Chuck Pagano: Colts will still be vertical

May, 6, 2013
5/06/13
3:56
PM ET
Pep Hamilton has said the Indianapolis Colts won’t run a West Coast offense, they’ll run a No Coast offense.

That’s the new offensive coordinator’s way of saying don’t put the Colts in a box. They’ll combine a lot of different elements in the system Andrew Luck runs in his second year.

That’s a relief to fans of what the Colts did last season, when Bruce Arians had Luck really push the ball down the field. He notched nearly 7 yards per attempt.

The number will not be the same in 2013, but coach Chuck Pagano said the Colts aren’t going to go from big to small in the passing game.

Here’s a chunk of what Pagano told me in a recent conversation when I asked if the passing game will be more conservative.

“If we have success running the football, if we don’t get behind, that takes pressure off of everybody," Pagano said. "Certainly we want to have balance. The way you have balance is you’ve got to have success running the football and get yourself in third-and-manageable so you can convert a higher percentage. You can’t get behind and have to drop back 628 times; it’s too much. You never want to put your quarterback or your offensive line in that situation. If we can hammer the nail, it’s going to take the pressure off of everybody. We’re still going to take our shots.

“I was only in Oakland a short time, but one thing I did learn from Mr. [Al] Davis, God rest his soul, was about throwing the ball down the field. Nobody loved throwing the ball down the field more than we did last year, right? Bruce loves throwing the ball down the field. Huge plays, we call them chunk plays, are vital. We’re still going to take our shots down the field. How many that is a game and what we’re going to ask as far as the offensive line provided time, I can’t tell you. The game will dictate that. But you’ve got to be able to hit your chunk plays, have a vertical game. The threat of that has still got to be there otherwise defenses are going to be sitting on all our receivers. We’ve still got some guys who can run. ...

“By no means are we going to be a dink and dunk, pure West Coast, if you will, three-step drop and get the ball out. I’m sure there'll be a little bit of that flavor built in, but we’re still going to take our shots.”

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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