GO To Oakland News Now Blog HOME

Oakland News Now Blog Instant News Commentary - Register And Join The Discussion, Or Send A Video Comment

Las Vegas Raiders | How Can The Raiders Beat The Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders Have Run Opportunities vs Indy Colts 1st Down Defense

The Las Vegas Raiders travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts in a must-win-game for both teams with respect to entering the NFL Playoffs. The Colts, at 9 and 6, are marked “in the hunt” while the Raiders, at 8 and 7, are considered “rising up”. With the Colts not having the services of starting Quarterback Carson Wentz due to COVID-19 protocols, the focus turns to the blue and white’s defense to save the day. Thus, we consider here how the Raiders should attack the Indianapolis Colts Defense to achieve a win.

Statistics only tell part of the story of the Indianapolis Colts Defense or any NFL team defense, including the Las Vegas Raiders. The other part of the story is told by formations: how the defense lines up, and why. While this blogger does not have the actual Colts Defensive playbook, its possible to tell a lot thanks to the “All-22” website view provided by NFL Game Pass. What that study, spanning several games this season, revealed holds the key to victory.

Indy Colts First Down Defense Vs Cardinals
Indy Colts First Down Defense Vs Cardinals

Colts Defense Features Defensive Ends Wide Of The Tackles And Tight End Most Of The Time

The Colts Defensive Alignment is a base 4-3 (four down linemen and three linebackers) that varies in personal with respect to down, distance, and tendency of the opponent’s offense. What varies far less is in the Colts Defensive Formations. The Colts have a standard pattern of placing their defensive ends outside the offensive tackles and most of the time a full space or space-and-a-half out. That’s notable because some teams use alignments that bring their defensive ends closer in to the center, and generally over the offensive tackle, and at times just a shade inside with the modern 3-man-fronts used by a number of colleges. But the Colts send the signal that their defensive ends are poised to pass rush and keep runs inside, forming the classic “outside contain” philosophy that’s governed football defenses going back to the creation of the 4-3 defense in 1956.

To that end, there’s not one time where the Colts completely escape that formation alignment. What does vary is the position of the interior defensive tackles. The standard position is what appears to be a double-gap alignment with the tackles in each gap. But really the left defensive tackle will shade to the inside shoulder of the left guard (from the defense’s view point) and the right defensive tackle will completely fill the center-guard gap on that side. The intent appears to be to make sure the center and guard are occupied by the right defensive tackle, while the left defensive tackle works to penetrate into the backfield of the opponent. Moreover, if the left guard should pull to run to the end on that side, the left defensive tackle can pursue the play from behind the left guard. Meanwhile the linebackers are behind – watching.

The positioning of the tackles is accompanied by the positioning of the middle linebacker five yards behind the tandem tackles. In some Colts alignments, the middle linebacker moves to the strong side, and is joined by the weak linebacker, thus forming twin inside linebackers. The tackles are occasionally shifted to favor strongside or weak side. But the defensive ends remain wide most of the time – save for one set where there are three linebackers (really linebackers and safety) in the middle of the formation, and a nosetackle, with the strongside end between guard and tackle, but helped by two defensive backs placed wider. The weakside end is out wide. As one can see, here.

Colts Defense Vs Pats St Down
Colts Defense Vs Pats St Down
Colts Defense 1st Dn Vs Pats
Colts Defense 1st Dn Vs Pats

In all cases the linebackers are back far off the line of scrimmage, giving up as much as five yards, but shielded (or “stacked”) behind the defensive tackles. The places where the Raiders can and should attack are as follows.

The Las Vegas Raiders Should Use Quick-Hitting Runs Off-Tackle To Exploit The Colts Defense

The Colts Run Defense is 14th ranked this year, and I hold it’s because it’s better formed to deploy faster against the pass then stop the run. Gone is any attempt to copy the style of the 1970s defenses, where linebackers played close to the scrimmage line; backing off is the habit, yet its not exploited. Here’s the answer…

Brown Left Wide Formation
Brown Left Wide Formation

The Brown Left Wide Formation And An Off-Tackle Run For The Raiders

What you see is a formation the Las Vegas Raiders don’t have: I call it a Brown Left Wide Formation. Why? Well, here the tight end is on the left, but the fullback is not behind the quarterback but just to the right and lined up four yards behind the LOS.

The quarterback moves to give the ball to the fullback as the halfback moves to block the defensive end. I can see a scenario where the linebacker is there and the defensive end is blocked by the tackle, too. But if we think our standard halfback can’t make that block, we will replace that person with a tight end or another lineman. If we want to keep the defense honest, we have a play action pass where the halfback fakes a block, then goes to the flat.

In all, the play is a bang-bang fast action affair. We’re exploiting the fact that the Colts linebackers are so far off the ball they’ve giving us space to run into. We’ll take it. Note we do not block the middle backer – we bet the distance off the ball will work in our favor. We believe our back will hit the hole and run away from the backer. Our back is closer to the line of scrimmage than their linebacker. Plus, he’s closer to the point of attack.

Formations win. Physics matters. Time and motion rule football.

Stay tuned.

GO To Oakland News Now Blog HOME

Oakland News Now Blog Poll

[poll id="2"]

• Register to join the discussion. Send an email request to [email protected]

• Have A Video Comment To Share? Make It Up To 1 Minute, Then Send It To Zennie62Media At [email protected]

Your video, if suitable, will be uploaded to Zennie62 YouTube for Broadcast over our channel. We will share 50 percent of the monthly adrevenue from it with you, if any is generated.

Click To Return To Oakland News Now Home Main News Stream Section

Oakland News Now Blog - Recent Posts