Thursday, June 23, 2011
Why Indy may be close to running better
By Paul Kuharsky
The Indianapolis Colts may already have many of the makings of a solid rushing attack.
That’s according to ESPN.com Insider K.C. Joyner, who compares the Colts’ 29th ranked rushing attack last season favorably to the 15th-ranked rushing attack of the San Diego Chargers.
A jump from 29th to 15th would be huge for any run game, and Joyner sees it as a possibility.
"The key to productivity on the ground is a high yards-per-attempt total on plays when no defender wins a point-of-attack block.
"This type of production is measured via the good blocking yards per attempt [GBYPA] metric. The best rushing teams usually end up in the upper-6-yard/low-7-yard range in this statistic. Poor teams end up below the 6-yard mark, and middle-of-the-road teams end up somewhere in between.
"Indianapolis ended the season with a 6.3 GBYPA total last season. The Colts' running backs were able to gain a solid number of yards on those plays when the Indianapolis blockers didn't allow a POA loss."
The Chargers were not a top running team, but gained 1,810 rushing yards in 2010 -- 26 more yards a game than the Colts. Joyner said the Colts had good blocking on 45.9 percent of their runs and averaged 6.3 yards on those carries, while San Diego was at 48.1 percent and 6.4 yards.
Run 50 more times with two percent more effectiveness and the gap is closed. A couple of new offensive linemen, first-round pick Anthony Castonzo and second-rounder Ben Ijalana, should be able to provide such a boost.
With or without free-agent-to-be Joseph Addai as the lead back, that’s some encouraging stuff.