Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is incorporating more quick, short underneath throws within the team’s offensive play-calling in the hopes that it will help starting quarterback Andrew Luck‘s pocket protection by ultimately avoiding unnecessary hits:
"Aug 20, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck(12) drops back to pass against the Baltimore Ravens at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports“Some of the things we want to get the ball out quick and get it out of his hand, and those are some of the things that we’ve been working on quite a bit,” said offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski Wednesday. “Other things I’ve mentioned, his decisiveness–looking, if something is not there, not necessarily waiting on it to open up and getting to his next progression. You really saw some good signs of that in the game.”"
However, it’s also aided by the fact that the Colts feature arguably the league’s fastest trio of wide receivers with T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, and Phillip Dorsett–playmakers who excel with the football in their hands and gashing opposing defenses for “big chunks” with yards after the catch (YAC) by showcasing their speed:
"“I mean it’s a huge emphasis for us (regarding yards after catch),” added Chudzinski. “In this league, you have to generate big plays.”"
Look no further than when Luck’s longest completion last weekend was an 18-yard pass to Donte Moncrief, which was really a 1-yard catch by Moncrief that was turned into a big play by shaking off the first Baltimore Ravens defender–emphasizing the importance of YAC.
For reference, all of Luck’s 8 throws last weekend can be found here.
However, just because Luck largely attempted short throws during last week’s preseason game, doesn’t mean the Colts are completely abandoning the long passing game–especially with tremendous deep threats such as Hilton and Dorsett (although Moncrief is no slouch either).
"“Yeah, I wouldn’t necessarily make that an indicator that he’s going to be throwing 2 yard passes all year long,” quipped Chudzinski regarding Luck’s surplus of short passes last week."
Still, it shows that the Colts may be steadily evolving into more of a Tom Brady, New England Patriots “short passing attack” offense–featuring underneath routes, as opposed to the deep passing game that was first implemented by departed offensive coordinator Bruce Arians in 2012 and has more or less been maintained ever since.
It makes sense too, as the Colts would be playing to their strengths and personnel–while also keeping Luck theoretically more healthy and upright.