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Kyle has his dogma, his fantasy, about the Colts. He has a penchant for glossing over the changes from last year. Yes, Andrew Luck had his slump last year. His improvement, his "progress", has been more about a different playbook that uses his abilities more fully, a playbook that he'd mastered at Stanford. The bolstered offensive line is another nice aspect of his "progress". Indy's defense this year is a talent upgrade from last year. Maybe "exceptional" is only a tad extravagant; they're playing well despite injury disruptions.
As for the "run-first" self-description that Kyle's made into a goad, that is what it is. Ball control is what Hamilton and Luck are attempting; they want to have the ability to burn clock when they choose. The ability to keep a high-scoring opposing QB, like Peyton, on the sidelines is a much-valued result. The defense also rests while Luck's on the field. The recent San Diego fiasco is an example of that approach being used against Indy; it worked. In that game, the defense couldn't get off the field, couldn't get the ball back, and Andrew could only watch from the sidelines.
Until Indy figures how to adjust for the loss of Reggie, the ground game is their staple. Don't confuse their lack of yardage, especially in the early quarters, with futility. As the Colts offensive linemen have been saying, they want to beat on the defense to wear them down for the 4th quarter; they've bought into Hamilton's mindset. Luck is already onboard. Kyle doesn't like this approach although he'll get his mileage from his contrarian viewpoint. The only instances where I'd tend to question Hamilton's tactics--in light of his strategy--is when he gets a nice 6/7-yard run on first down and then calls two questionable pass attempts for three-and-out. He's done this more than not. When he veers from a successful ground game, he gets too cute. Maybe he's trying to keep the defense honest, maybe he's trying to give his receiver's some action, but "three-and-out" is a too-common result. If it ain't broke, why break it yourself?
1 month, 1 week ago on The BP Watch: The Colts Are Not 5-2 "Because They Are Run-First"
@cmccollo Remember that Indy only carries one FB.
Also, many sports writers lost track, or never knew, of the 2010 Stanford season, Jim Harbaugh's last year, when Luck was their #2 rusher, >500 yds. in 13 games; he had 3 runs ≥50 yds.
1 month, 1 week ago on Andrew Luck's Houdini Moments: An Escapist's Archive
Oregon and UCLA are tied, 14-14, at halftime. Meh. Oregon is typically a 2nd-half team. UCLA knows that. Game on.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on PAC 12
@smonroe Two-thirds of the season remains. There's no way to know which receiver will go down next. There's not going to be another Reggie Wayne available. How much should be spent for how much potential help at receiver? That's possibly a reason to turn to Whalen and his familiarity with the playbook. "Big play" isn't the first need that occurs to Pep Hamilton if Hilton and DHB are healthy and Brazill is back. They have time to see what might shake out later in the season.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on More Roster Moves: Colts Waive TE Dominique Jones, Cut FB Robert Hughes from Practice Squad
Well, Barry J. Sanders just scored the first TD of his college career. It has begun.
2 months, 2 weeks ago on PAC 12
@corr99 This shows how tough Jeff Tuel was last year, and Taylor Kelly last week.
That had to hurt. Halliday gets blotted and throws a pick-six at the same time. Game over? Wonder how much longer Halliday will last.
Stanford's Barry J. Sanders just had his first significant carry. Took a pass in the slot and juked 3 defenders before finally gaining 16 yards after catch. It begins.
There's a lot of leftover dogma about Stanford football's team slowness. Last year, the defense's speed was displayed against Oregon. Today's TV announcers started by mentioning Stanford lack of speed on offense. Stanford's lead RB Tyler Gaffney is faster than Stepfan Taylor, last year's star RB. Now the top 3 Stanford WRs have just shown that they're faster than WSU's secondary. Yeesh! Rumors die slow.
Those are the details of how Indy "out-physicaled" SF. Indy's secondary also didn't have to fear any deep speed. Davis' injury took out SF's last deep threat. Harbaugh had brainlock in the 2nd half and backed off of a ground game that was working. He stopped it, not Indy. He knows that now.
The NFL has solved the read-option. Ask the Eagles' Rich Kelly. Without a ground game, without open receivers, Kaepernick was stuck. Harbaugh must've been in shock to see Indy (Hamilton and Luck) beating SF with the Stanford play book; no mystery, just execution. SF's only hope had been abandoned when their ground game was shelved--by Harbaugh. Indy was probably going to win anyway but SF lost time of possession by too much and Harbaugh stood and watched it happen. That exuberant spike by Andrew Luck when he scored on his bootleg was a clear "mission accomplished" gesture.
BTW, Ben Savage, this was NFL Week 4.
2 months, 2 weeks ago on All-22: Defense, Week 3 vs 49ers.
@BDiddy Isn't it better to waive a flag than to miss, or not call, a penalty? It's a refreshing alternative. Many times another ref has a better angle and can correct the flag thrower. That's why they have multiple refs. Isn't this how it's meant to work?
2 months, 2 weeks ago on Surprise! The Colts Throttle San Francisco, 27-7
@MarcusDugan With Dwayne Allen out, that extra beef is the alternative, especially against the Niners. Be advised, Pep Hamilton likes to use that much beef in his variations. Pagano likes that because it offers extra protection options for his franchise QB. Stanford did that in Harbaugh's time and still does that, in spades. They use linemen in receiver's numbers as blocking backs.
@BDiddy Richardson is currently a more complete back than Brown, as you saw against the Dolphins. He's also the fastest of the trio. He'll do fine. Indy's playbook can be a challenge in the first week although he was necessarily spoonfed. That threesome is much better than could've been hoped after Ballard went down. Pep Hamilton knows how to use multiple backs and prefers that when possible. Luck has the smarts to register who's on the field for which plays and as well as their skillsets. There's no down side to this situation, as the SF game shows.
Delano Howell isn't the supreme NFL athlete physically but he was a defensive captain and the anchor of Stanford's undermanned secondary during Luck's era. He's smart and doesn't make many errors. He's not spectacular; he's steady and dependable and makes plays. He's a prize backup and not a big dropoff if a starter is hurt, and he's probably better than some starters on other teams.
@54 If Stanford played in the SEC, the conference would have ejected Stanford for not running up the score. That definitely was not SEC football, a total disgrace! :-)
@corr99 @Jayjaybe As I mentioned earlier, that gap since ASU last met Stanford was meaningful. The difference between Stanford and other teams is real physicality. ASU needed to get past that 1st half shock. They did. But you don't win games by shoulda-woulda-coulda; you only get "didn't".
2 months, 3 weeks ago on PAC 12
@corr99 @Jayjaybe That running is why Hogan became the starter, although Andrew Luck would've scored on that run.
Actually, this change of momentum is Shaw's fault. He didn't want the players to ease up, and then he takes Hogan out? That's why betting spreads aren't easy when gauging Stanford. Shaw doesn't think like SEC coaches.
12 on the field? No wonder they're standing up to Stanford.
Well, Stanford's defense will know better than to get cocky.
That's the clincher. Against some other teams, maybe ASU would still have a chance. Stanford's defense is better than any on the rest of ASU's schedule.
Even if ASU doesn't win, their 2nd half effort should be their standard and that will make them formidable in the PAC-12. The 1st-half shock of Stanford's smashmouth style was a one-time deal. After Stanford, everyone else will be manageable.