Colts hope to use two, and even three, tight ends


The NFL is the ultimate copycat league.  And for a team that went 2-14 last season, it’s important to find a successful franchise to emulate.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who while coordinating the defense in Baltimore witnessed first hand the challenges of dealing with the two top-end tight ends on the Patriots roster, hopes to put together a similar attack in Indianapolis.

“It is a match-up nightmare,” Pagano said Saturday, via comments circulated by the team.  “Coming off of the AFC Championship game, nobody knew better than the Ravens going into that game with the two guys [Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez] that [the Patriots] have.  It is across the league.  You can see it more and more every year.

“You can choose to put a defensive back on them, and they will be undersized, they will get outmuscled and they will get ‘big-boyed’ for the ball.  Then you can put a safety or a linebacker on them and they can’t run with them.  So we feel like the two guys that we added, and Dominique [Jones] is a physical presence, that guy is 260 pounds and moving around really well.  It is a match-up nightmare for any defense.”

The two guys the Colts added are Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, taken in the second-round and third-round, respectively, of last weekend’s draft.

Quarterback Andrew Luck took it an extra step.  “With three tight ends, do you put an extra safety in [the box] and try to stop the run or do you leave your regular defense in?” Luck said.  “How do you do it?  How do you match-up with those guys?  Do you put a linebacker on them to cover them when they split out wide?  So I think it creates mismatches.”

That would be a nice change for the Colts, given that they typically were on the wrong side of the mismatches in 2011.

33 responses to “Colts hope to use two, and even three, tight ends

  1. We have always depended on our TE, Dilger, Pollard, Clark, Tamme the list goes on. Why was this news again?

  2. TE has become such an important position. As the rules of hitting get more and more strict the more the TE can run freely through the middle without fear.

  3. KW1 and Dave Casper wont help this team with “trips right swing pass” Arians as your OC.

  4. It is gonna be a bunch set offense like Arians ran in Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

    God, I’m glad to have a progressive coach like Haley.

  5. It sounds like a good idea… until you line it up and realize you don’t have Aaron Hernandez or Gronkowski

  6. “Why was this news again?”

    I feel like I have seen comments like this all day today. This isnt “really important football news .com” It’s. PFT. Pro football talk.

    We are still talking about pro football teams right ?

  7. I have a problem calling a lot of these guys TE’s. They’re more big wide outs these days. Few can block and catch (Vernon Davis and maybe Gronk being the exception).

    IMO opposing defenses will counter this by blitzing the crap out of Luck. I don’t care how touted a QB is, if he gets hit early and often in his career he will bust, and the Colt’s OL ain’t exactally stellar. David Carr and possibly Sam Bradford (we’ll see after this season) are perfect examples of how a young QB can be ruined by pressure. Marc Bulger is an example too but he was a vet before the rams OL went to pieces.

    For all of Luck’s “greatness” he’s still a rookie and will not come in playing like a seasoned vet, especially considering that team is in full on rebuild mode.

  8. Sounds like the Colts are gonna be doing alot of play action this season in two/three tight end sets. But without a consistent running game that also means teams will probably playing alot of spying/zone coverage on Luck. Plus Luck has the brains of Peyton Manning and legs like Aaron Rodgers, at least according to ESPN (probably).

    Bottom line is Luck, like Peyton before him, will struggle in his rookie season. Colts are still a bad team and are transitioning to a new defense. This may take a few years to repair.

  9. TeamBalco says:
    May 5, 2012 10:31 PM
    Reggie Wayne should have channeled his inner LeBron. These tight end formations are NOT wide receiver friendly.


    Yeah, especially when Wes Welker was horrible last year with 2 great tight ends last year. 122 receptions, 1500 yards, 9 touchdowns are all horrid stats. (all career highs except the receptions)…

    Reggie Wayne will probably “suffer” the same way…

  10. Luck is probably going to need those two to three tight ends to stay in and block… he’s still a rookie in the NFL and that offensive line isn’t exactly top notch.

  11. “Oh yeah”, said Bill Belichick on Pagano’s plan, “next season we will start using 4 or 5 TE’s per game. In fact we have several packages where we exclusivly use tight ends. No quarter back, no running back, no lineman. How do you stop that? It’s a matchup nightmare”.

  12. To the genius who mentions blitzing as the remedy to this formation… Do you run blitz or blitz the QB? Those would be to completly diffrent defensive calls and they would yield horrendous results if called improperly. Luck has the ability to check at the line of scrimmage, something some Veteran QB’S cant even do. If he can read one defensive player, it will yield positive results for this offense. If they can pull this together, this could be a more balanced and unstoppable attack then the Pats. Don’t believe me? All teams have loaded up with smaller guys to combat the multiple wide-out sets, that means running with essentially 8 OL on the field, regardless of blocking abilities. High percentage throws to TE and some precise routes run by Wayne, and Luck will make Indy fans say “Peyton who?” Sooner then anyone expected.

  13. I was shocked when they drafted a second tight end instead of a linebacker, but now it makes a lot of sense. Drafting the top two tight ends will give us the Gronkowski-Hernandez effect.

    Colts will be a dominant team again by 2014.

  14. Are you sure Pagano got the idea from New England?

    My guess is that it came with him from Baltimore where they have been using it with some success for several years.

  15. @rabidbillsfan

    Yeah Luck has the ability to check at the line, in college and against crappy pac 12 defenses. This is the big boy league, lets hold off before annoiting him…

    And you do realize that the Stanford offense ran the ball almost 66% of the time per game, and always established the playaction before Luck started slinging the ball? Indy doesn’t have anything close to the power running game Stanford had so let’s see how Luck fares slinging out of the gate as opposed to having an already established running game.

  16. Tom Brady is a master of the no huddle and this is part of the reason why the Patriots have so much success on offense. The defenses have to try and match up against those TEs while being tired and unorganized. I highly doubt the Colts are going to be as effective as the Patriots with their TE formations.

  17. Imagine Tebow in a 4-5 TE set. Call it the steam roll package! -disclaimer: 2 year old kept me up all night so I’m not responsible for any ideas I have right now

  18. They are also seeking special permission to have 3 centers and a total of 33 players on offense lined up against 11 defenders on hopes they can win at least 2 games this season.

  19. Some questioned the move, but to take the Top 2 TEs in the draft is a huge addition for Luck and Offense.

    Wayne / Collie / Fleener / Allen / Hilton / Brazill could be a solid group to start with. The TEs will help along the line and are mobile enough to help block in the flat. 2 solid players who could be a dangerous 1/2 punch for a long time.

  20. Actually the Colts offensive line wasnt that terrible. Protected the QB and ran the ball better than the last few years with Peyton. Of course, only Colts fans know this, because we actually watched their games. Bad QB play killed them. I see alot of jealous people who rip on Luck already. Luck is special. I will take the word of pro scouts over some random fan.

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