The Indianapolis Colts have been one of the league's most surprising teams in the young season. Considered to have been a quarterback away from conference title contention, the Colts sit at 0-1-1 with a league-low 20 points scored heading into Sunday's Week 3 game with the Kansas City Chiefs.
A league source noted this week there's frustration in the building with a lack of speed on offense, particularly at receiver. In an NFL where spacing that stresses on the defense has never been more popular, the Colts are big on size but lack in speed.
According to league-issued data, the Colts have the tallest roster in the NFL with an average height of 6 feet, 2.88 inches. The league average is 6 feet, 2.28 inches, with the rest of the AFC South at or below the league average.
It's the tallest opening-day roster in the NFL in 10 years, according to league data. The 2012 Oakland Raiders had a league-leading average height of 6 feet, 2.88 inches that season.
General manager Chris Ballard's vision has been clear since taking over in 2017. He places a premium on players who test well in workouts, and he wants tall pass-catchers. A big, big measurables guy, if you will.
The Colts' opening day roster had just five players under 6 feet, fewest in the AFC and second-fewest in the league behind Dallas. In fact, the Colts have had the fewest players under 6 feet tall in the AFC every year since 2018, Ballard's second on the job.
Outside of 5-foot-10 T.Y. Hilton, whom Ballard inherited, the Colts have had just one receiver listed at under 6 feet tall record a regular-season catch in the last three seasons. De'Michael Harris (5-8) caught 10 passes for 79 yards in 2020.
Six-foot Parris Campbell is the only receiver on the team who ran a sub-4.4 second 40-yard dash, but he has struggled to stay on the field four years into his career. Campbell has appeared in just 17 games since the Colts drafted him in the second round in 2019. Last week against the Jaguars, Michael Pittman (6-4, 4.52 40) and Alec Pierce (6-3, 4.41 40) were inactive due to injuries.
The Colts rank 10th among all teams in formation width, meaning only nine other teams have a wider offensive grouping on average than the Colts at 26.6 yards (the league average is 24.9), according to Next Gen Stats. Head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Marcus Brady appear to be trying to space the field even more than they did last season.
A team that last year had seven Pro Bowlers but failed to make the playoffs after an end-of-year collapse added former NFL MVP Matt Ryan and was considered the favorite to win the AFC South. Two weeks into the season, the Jaguars are the only team in the division with a victory.