Saturday: Run game mindset will be better

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts are heading to Franklin College for a minicamp practice this afternoon, and my intention is to bring you a report from that out of what I see from my press box perch there.

Several players and coach Jim Caldwell talked with us at the team's facility a bit ago, and the most striking thing to me was Jeff Saturday's assessment of the Colts' running game.

The offensive line, veteran Joseph Addai and the team's first-round pick, Donald Brown, will draw a spotlight as the Colts prepare for the 2009 season as a lot of last season's problems were related to struggles running the ball.

If Indy could have converted a late third-and-2 near the end of the playoff game in San Diego, the Colts would have advanced. That play has stuck with this team. How could it not?

Here's Saturday on the state of the run game and the temptation to want to let Peyton Manning throw it all the time:

"I think being more efficient in the run game is probably going to be the first goal that we'll talk about. I don't know what our average was [3.4 yards per carry] but I know we were probably the worst in the league and that's embarrassing. We don't want to stay there, we're looking to improve and obvious the guys we have are ready ... It's going to be better. I think guys' attitudes, guys' understanding of the offense is going to be better and it'll help us be a better running football team. ...

"The bottom line is it's a mindset: You've got to get out there and understand that running the football is an important part of our offense. I think you can fall in love with watching [No.] 18 throw it around and think you can go win the world that way, but the bottom line is we've got to run the football if we're going to win."

I'll hit on this more in the future, hopefully with looks at the comeback of Ryan Lilja and the state of mind of Tony Ugoh.