FanPost

Indianapolis Colts 2013 Offseason-A Comprehensive Review of the Defensive Additions

A few points:

  • I do not have the time, nor the expertise to watch tape from the 2012 and 2013 seasons therefore I have used statistics, grades from Pro Football Focus (subscription required) and my own observations to analyse the offseason moves.

  • I have taken the Free Agent signing's salary cap hits into account too when reviewing their impact.

  • Obviously the draft picks and some of the Free Agent signings were intended to be long term investments however I have only considered the effect of their contracts this year. I also fully understand some of these players may or may not improve so do not consider this a definitive review of their careers with the Colts.

Greg Toler (2013 Cap Figure-$4,333,333)


Toler was originally signed to hopefully solidify the number two corner spot opposite Vontae. The need for a new Cornerback was created when the team let Jerraud Powers leave after a short stint with the Colts, where he was plagued with injuries. Powers has since gone on to have a successful first season with the Arizona Cardinals (ironically replacing the very man that had replaced himself with the Colts).



2012:Jerraud Powers

2013:Greg Toler

PFF Overall Grade

-4.4

-3.3

Targets

60

39

Receptions

39

21

Completion percentage

65%

53.8%

Receiving Yards

482

264

Touchdowns

4

3

Interceptions

1

1

Pass Deflections

8

9

Quarterback Rating

105

90.1

Coverage snaps per Reception

6.8

12.5


I think it is fair to say that the Toler signing has been somewhat underwhelming thus far. He arrived with injury concerns and those concerns turned out to be justified as he missed 7 games. Obviously it is impossible to predict injuries but when a player is signed to a substantial contract, after not completing a whole season in his whole career, then the GM should definitely receive criticism if they cannot stay healthy. (Considering that "Greg Toler injury" is the second suggestion if you type his name into google, this should tell you all that you need to know about his career). While he has been on the field, the statistics suggest that he has been an improvement over Powers, despite his play often being very inconsistent.

LaRon Landry (2013 Cap Figure-$5,750,000)

With injury concerns and a reputation for big hits, Landry was one of the biggest and most controversial signings for the Colts this past offseason. He replaced Tom Zbikowski (who is no longer in the league and is now working for the Chicago fire service).


2012:Tom Zbikowski

2013:LaRon Landry

PFF Overall Grade

-2.0

-2.2

Snaps

693

799

Forced Fumbles

0

0

Interceptions

1

0

Sacks

1

0

Missed Tackles

6

16

Tackles

31

70

Defensive Stops

11

27

Run Stop Percentage

1.9%

4.2%


Pagano described Landry as a "game-wrecker" when he signed and quite frankly, he has been anything but. He frequently took poor angles to the ball carrier and forced zero turnovers throughout the season. Combine that with missing 4 games due to injury and it is clear that so far, this has not been a good move by Grigson. As I said previously, regarding Greg Toler, LaRon Landry’s injury issues were well documented prior to this signing and he once again failed to play the whole season. Grigson deserves every criticism he gets regarding Landry’s health. While he did play better than Zbikowski, Landry was considered to be a franchise player (and paid like one) whereas Zbikowski was considered nothing more than a stop gap.


Landry was paid handsomely and so far has failed to deliver. Both the fans and coaches alike will be looking for him to take some big steps forward in 2014.



Ricky Jean Francois (2013 Cap Figure-$4,625,000)


With no consistent starter opposite Redding in 2012, Defensive End was seen as a huge need in 2012. Ricky Jean Francois had been a career backup in San Francisco before signing a contract with the Colts. Seen predominantly as a run stuffing Defensive End, he was not expected to offer much as a pass rusher. Looking at his contract however, many, including myself, would argue that he should be offering more than just run stuffing abilities.



2012:Ricardo Mathews

2013:Ricky Jean Francois

PFF Overall Grade

-4.1

+6.5

Snaps

489

405

Sacks

0

3

QB Hits

1

2

QB Hurries

8

8

Tackles

11

14

Defensive Stops

8

15

Run Stop Percentage

3.5%

7.3%


Jean-Francois only managed to play in 10 regular season games this year but he still made his presence felt when he got onto the field. He offered more in terms of pass rush than I was expecting and is definitely an upgrade over our 2012 starters. While his production has not lived up to the significant contract that he signed, it will be interesting to see how he performs going forward.



Aubrayo Franklin (2013 Cap Figure-$1,105,000)


In 2012, the Nose Tackle was a bit of a mismatch position for the Colts. A mixture of Antonio Johnson, Martin Teveaseu etc was clearly not a reliable group to carry forward into the 2013 season. No 2012 NT made the Colts roster which tells you a lot about how the front office felt about the position. Getting Josh Chapman back from injury was encouraging, however the front office (rightly) decided to add a veteran at the position while Chapman develops.



2012:Antonio Johnson

2013:Aubrayo Franklin

PFF Overall Grade

-10.4

-1.1

Snaps

456

340

Sacks

0

0

QB Hits

3

0

QB Hurries

3

4

Tackles

17

22

Defensive Stops

12

16

Run Stop Percentage

5.4%

7.4%


While NT is not the most glamorous of positions, I feel that Aubrayo Franklin has performed admirably. Definitely an upgrade over what we had last year. His veteran presence will also surely have helped with Chapman's progression. A solid signing from Grigson for a very reasonable price.



