The start couldn’t have been scripted much better for offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
One play. Twelve seconds. Sixty-three yards and a touchdown for the first offensive snap of the 2012 preseason.
“An easy completion to Donald (Brown) but Dwayne Allen made an unbelievable effort block and Anthony Castonzo made a great block. The whole group just executed to perfection. Donald just had to run. It was a nice way to start,” Arians said.
Sunday’s offensive production stayed consistent through all three Colts quarterbacks, as the 38 points scored are the most Indianapolis has scored in the preseason since 1989.
Like any coach striving to get better, Arians is still searching for that complete performance offensively.
“I thought we played fairly fast. Obviously, made some explosive plays but we lacked consistency,” Arians said. “There were so many plays out there to make. (We) didn’t handle some of their blitzes well so we’ve got a lot of improvement to do. We’ve got to run the ball better and each week just continue to improve.”
It’s the running game that Arians was focused on following Tuesday’s practice as the Colts are dealing with a banged up backfield.
The Colts had four healthy running backs during practice on Tuesday and then signed running back Alvester Alexander later in the evening to provide some depth.
Arians has said he wants to see ‘physicality’ out of the running game and he stressed the need for the small things out of his backs.
“Four yards or more, don’t be dancing around and trying to make long runs,” Arians said of his running backs. “Get positive yardage, block linebackers and safeties in pass protection and play all around football. We have quality guys at the position and it’s high competition right now to get guys on the field.”
One player that Arians said will see some extended workload this week is rookie running back Vick Ballard.
With running backs Delone Carter and Mewelde Moore nursing rib injuries, Ballard saw some extra playing time on Sunday against the Rams and his offensive coordinator has liked what he’s seen from the rookie.
“I’ve been really impressed with (Ballard),” Arians said. “I like his pass protection too. I think he’s improving in that area. The sky’s the limit with that kid.”
While Arians expects Ballard to get more action this week, he will be doing it behind a different offensive line.
Offensive guard Mike McGlynn suffered an ankle injury against the Rams and is expected to miss some time.
Finding more than five bodies along the offensive line is a must according to Arians over a taxing 16-game regular schedule.
“You’ve got to have seven guys and if you think you’re just going to play with five that doesn’t happen,” Arians said. “We went to the Super Bowl with seven offensive tackles and four quarterbacks (in Pittsburgh). The next man standing, the next man in line, he jumps in and he plays. There’s no drop off. There’s never an excuse for an injury. If you’re a backup you’re one of the most valuable guys on the team.”
An established, well-oiled running game will go a long way to making things easier for quarterback Andrew Luck.
The rookie had an impressive debut in front of home fans at Lucas Oil Stadium but to his offensive coordinator who has seen him for the better part of the last three months it was nothing he didn’t expect.
“Nothing surprises me about him anymore,” Arians said. “I kind of expect it now and I think it surprised other people. I wouldn’t have anticipated anything else from him.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, anthony castonzo, Delone Carter, donald brown, dwayne allen, Mewelde Moore, mike mcglynn, vick ballard
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