Looks are deceiving folks.
Right now, at this moment, the Chicago Bears have the best defense in football. They had the best defense last year (12 points allowed), with the Colts coming up 2nd in points allowed (15 a game). The Bears also happen to run a Cover 2 defense, just like the Colts. Bears coach Lovie Smith is a Dungy protege. Dungy helped Lovie get the defensive coordinator job in St. Louis, which later propelled him to Chicago.
The Bears also happen to have the best DT in football: Tommie Harris. Harris is now what Warren Sapp was 5 years ago. It is week 6, and Harris has 5 sacks from the DT position. That's insane. Harris is also a relatively small DT compared to others. He is not a "space eater," like the fat bastards in New England named Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren. The Dungy "Tampa 2" defense requires the DT to attack one gap between two offensive linemen. Most defenses, like New England's, ask the DT to engage and push the o-lineman back into the backfield, allowing their linebackers to make plays. DTs for this kind of defense need serious girth, and most run at about 325 pounds. The Tampa 2 requires its DTs to attack one gap and get into the backfield.
That's why they call this defense a "one gap" defense.
Guys like Tommie Harris play at about 288 pounds. Harris is listed at 300, but right now he's playing at about 288. This loss of weight allows Harris to use his speed to cause havoc. Montae Reagor plays at around 288, as does DT Darrell Reid (6'2'', 288 pounds). Now, there's a significant difference between what many Colts fans are demanding and what I'm asking Polian to address. I do NOT want the Colts to sign some 325 pound space eater.
Photo: Getty Images
The reason I want the Colts to get another DT has more to do with depth than finding a replacement for Simon. We cannot replace him this year. His loss is a major blow, maybe even a crippling one. Teams cannot afford to lose players like Simon and expect to compete for a championship. That said, the Colts cannot compete PERIOD if they only have two DTs (Reagor and Reid) playing at 288 pounds while the other two (Brock and Dan Klecko) are weighing in at 275. That's not going to get it done, especially when you consider that DT rotation is important in order to keep guys fresh throughout the year.
I hope this explains for you the difference between size and speed. The Colts need another DT that's anywhere from 285-295 pounds. We need him for depth, not to make a significant difference. This is why I'm hoping the Colts can swing a trade for Sapp. He would thrive in such a limited role, rotating him and Raheem Brock at DT. Right now, to make up for Simon's loss, the Colts need to get Bob Sanders back 100% and have guys like Reagor, Brock, Freeney, and Mathis step it up a notch.
And Polian needs to find more depth at DT.