Kelvin Sheppard (2013 Cap Figure-$644,243)


Jerry Hughes, a player who many fans considered to be a first round "bust" with a poor attitude, was traded for Kelvin Sheppard in the offseason.



2012: Moise Fokou

2013:Kelvin Sheppard

PFF Overall Grade

+0.9

-10.7

Snaps

390

358

Sacks

1

1

QB Hits

4

1

Qb Hurries

3

1

Tackles

28

38

Missed Tackles

5

5

Defensive Stops

18

24

Run Stop Percentage

10.5%

11.4%

Percentage of Snaps in Pass Coverage

62.3%

37.6%


The Sheppard for Hughes trade has been a flop. There is no other way around it. Many applauded the move initially, however it appears that the change of scenery was just what Hughes needed, notching himself 10 sacks in 2013. Meanwhile Kelvin Sheppard has been disappointing in general filling in at inside linebacker this year, although he did show signs of improvement towards the end of the season. For a team that has struggled for most of the year to find any kind of pass rush outside of Robert Mathis, this trade has certainly not turned out as planned.



Erik Walden (2013 Cap Figure-$3,073,529)


Walden was probably the most criticised signing of Grigson this offseason. Some fans were even looking into when the team could cut him and save money, before he had even played a snap for the Colts. We were reminded constantly that he had been brought in to "set the edge" opposite from Robert Mathis. With the departure of Freeney, Mathis would slide over to the rush linebacker spot and Walden would fill in at strong-side outside linebacker for the 2013 season.



2012:Robert Mathis

2013:Erik Walden

PFF Overall Grade

-2.8

-5.0

Total Snaps

642

859

Pass Rush Snaps

301

343

Sacks

7

3

QB Hits

5

10

QB Hurries

16

21

Defensive Stops

22

20

Run Stop Percentage

4.9%

2.8%

Tackles

19

28

Percentage of Pass Rushing Snaps

Generating Pressure

14.3%

9.9%


Walden seemed to improve as the season went on and his limited pass rushing production was still more than I expected from him. I still don’t feel that he lived up to his contract this season, however he has been a relatively solid performer while Werner is developing.



Bjoern Werner (2013 Cap Figure-$1,435,708)


Drafted in the first round of the 2013 draft, Werner was considered to be a project pick as he would be transitioning from 4-3 Defensive end to 3-4 Outside linebacker. With the outside linebackers already set with Walden and Mathis, Werner was only expected to see limited snaps, predominantly on passing downs.



2012:Jerry Hughes

2013:Bjoern Werner

PFF Overall Grade

-3.4

-6.7

Total Snaps

610

312

Pass Rush Snaps

246

162

Sacks

4

2.5

QB Hits

6

0

QB Hurries

17

12

Defensive Stops

22

12

Run Stop Percentage

5.1%

5.3%

Tackles

30

11

Percentage of Pass Rushing Snaps

Generating Pressure

10.9%

8.9%


An injury that forced Werner to miss 3 games will not have helped his transition into the league. He definitely showed some flashes in the last few weeks of the season and is a player to keep an eye on heading into the 2014 season.



Lawrence Sidbury (2013 Cap Figure-$620,000)


Brought in to be a situational pass rusher, Lawrence Sidbury did not see the field for a regular season game. It was an interesting signing considering he is quite an unknown player with a small contract, yet he was signed on the first day of free agency which suggests that somebody within the organisation is very high on him.


In his only appearance (the first preseason game against the Bills) he had 5 QB hurries on just 37 pass rush snaps with another 2 defensive stops. This generated a very respectable +1.2 grade from Pro Football Focus. Whilst it is often premature to assume too much from preseason performances (see Rayford, Ceasar) this game was still encouraging for Sidbury.



Daniel Adongo (2013 Cap Figure-$95,294)


A signing that really caught the attention of people across the league, it is fair to say that he was not expected to feature much this season. He did eventually make an appearance on special teams which I feel speaks volumes about his work ethic. He is an intriguing player to watch going forward.



Josh McNary (2013 Cap Figure-$119,117)


Like Adongo, I did not expect much from McNary this season. However, he was activated for the end of the season and performed well in the limited snaps he got (especially in pass coverage). An impressive career with Army (all time leader in sacks with 28) should definitely leave Colts fans excited for his future with the team.



Cam Johnson (2013 Cap Figure-$405,000)


Only playing a very limited number of snaps, Johnson has had very little impact. With the trade of Caesar Rayford, the Colts essentially traded one for the other. Neither has really done anything on their new team and is yet another reminder that strong preseason performances can often not mean much when the real games start.

Montori Hughes (2013 Cap Figure-$455,493)


The team traded a 2014 4th pick to acquire Montori Hughes but are yet to see a return on their investment. He did not see action until Week 9 and even then he was in a limited role. We will have to wait and see what the future holds for Montori Hughes and the Colts.



Adding a lot of new pieces to the defense was not surprising after using just 2 of their 10 available 2012 draft picks on defensive players (neither playing a single down for the Colts in 2012). Grigson added a few solid contributors but more often than not, he seemed to have paid too much for their services. With upwards of $30 million cap space heading into the 2014 offseason, hopefully he can find players that can create more of an impact for the same price.

I am currently finishing off my piece reviewing the 2013 Offseason offensive moves which should go up some time in the next week, so keep an eye out for that. Feel free to add comments in the section below or hit me up on Twitter: @Colts_Comments.



This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.

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