Frank Reich: Colts Need More Chunk Plays In Passing Game


Frank Reich: Colts Need More Chunk Plays In Passing Game

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Frank Reich: Colts Need More Chunk Plays In Passing Game

Why have the chunk plays been missing from the Colts passing game early in 2019? Here are Frank Reich’s thoughts on that element of the offense.

Joe Robbins | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – It’s the same trend we saw to start last season.


Where’s the vertical passing game?


Why aren’t the chunk plays coming through the air?


But while last year the thought process was Andrew Luck’s shoulder and arm strength were still getting back to full speed early in the season, you don’t have the same physical questions with the big-armed Jacoby Brissett.


Through two weeks of the 2019 season, Brissett has completed just 2 passes of more than 20 yards. That’s last in the NFL among (healthy) starting quarterbacks.


While the Colts have received great production from the run game early in the season, and have been very sound situationally, the need is there for more plays down the field.


“Do we need to get more production out of the passing game? Yeah, we do. And I believe we will,” Frank Reich says.


Reich knows the small number in big passing plays.


And he’s acknowledged, like he did last year at this same time, the importance of changing that for this offense to evolve and sustain.


“That needs to be a big part of the formula,” Reich says. “We didn’t have as many of those. Now I will say this, what we count as our chunk plays – we have chunk run plays, chunk pass plays, chunk special teams plays (and) chunk penalties. We have a formula that we use that we believe translates to winning and losing games. That’s kind of our own internal formula. Our analytics guys handle that. That’s through a lot of years of data on what results in wins and losses over a lot of years. So that’s something that we look at as a team. Every Tuesday it’s the first thing that we look at. There’s a few criteria that we throw up every week that we look (at) and talk about as a team. Getting chunk plays as a team and preventing chunk plays as a team is a big part of that discussion.”


While there were definitely times in Sunday’s win over the Titans when protection broke down, or the Titans’ coverage didn’t allow for a deep ball, there were also moments when Jacoby Brissett elected to forego some potential opportunities down the field, particularly in the third quarter.


The likes of T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell had times during the game where a big play in the passing game was possible, but Brissett elected to bypass any downfield risk.


“Our whole mantra these past two weeks was just taking what the defense is giving us,” the rookie Campbell says. “I think we’ve been doing a great job with that. The explosive plays, we didn’t have that many in this last game. But we know we are going to continue to work as an offense and I’m sure they will come.”


In 2018, that all important yards per attempt number (the Colts are currently 29th in passing yards per play at 5.35 YPP) started to rise in late September.


Will we see that again in 2019?


“We always want to take what the defense gives us,” Nick Sirianni says. “We are not shy about saying that. We want to take what the defense gives us, but we also know how important protecting the football is and how important chunk plays are.


“We definitely want to create chunk plays. Hats off to the defenses that we have played against, they have limited us in that. But that’s always an important step for us to create chunk plays and create explosive plays because we know that helps lead to victories, points and all of that stuff.”



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