Colts WR Michael Pittman envisions smooth transition into Shane Steichen’s offense


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Newly hired Colts head coach Shane Steichen couldn’t have put it any simpler when explaining his offensive philosophy, saying Indianapolis will “throw to score points in this league and run to win.”

Sitting front and center at Steichen’s introductory press conference this week, third-year Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. was not only excited to hear his new coach’s mission statement but envisions a smooth transition into his offense.

“They basically ran the same plays because they come from the same strain as our offense,” Pittman said in an interview Friday, via the team’s website. “So really, I mean, it just helps us start fast because we really don’t have to learn a whole new playbook now. There might be a couple small things, but I think that we should be able to pick up and play fast and we will really see that transition during camp, which will help us start fast and hopefully we start the season fast and everything just takes off from there.”

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why Indianapolis is entrusting a 37-year-old rookie head coach to turn around the offense. Steichen forged a powerhouse as Eagles offensive coordinator, producing top-five rushing offenses in each of the past two seasons at the helm and playing a critical role in the development of quarterback Jalen Hurts. His two seasons on the job culminated with an appearance in Super Bowl LVII and evidently raised his profile as a young head coaching candidate.

Steichen takes over a Colts offense that’s just one year removed from producing the league’s 2021 rushing champion in running back Jonathan Taylor. Ankle injuries throughout 2022 not only hindered Taylor’s production but also had residual effects on a Colts offense that struggled to find an identity without its typical rushing attack.

Instability at quarterback made matters worse as the Colts trotted out three starting quarterbacks along a 4-12-1 season, which saw the midseason firings of OC Marcus Brady and head coach Frank Reich. The Colts finished 26th in the league in total offense (311.6 yards per game) and tied for 31st in scoring (17.0 points per game) in 2022.

Pittman still managed to produce a solid year despite the tumultuous season, leading the team in receptions (99), receiving yards (925) and receiving touchdowns (four). The 25-year-old aims to step up his presence as a veteran leader in Steichen’s first campaign.

“That’s something that I look forward to and something that I’m really trying to take seriously; leading those guys and showing them what’s what and (how) we’re going to do things this way and do it right,” Pittman said. “But I can’t take credit for what they’ve done. For what they do, they work hard. You saw Jelani (Woods) kind of take off, you saw Alec (Pierce) and those young guys are putting in their own work. I just kind of try and lead them straight but everything that they do is what they’ve done.”

With Steichen heading a fresh start in Indy, Taylor poised for healthy return and the Colts armed with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, there’s plenty of optimism heading into 2023. Pittman, meanwhile, is doing his due diligence to help prompt a quick turnaround.

Colts WR Michael Pittman envisions smooth transition into Shane Steichen’s offense

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