It has been seven seasons since the Indianapolis Colts had a running back rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season, the second-longest drought in the NFL behind only the New Orleans Saints. Not since Joseph Addai rushed for 1,072 yards in 2007 have the Colts had a 1,000-yard rusher - but head coach Chuck Pagano guarantees that will change in 2015.
Speaking at the City of Anderson Colts Camp breakfast on Thursday morning, the players' day off, according to the Anderson Herald Bulletin, Pagano told those in attendance that, "I guarantee we will have a 1,000-yard rusher this year. Frank (Gore) has a chip on his shoulder, something to prove. People said he was done."
In the seven seasons the Colts have been without a 1,000-yard rusher, Frank Gore has reached the milestone in six of them, including in each of the last four seasons. He brings an impressive resume with him from his ten years spent with the San Francisco 49ers, having racked up 11,073 yards and 64 touchdowns rushing (averaging 4.5 yards per carry) and 342 catches for 2,883 yards and 11 touchdowns - making five Pro Bowls and notching eight 1,000 yard seasons.
With the Colts, he's only participated in just four training camp practices so far but he is already impressing. "He looks great," Pagano told the media on Tuesday. "You guys are watching the same stuff I'm watching. He looks great."
There are certainly questions about Gore - namely, the fact that he's 32 years old. Critics of the Colts signing the veteran running back this offseason have been sure to point that out. But so far in camp, Gore has been running like he's 22 rather than 32, as guys like Pagano, cornerback Greg Toler, and others will tell you. Gore doesn't look his age, and the hope is that it will continue.
It is a reasonable expectation for Frank Gore to reach the 1,000-yard milestone in Indianapolis in 2015. He's playing on a loaded offense and therefore he should see less men in the box, something he is very excited about. Furthermore, he is a very good running back who has proven himself in the NFL and is a massive upgrade at the position for the Colts, providing the best back they have had since Edgerrin James left the team in free agency following the 2005 season. For Gore to get 1,000 yards this year is a very fair expectation - but for Chuck Pagano, it goes beyond just an expectation to a guarantee. Let's hope he's right.