Running Back Pass Protection: Delone Carter

Yesterday, we started the game tracking series on pass protection by running backs, a skill that is often both underrated and overrated. We started with Joseph Addai, and today we’ll continue with Delone Carter, a rookie in 2011. Carter was used a lot in the early parts of the season, and seemed to wane out as the season grew longer. 

How did his pass protection fare? And how will it fare in 2012? 

 Snaps: 34

Reads: 19 good, 7 bad

Blocks: 14 solid, 6 poor, 4 missed

Pressure: 5 hurries, 4 hits, 1 sack

Carter, as a rookie, struggled early. He had the highest rate of total pressures (10 in 24 applicable scenarios, or 42%). He also had a solid block rate of just 58%, the lowest of the three backs. He had almost double the bad reads of the other two backs, but on less than half of the total snaps. 

However, Carter showed great strides throughout the year. All seven of his bad reads came in the first four games, as did all four of his missed blocks. Eight of his ten pressures came in the first four games, as Carter allowed just one hit and one hurry for the rest of the season. 

Of course, Carter’s time in the backfield would be significantly limited for the rest of the season. Only one game (Week 8 against the Titans) was left in which Carter would have five snaps in pass protection. The Colts would usually alter the running backs on possessions, having Addai out for a set of plays, and then Donald Brown in the next set. With their flexibility, they didn’t have to switch them out on third down. 

For Carter though, the team would bring him out on first and second, and then substitute Addai or Brown in for third down. This was fairly common. 

Best Performance: 

Week Five, against the Chiefs. 

Three snaps, two good reads and two solid blocks, No pressures

Worst Performance: 

In my opinion, Carter’s worst game came against the Bucs in Week Four, similarly to Addai. 

Carter allowed three pressures that night, one hit, one hurry, and a sack. He was held back for four snaps, made one bad read and three good ones. He missed two blocks and had one poor, getting just one solid block on the night. 

Overall, I think Carter has potential here. He really struggled out of the gate, but he was a rookie running back, and some troubles are expected. The way that Carter seemed to pick it up as the season moved a long was impressive, especially the way that he would only get in one or two snaps, and would generally be reliable towards the end of the season. If he can improve in this area, he’ll be a much more complete back and addition to this squad. 

Of course, he has a lot to improve in all facets of blocking, so we’ll see how that works out. 

Kyle J. Rodriguez

About Kyle J. Rodriguez

A film and numbers guru, Kyle writes about the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for Bleacher Report, Draft Mecca and The Football Educator, and is a co-founder and associate editor of Colts Authority. Kyle also is a high school sports reporter for the MLive Media Group in Michigan, covering high school sports across the state.