The Colts didn’t throw the ball deep very much last season and hardly used play-action. Expect that to change this season.
Jacoby Brissett protected the football well last year. He only threw 6 interceptions and was extremely careful with the ball. That protection was at the expense of big plays down the field though. The Colts hardly utilized play-action passes down the field.
Expect that to change with Philip Rivers under center. Rivers loves to push the ball down the field, especially in play-action scenarios. Rivers doesn’t let the fear of throwing an interception paralyze him into not throwing the ball deep. He trusts his receivers and his arm to make the play.
Having a healthy T.Y. Hilton should help with that too. Hilton missed multiple games with an assortment of injuries last year, most notably a calf that kept him out late in the year. If he can stay healthy, his speed should help the passing game down the field.
A healthy Parris Campbell should help with that too. The rookie only played 7 games because of various injuries. He, like Hilton, is extremely speedy and can get separation in a hurry. The big-bodied Michael Pittman Jr. should also help because now the team has someone who can win 50-50 balls.
A lack of explosive plays really hurt the Colts last season. Of Brissett’s 18 touchdown passes last season, only three were 20+ yards. That lack of explosion in the passing game was one of the many reasons the team faltered down the stretch after a 5-2 start to the season.
The stellar running of Marlon Mack helps open up the play-action game as well. Teams will commit more players to the box to try and stop the run. That opens up deep holes in the secondary to be exploited.
Rivers and company should be able to throw the ball deeper with more frequency and with more success in 2020. It will be a nice thing to see after hardly seeing it at all in a disappointing 2019 season.