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INDIANAPOLIS – It received the bulk of the self-scouting focus during the bye week.

And that was for deserved reason.

The Colts have not wavered in their stance of being a run-minded football team—something Frank Reich was staunch with throughout the 2019 offseason and regular season.

A poor start to 2020 on the ground—the Colts rank 28th in rushing yards per game (98.0) and 32nd in rushing yards per carry (3.59)—has not shifted Reich’s belief in what the run game means to his offense, and football team.

“No question this is our identity,” Reich reiterated about the rushing attack earlier this week. “We are committed to the run. Now, we have not been committed to the run as much as we would’ve liked to. I still think a decent portion of that is situational.

“That’s who we want to be, we want to run the football.”

During the bye week, Reich and his staff spent a lot of time scouring film on the Colts’ zone-run game, which is what they use most often.

What were Reich’s takeaways?

“Actually, in a lot of ways we were encouraged as far as at the point of attack,” the head coach said. “Anytime you’re talking about a zone-blocking scheme it’s about combination blocks, it’s about footwork, technique and our combination blocks. As far as our execution and how the offensive line is performing at the combination blocks, we feel like it was pretty good.

“Some of it was situational. Some of it was heavy box – unaccounted force player, heavy crack replace and things along that nature. There are always different ways that we as an offense try to address those things. There are some things we definitely need to work on, but I felt like we were encouraged. We just need to keep calling it, we need to keep getting in the right situations to call it and just keep trusting our guys to do what we know they can do.”

What has to be particularly frustrating for the Colts is such a poor run game start comes with really good offensive line health. Anthony Castonzo missing one game (Week Five-Browns) is the only time the Colts have not had their full starting offensive line together in the first six weeks of the season.

In this 4-2 start, the Colts have also faced just one run defense that currently ranks in the top-15 of the NFL, too.

Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor, who has been much more productive than Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins as of late, still ranks 32nd individually in the NFL in yards per carry (4.1 YPC).

“It’s definitely starting to slow down,” Taylor says of the speed of the game. “One of the biggest things is when you think about the speed of the game, it’s really all on you. It’s how quickly are you going to be able to process the movement of the defense, your progressions, your reads and then you have to make a decision. I think just understanding some pre-snap things to kind of help quicken that process has definitely helped. The pre-snap is a big role in this league, knowing things or anticipating things in the pre-snap. But once the ball snaps, it’s make a decision, go through your reads, go through your progression and be right.”

For veteran tight end Jack Doyle, the recent deep dive into the run game didn’t offer some epiphany moment.

But that doesn’t mean he is glass half empty in seeing how this run game will produce moving forward.

“I think it’s close like the run game can be,” Doyle, the 8-year vet says. “You just have to keep running the ball sometimes, and that’s the answer honestly. It’s going to pop. You’re going to get those big ones, and then you look at the yards per carry and it’s huge.

“Sometimes in the NFL there are going to be short runs and things like that. You’re just trying to not have too many of the negative ones and that’s what we can continue to get better at. But that’s running the ball in the NFL. I think that’s just what it is and teams know we want to establish the run but that doesn’t matter with the group we have up front. I think the run game gets better as the season goes on a lot of times. I think that will be the case here.”