The 34th overall pick fills a hole the Colts desperately needed last year and fills a void in the RedZone they’ve missed since Reggie Wayne left.
The NFL has become an increasingly passing first league and the Colts are a team that has been built around running the ball. The Colts have the best offensive line led by Quenton Nelson and a passing game anchored by Anthony Costanzo who signed a deal to keep him in Indianapolis for at least a few more years.
This offseason, the Colts let go of Eric Ebron who in 2018 scored 13 touchdowns with Andrew Luck at the helm; Michael Pittman fills the void left by him. Of course, the top receiver is T.Y. “the ghost” Hilton but recently he’s come out and stated he is thinking of retiring when his contract ends with the Colts at the end of this season. Seeing the moves Chris Ballard has made in recent months, he’s a team-first guy and won’t make any moves without putting the team salary first; some would argue Philip Rivers is an exception and I’d say it is. Also, having two quarterbacks at $20 million+ isn’t ideal, but it’s only for one season and then they can decide on who they want to go with for the future.
But Rivers isn’t the only person I believe will help the Colts offense. I believe Pittman will, too. Personally, I’m a sucker for big-bodied receivers and red zone threats, which Pittman is. The Colts are turning into a run-first team with long play-action and deep field go routes on the back of a run sell by the offensive line. Even better is that Nelson hasn’t allowed a single sack in his two years with the Colts, including playoffs and preseason games.
Last year the Colts showed what they could do with a good running game against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. The Colts held the Chiefs to just 13 points in their home stadium and had a 5.6 yard per carry average, with Marlon Mack single-handedly took the game into his hands. The Colts held the ball and at one point had a 17 play drive which took a whole quarter off that ended in a touchdown, icing the game. Oh, and to round that all out, they were missing their starting linebacker, safety, and two corners.
But where Pittman comes into play is two areas: red zone and third-down.
My draw to the rookie is his size at 6’4″, 220 pounds. Not only is he a weapon for the offense, but the defense, too. He can help our corners go against large receivers in practice to help with in-game scenarios which call for press-man coverage, which, if played right, receivers nearly always win. The average corner in the NFL is around 5’11”, which gives five inches to Pittman right off the bat. Not only does he have height, but also weight and arm strength. He’s got 32.5 inch arms with a 4.5 forty-yard dash time.
The Colts struggled in the red zone last season with a 65% touchdown percentage, mostly due to the lack of large targets in that area. Pittman changes the entire dynamic. You can now open the fade route, the crossing routes, and quick outs all with high throws and going over the middle if needed. Historically, the Colts have been about speed, but the Colts seem to be moving to more of a play-action passing attack with a focus on the running game.
Pittman is the “X-Factor” in this offense and hopefully, he can step up big time for the Indianapolis this year.