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Colts keeping Frank Gore on a 'pitch count'

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Frank Gore is 32-years-old and has 2,531 carries on his legs. In order to keep the 11-year pro fresh as the season progresses, the Indianapolis Colts have employed a snap strategy to limit Gore's plays.

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Colts coach Chuck Pagano clarified on Friday that the team's "pitch count" plan is a season-long goal, not a per-game figure, but would not divulge the ideal number of touches for Gore. Even when Gore is plowing through defenders and the Colts are enticed to ride him, they will stick to the plan.

"I think we have to stay close to (our target)," Pagano said Friday, via the Indy Star. "We can't rob Peter to pay Paul. We have other capable guys that can take snaps off of him."

The team recently brought Ahmad Bradshaw back into the fold, who could help take some of the workload -- especially on passing downs.

Gore has 89 carries for 403 yards and three touchdowns in six games this season.

The tailback is on pace for 237 carries -- not counting the multitude called back for holding penalties -- and is currently averaging 4.5 yards per rush. There have only been two players in NFL history at age 32-or-older to carry the ball at least 200 times while averaging 4.5 yards per rush: Ricky Williams in 2009 and John Henry Johnson with the Steelers in 1962.

"We said, 'This is the number that we'd like to hit for 16 regular-season games.' And we said, 'These are the yards and the average we want to hit,'" Pagano said. "So, we set goals and numbers in all three areas: number of carries, what we wanted per carry and total yards. We're on our way. We have a chance to have a 1,000-yard rusher. I know we can get that done."

Gore is averaging 14.83 carries and 1.83 catches per contest in 2015, or 16.7 touches per game. That average is just under the 17.7 touches per game Gore averaged in his final four seasons in San Francisco.

The Inconvenient Truth still has burst and can bowl over opponents when fresh. The Colts plan on making sure he stays that way as the season wears on, even when the allure to ride him harder becomes difficult to restrain. 

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