BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 11: Cory Redding #93 and Terrence Cody #62 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrate a defensive play against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Let's recap, shall we? The Colts have...
- Signed free agent defensive end Cory Redding
- Signed free agent OG-OC-OT Mike McGlynn
- Traded for OT Winston Justice
- Re-signed Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis
- For now, opted against trading or releasing Dwight Freeney
With the exception of re-signing Wayne, all these moves are focused on shoring up the offensive and defensive lines. Prior to this season, and prior to the team cutting Peyton Manning, what were the two major areas of concern we SCREAMED at the Polians to address?
Offensive and defensive line.
Now, to be fair, even though I consider the Polians dirt bags (and I'm starting to wonder if the Irsay family shares that opinion with me), they did address the two lines in the draft last year, taking Anthony Castonzo (OT), Ben Ijalana (OG-OT), and Drake Nevis (DT) in rounds one, two, and three respectively. With those three, and with the recent free agent additions, I am really liking how this "New Era" Colts roster is shaping up.
We also have the rumor mill churning out news that the Colts are interested in signing Evan Mathis as well. Let's say, for the sake of discussion, that Evan Mathis gets signed. The Colts o-line then becomes LT- Castonzo, LG- Mathis, OC- McGlynn, RG- Ijalana, RT- Justice. For my money, that's pretty damn good!
On defense, Robert Mathis recently tweeted something that deserves to get highlighted:
C.Redding is a DE in Pagano's defense & Freeney is a OLB in same scheme so its 2 totally diff positions & theyll be on the field @ same time— ROBERT MATHIS (@RobertMathis98) March 14, 2012
This all but confirms that the Colts are switching to a base 3-4 scheme on defense, with Mathis and Freeney playing at OLB. My assumption is that, when they do their "hybrid" scheme, Redding slides over to DT and Mathis and Freeney are back on the line with their hand on the ground.
The new scheme also likely means that Drake Nevis slides to DE in base packages. He's 6'1, 300 pounds. That's good for a Tampa-2 DT, but not a 3-4 one. Nose tackle is as critical a need position in this year's draft as quarterback is. Fili Moala also slides to DE as well, a position he played at USC.
Again, overall, I like these moves, and for the first time three years, I'm actually excited about the direction this team is taking. Maybe it's not the correct direction, but it was clear the old way had run its course. Watching this team grow and adapt to the new systems will be something we plan to follow closely this season.