The Miami Dolphins will host the Indianapolis Colts this weekend in the penultimate contest of the season. As the year is drawing to a close, the Dolphins continue to battle through an offense that cannot seem to find a rhythm, they are not the only team from this game that has had some criticism of their offense, with Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton calling out the Colts' offense for being too reliant on the short pass as of late.
"The throws have been there, but we just haven't been calling them," Hilton said on Tuesday, according to the Indianapolis Star. "It's more the play-calling."
The Colts fired offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton earlier this year, handing playing calling duties to Rob Chudzinski. That has not changed the offense's struggles, particularly the play calling, according to Hilton. "We're not really using us: Donte (Moncrief), me, Phillip (Dorsett). We're fast guys and we're not going down the field how we're supposed to. We're running stick routes, chain routes. I mean, you can do that, but at some point, you have to take your shots to get the defense (moving) back."
On Wednesday, Chudzinski met with the media and responded to Hilton's criticism, according to Stampede Blue, "That's a new one for me. I don't think anybody has ever said I've thrown too many short passes in a game. Look, we're navigating through some challenging situations right now and working to try to do our best to get what we need to be able to win and also do that and tie that into what our opponent does or doesn't do well. Attack from a game plan standpoint and tie that into Chuck's overall vision of the team and what we need to do from one week to another. I think everybody understands that. At the end of the day, we'll keep working from week-to-week and finding what it is that is going to succeed for us."
Chudzinski is aware of the struggles of the Indianapolis offense lately, a team that has scored 36 points combined in their last three games. In comparison, Miami has scored 53 points the last three weeks. "We're going to keep working through, and we're going to find a way," Chudzinski stated. "I know everybody's frustrated, and there are a lot of things that aren't ideal from my standpoint as well. We're going to find a way and get better. You see progress. You see good things happening and good play at times. We've got to be more consistent. Offensive football, I've been around it a long time. A lot of it is rhythm. A lot of it is getting in a groove. Sometimes that can happen in a snap. Hopefully that's what we'll be able to do this weekend."
While the Dolphins offense deals with criticism of not balancing the running game with a pass happy offense, the Colts' criticism seems to be that they "dink-and-dunk" too much in the passing game with Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback. "Well, I think it's important to have balance within your passing game, as well as from run to pass," Chudzinski replied when asked about the imbalance of short to deep passing. "So being able to do all those things are important. You look at, I think talking specifically, like last week's game. We had some opportunities, we had some things up and we weren't able to capitalize down the field for a number of reasons. We got a lot of things underneath. That's what Houston was giving us in that game to get. We were able to get some of those things. It is tough in this league to move the ball consistently without getting some chunks. We understand that. We recognize that. I wish it was as easy. I think everybody knows, it's not as easy just calling a different play. It's a lot more to that. It ties into a lot of different areas, not just one."
This weekend's game between Miami and Indianapolis, a game that looked like a potential marquee match-up before the season began, could be one of two struggling offenses that over-rely on the short pass. Which offense can shake out of their funk and open it up to score some points?