Welcome to the first installment of the Colts Offensive Charting Enterprise.
The purpose of this project is to determine how often the Colts ran their offense through specific personnel groupings, what they asked each of their skill positions to do in those situations, and the outcome and context.
During week 1, the Colts only ran three different types of personnel: 11, 12 & 13.
If you’re unfamiliar with how each of these are represented, the first digit represents the amount of running backs on the field, with the second digit representing the amount of tight ends present on the field. Up to five skill positions players are allowed, thus you can figure out the amount of wide receivers on the field at that time by subtracting the number of tight ends + running backs from 5 (As long as there are not six offensive lineman).
11 personnel - 1 Running Back, 1 Tight End, 3 Wide Receivers
12 personnel - 1 Running Back, 2 Tight Ends, 2 Wide Receivers
13 personnel - 1 Running back, 3 Tight Ends, 1 Wide Receiver
Teams can get very creative with this, for instance, 02 personnel would be 0 Running Backs, 2 Tight Ends and 3 Wide Receivers, or 23 personnel would be 2 Running Backs, 3 Tight Ends and 0 Wide Receivers.
Luckily for me, as I charted the Colts week 1 game versus the Los Angeles Rams they only ran the three personnel grouping that I listed above. This means that they had at least one running back AND one tight end on every single offensive snap.
Let’s take a look at the results:
NOTE: A few numbers, like snaps or routes may be off by one or two. Spending hours watching every Colts snap got very repetitive and I realized there are a couple mistakes after I went back over everything. I promise to be more accurate with each coming week.
⁃ The Colts ran 25 plays with 11 personnel, as noted at the top left corner. In those 25 plays, they only generated 82 yards of total offense (Not good!) Of these 25 snaps, 18 were from the shotgun while seven were from under center. Nine of the plays were runs, compared to 16 plays calling for a pass (Not all of the passes were attempts due to sacks). Surprisingly, of the Colts 16 play passes, only one called for play-action.
⁃ Jack Doyle was the lone tight end on all but one of these snaps, when Darrell Daniels subbed in. For 11 of his 24 snaps, Doyle was asked to block for either run or pass protection. Of his 13 routes he ran in this package, his most common route was an inside dig route, which he ran five times. This isn’t surprising considering Doyle isn’t know for stretching the field and is relied on as a short-yardage target.
⁃ Doyle spent 15 of his 24 snaps on the right side, either next to the right tackle (six times) or in the slot (nine times). He spent seven snaps next to the left tackle.
⁃ Of the Colts three top wide receivers (Hilton, Moncrief & Aiken) they also played all but one snap. Quan Bray found his way on to the field twice, with Matt Hazel also getting a snap in.
⁃ Donte Moncrief moved around quite a bit, but spent all 24 of his snaps nearly equal at different positions. He spent seven and five snaps on the far left and right side, respectively. He played six snaps each in the slot of both the right and left side.
⁃ Moncrief ran three fly routes, while he ran an inward dig, comeback, and flat route only twice.
⁃ TY Hilton played a majority of his time in the slot (16 snaps total) with 10 of those being in the slot on the right side. Offensive Coordinator Rob Chudzinski likes him there the most.
⁃ Hilton ran four inward dig routes, with the Colts most likely trying to get him at the center of the field from the slot in order to give him opportunities for yards after catch (YAC).
⁃ Kamar Aiken also spent 17 of his snaps in the slot. Aiken ran three crossing routes and two post routes, along with two inward dig routes.
⁃ The running back snaps were almost all divided equally, with Frank Gore receiving nine and Robert Turbin and Marlon Mack each receiving eight. Most of Mack’s snaps were in the second half of the game.
⁃ Looking down at the stats, TY Hilton was targeted five times from 11 personnel, catching only one ball, for 32 yards. Three of these times were on third down, with two being incomplete and one being an interception.
⁃ Speaking of third downs for the Colts, they were abysmal at succeeding in 11 personnel. They gained a net of -9 yards, completing only two passes. Jacoby Brissett and Matt Hazel had the one positive play, with a one yard pass. Scott Tolzien went 1-7 for -4 yards and a sack. That’s….bad.
⁃ The Colts really like to run out of this personnel on 2nd down, with five of their seven plays being runs. One was a pass to Frank Gore, the other was a sack. So it’s clear to see that the Colts like to get their running backs involved on second down.
⁃ In the 23 snaps Scott Tolzien played with three wide receivers on the field, he finished 5-13 for 61 yards and two interceptions, both of them being returned for touchdowns.
⁃ Indianapolis ran 21 plays from 12 personnel, having one running back, two tight ends and a pair of wide receivers on the field. Seven were from shotgun and 14 were under center, with a near even split in passes (10) and runs (11). Half of the Colts passing attempts involved play-action (Five out of 10).
⁃ Jack Doyle played 18 of the potential 21 snaps. Brandon Williams played 15 of them. Williams was in on the lions share of these snaps to start the game, but Darrell Daniels played a lot in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, with Williams getting the call again at the end of the game.
⁃ Doyle spent 13 of his 18 snaps on either side of the offensive tackle, but also spent four of them in the backfield. Of the 24 combined snaps that Brandon Williams and Darrell Daniels saw, 18 of them were with them next to the right tackle. The routes were all pretty spread out as no tight end ran three of any route from this personnel.
⁃ Kamar Aiken didn’t see a single snap in in 12 personnel, as Moncrief and Hilton each saw 19 snaps. Bray and Hazel each had two.
⁃ Moncrief spent most of his time out wide left, but surprisingly spent six snaps next to the right tackle or tight end on the line. This may have been to try and load up the fronts for runs to get extra blockers.
⁃ Scott Tolzien actually had most of his success with two tight ends on the field. In his four passing attempts, he completed three of them for 77 yards. He was also sacked twice.
⁃ The Colts ran two-thirds of this personnel on first down, with only one play on third down.
⁃ Jacoby Brissett, who played eight snaps, played six of them with 12 personnel.
⁃ Only two snaps from the entire Colts game involved three tight ends.
⁃ Doyle, Williams and Daniels played both snaps, as did Kamar Aiken.
⁃ Both plays were runs : A Frank Gore carry for 16 yards, and a three yard run by Marlon Mack.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this piece. It took a ton of effort to find a template that I like and that I felt told the story of Colts offense. Obviously, there are so many specifics that can be tracked, but I felt this is one of the most efficient ways to show what the Colts are doing, or trying to do, on offense.
Stay tuned as I will have one of these each week. After the numbers start to accumulate, I will began to create conglomerate sheets that show season stats for the Colts in specific personnel packages.