On September 5, 2017, I published my first official article for Stampede Blue. It was a massive, rambling mess, complete with dozens of gifs of the Rams offense and my limited understanding of Sean McVay’s offense and football. I started with a good base, but in the past five years, I have learned a lot about the game you might not know it, but if you’ve been following my work, you’ve watched me learn and grow in real-time.
For five years, I’ve written about the teams the Colts play, their offensive and defensive systems, and what they try to accomplish on both sides of the ball. I tried with varying levels of success to predict how the games would go, but I was always better at predicting things inside of the game rather than the outcomes. There have been many times when I’m watching the Colts on Sunday, and I look at what the opponent is showing pre-snap, and I know what’s coming. I’ve seen blitz tells only to have the Indy QB take a sack. I’ve seen matchups I knew the opponent would try to exploit as soon as they could, right before they did it and scored six. I’ve told my TV that the Colts need to make sure they maintain backside contain because the back loves to hit that cutback, only to watch it happen and have the opponent scamper for a big gain.
In the past five years, I’ve spent countless hours (I couldn’t even begin to guess, seriously) watching and understanding film, and I’ve enjoyed it. But in the past five years, if I had to guess the number of hours of film I’ve watched of the Indianapolis Colts, I’d guess 25, maybe 30 hours, and most of that came after Reich’s first season as head coach. When talking to Jim Campbell and Chris Blystone before recording episodes of Stampede Radio, they would ask me things about what the Colts were doing, and most of the time, I had to tell them I wasn’t sure. I watch the games on Sunday, but it’s not the same, and I spent all of my free time watching other teams. So with this in mind and the blessing of our fearless leader Brett Mock, I will be shifting gears this season and devoting time to watching Indianapolis Colts’ film.
I’m not entirely sure what this series will be, but I have a few ideas. I know that I want to keep track of the plays Frank Reich calls on third down. I want to know the yards to gain, field position, formation, routes run, and where the ball is distributed. I might also get into what defense these plays are run against, men in the box, number of rushers sent, etc. I might keep track of plays inside the red zone and other specific situations throughout the game. I will likely focus on the passing game but I probably won’t be able to stop myself from looking at a few of the best-run concepts each week. These articles will build on each other, and by week 18, I hope to be able to tell you that on third and less than seven yards, the 2022 Colts threw to Nyheim Hines __% of the time when in gun and __% of the time when lined up under center. You know, real light reading for the casual fan.
But much like that first article from five years ago, I expect it will take some time to settle into a format that makes sense for this series, but I’m excited to embark on this journey. If you have things you want to know about the offense or ideas of specific things to track, please let me know in the comments. I can’t promise I’ll do it, but I am open to ideas.