New Colts general manager Chris Ballard will have his hands full trying to improve the defense and build a competent team around quarterback Andrew Luck.
Though there are a whole lot of needs on the defensive side of the ball, the one that sticks out the most is the pass rush, and that will likely be the biggest emphasis of them all for the Colts this offseason.
Players know it, too. Earlier today, cornerback Vontae Davis tweeted out a response to Ballard being hired as the team’s GM by imploring him to focus on the pass rush.
Let's get after the QB!! Pass rush is a cornerback's best friend #inchrisballardwetrust #ForTheShoe https://t.co/P2Pc0ZR2lG— Vontae Davis (@vontaedavis) February 8, 2017
Davis is absolutely right in saying that the pass rush is a corner’s best friend, as having an effective pass rush that can get after the quarterback really cuts down on the time the cornerback has to spend in coverage, therefore helping the corners immensely. In recent years, the Colts really haven’t had that, which has left Davis to fend for himself longer than he might like. Chuck Pagano has mentioned this fact before, and Chris Ballard did as well earlier this week. Ballard told 1070 the Fan’s JMV earlier this week that having a good pass rush up front “makes all the difference in the world and covers up a lot of your mistakes in the back end.”
The Colts’ pass rush will without a doubt look much different in 2017. Robert Mathis is retired, while Erik Walden and Trent Cole are set to become free agents. It would not be a surprise whatsoever to see the Colts turn to a combination of both free agency and the draft to address the area, because they certainly need a lot of help.
Adding pass rush help will also in turn help the entire defense, including Vontae Davis. So it’s understandable why he wants to put an emphasis on getting after the quarterback: it makes his job a bit easier.