make plays, and then they have some tough, physical, smart guys up front that enjoy knocking people off the ball.'"
I loved what I saw from Pep Hamilton on Thursday night, and I like what he's saying too. He's definitely incorporating the no huddle and hurry up offense more and he's placing a big emphasis on dictating the tempo, and that in itself could show us a big improvement in the offense this year.