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What Will Pep Hamilton’s 2013 Indianapolis Offense Look Like?


As we all prepare to anoint Andrew Luck as the next uber-elite quarterback, T.Y Hilton an undervalued fantasy darling and draft… ugh… Ahmad Bradshaw, one critical question remains: What offense, exactly, are the Colts going to run?

It seems the general sentiment is that the scheme installed by Bruce Arians is going to fundamentally stick around, but it’s best to consult the data first. To get a better idea of what the Colts offense is going to look like in 2013, here is some information on offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s offenses over the years. For the purposes of our exercise, we are going to look at stats generated when Hamilton was an offensive coordinator. Being a quarterback’s coach isn’t influential enough in an offense to assess the numbers as meaningful.

Year/Team Rushes P/G Pass Attempts P/G Pass Yards P/G Rush % Pass % Rush Yards P/G AY/PA Yards Per Rush Attempt Pass TD P/G Rush TDS P/G
2003 Jets 25.5 31 207.25 43.69 52.90% 102.1 6.3 4 1.25 0.5
2011 Stanford 39.8 32.1 278.7 55.00% 44.97% 210.6 9.4 5.3 2.9 2.5
2012 Stanford 39.2 28.5 200.1 57.12% 42.80% 174.3 6.5 4.4 1.4 1.6

What strikes me from glancing at the numbers was how much more effective Hamilton’s offenses were with Andrew Luck at the helm. While that is probably going to be true for any offensive coordinator (Andrew Luck is really good), it does speak to Hamilton’s ability to work with Luck. Additionally, the Stanford teams that Hamilton was in charge of ran the ball, a lot, It would appear that Hamilton runs a more balanced system than Bruce Arians, more predicated on ball control. The numbers of the 2012 Colts back up this assertion.

Year/Team Rushes P/G Pass Attempts P/G Pass Yards P/G Rush % Pass % Rush Yards P/G AY/PA Yards Per Rush Attempt Pass TD P/G Rush TDS P/G
2012 Colts 27.5 39.25 273.3 39.60% 56.60% 104.4 6.4 3.8 1.43 0.68

The 2012 Colts were the anti-Hamilton. They threw much more, and ran much less. This revelation throws some cold water on T.Y Hilton, Reggie Wayne and Andrew Luck’s current ADP, while possibly pointing out that Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard may be more valuable than initially thought. A thought that comes up when seeing Hamilton’s rush ratio is that Stanford was a pretty successful team, so it’s possible they ran so much as a result of leading large portions of games, so here’s at look at the ratios for Stanford and the 2012 Colts in relation to wins and losses.

Run % Pass %
Stanford Wins 57.00% 43.00%
Colts Wins 44.00% 56.00%
Change in Mix           0.13         (0.13)
Stanford Losses 53.00% 47.00%
Colts Losses 34.00% 66.00%
Change in Mix           0.19         (0.19)

For Reggie Wayne or T.Y Hilton (depending on who you think the WR1 in that offense is) here are the averages of the WR1 in Hamilton’s offense per game. (Note: For this exercise, I used Zach Ertz’s 2012 because he was effectively the number 1 pass catcher in that offense)While there is some change for Stanford wins, not enough to explain away the worries about a shift in the 2013 Colts offensive philosophy.

Player Yards P/G Catches P/G TDS P/G MsoTDs MsoY Y/PT
Santana Moss 69 4.6 0.62 50.00% 31.35 9.4
Griff Whalen 57.6 4.3 0.3 11 21 9.13
Zach Ertz 64.1 4.9 0.42 32 32 8.39

When an NFL caliber player was in the role of number WR1 in Hamilton’s offense, they were very productive. Despite the limited number of pass attempts available in the Hamilton offense, the top guy normally produced. In 2003, Moss was the WR8 in standard fantasy point scoring. Ertz was a tight end, but played many of his snaps out wide and was productive, even without Andrew Luck at the helm.

As it pertains to all of the Colts pass catchers, here are the percentages of receptions for each passing option in Hamilton’s 3 years at Stanford. (Minimum 20 receptions)

2011 Stanford % of Team Receptions 2012 Stanford % of Team Receptions 2012 Colts % of Team Receptions
Griff Whalen (WR1) 18.80% Zach Ertz (TE1) 28.70% Reggie Wayne (WR1) 31.26%
Chris Owusu (WR2) 11.70% Stephan Taylor (RB1) 17.00% Donnie Avery (WR2) 17.69%
Ryan Hewit (H-Back) 11.44% Drew Terrel (WR2) 13.70% T.Y Hilton (WR3) 14.74%
Coby Fleener (TE1) 11.44% Ty Montgomery (WR3) 10.80% Dwayne Allen (TE1) 13.27%
Zach Ertz (TE2) 9.09% Levine Toilolo (TE2) 10.00% Coby Fleener (TE2) 7.65
Stephan Taylor (RB1) 8.40% Vick Ballard (RB1) 5.00%
Levine Toilolo (TE3) 8.08%

As someone who was very high on T.Y Hilton in 2013, those numbers make me reconsider my stance. The heavy involvement of the running backs and tight ends speaks well for the undervalued status of Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, as they show numerical evidence to the WCO approach that Hamilton employs. If Hamilton’s offensive averages stay the same, it would seem unlikely that Reggie Wayne gets anywhere near his 31.6 % of Team Receptions that he had in 2012, and even further long shot that the offense could employ 2 top 20 wide receivers. Hamilton’s offense seems more likely to involve numerous pass catchers. While I won’t start putting dirt on the current evaluations of the Colts players just yet, news out of Indianapolis will be of a premium. Information from beat writers about formations, quotes from Luck, Chuck Pagano and Hamilton about the structure of the offense and player evaluations of Fleener and Allen will be of the utmost importance. Historically, Hamilton hasn’t run a system that has allowed one WR to dominate the targets, and has enhanced the values of tight ends. So, when answering the questions, what will Pep Hamilton’s offense look like, the answer is probably a balanced, play action based west coast offense, with many targets going too many different recipients.

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