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Film Room: Colts Finding Intriguing Ways to Create Pressure

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NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve spoken about the Indianapolis Colts doing well in the secondary in allowing a completion percentage of 55.8 %, but that they’re allowing too many big plays recently. Well there’s a similar situation with the Colts’ pass rush.

The Colts are doing well at getting into the quarterback’s face batting balls down and forcing them to scramble, but aren’t getting home quite enough notching only six sacks thus far. The further the season goes on, the more the team needs to finish in order to get the opposing offense backed up.

Today I went through some of the clips that I found interesting in terms of how the Colts defense created pressure last week and which I’d like to see again this week in Seattle against a suspect Seahawks offensive line.

I really liked the design to this blitz. It’s simple, but effective because each Colts defender takes care of their assignments creating almost a domino effect with the three interior offensive linemen. Barkevious Mingo is able to get from the left side of John Simon to the right side of Jabaal Sheard and get a clean hit on Deshone Kizer as a result.

The only negative about it is that it takes more than 3 seconds to get that hit on the quarterback and may not happen too often. Either way, I’d like to see another variation of this twist action involving Mingo. He’s got a ton of athleticism and speed to be successful in the right situations.

This is a similar setup as the first clip, but with 4-man pressure and to the opposite side of the field. Simon already has proven that he can do this regularly from just about anywhere along the line. He’s so quick and wastes no steps or motion at all when he’s rushing the passer.

Like the first clip, Simon gets around all three interior linemen because the left guard’s assignment is to take Margus Hunt inside. The only difference I’d like to see is Sheard taking more of an outside lane to the quarterback which would have forced Kizer to step up into Simon’s pressure.

Here we get to see an example of the speed and heat-seeking ability of Jeremiah George. This time the Colts start with 7 defenders in the box, drop Jon Bostic and Simon into coverage and send everyone else with an overload on the left side of the offensive line.

George gets an open lane and a clean shot on Kizer while Hunt is able to take an outside route and is able to get his hands on the ball and tips it into the air. This could have been a sack, or even an interception and is an excellent call. It’s a quick impact blitz and had Kizer shown any indecision at all it would have been a sack for certain.

Here the Colts bring a 5-man blitz again but have Sheard, Simon and Mingo inside the tackles while Henry Anderson and Hunt are on the edges. These are the groupings that I was hoping to see this season once we had the knowledge of who was getting signed in free agency et cetera.

I could literally watch this a 100 times. Simon abuses the center with a smooth spin move to get an open path to the quarterback, and then Anderson just plows through him as he pivots to the interior using Sheard for a pick. This one will get used again in the near future, you can bet on that.

Here we see pure strength in motion. All four coming after Kizer are coming hard and working well against those across from them. There’s really nothing fancy or unique about this rush, but if you watch Al Woods, you see why he and Hunt are guys who are so very important as additions to the roster.

Woods is able to get off his feet and into the passing lane just as Kizer is about to throw, forcing him to hang on to the ball and escape the pocket as the rest of the Colts coming after him close in quickly.

I know we’ve been seeing a lot of tweets and PFF stats about Margus Hunt and his efficiency in getting after the passer, but I don’t think it’s any coincidence that he’s in several of these clips. Hunt has been such a nice surprise this season and appears to be stronger, faster and more effective with his hand usage than anyone ever expected.

Again, there’s nothing fancy about this pressure. Sheard and Hunt are coming in off the right side of the offensive line and are able to work very well off of each other in order to get into the backfield, quickly putting real pressure on Kizer to get the ball out of his hands.

Even a half-second sooner from either Sheard or Hunt and this is a sack that turned out to be a perfect pass somehow. I’m excited to see these two develop together as the season progresses.

Only three guys coming in Mingo, Sheard and Hunt, but Hunt muscles his way through a triple team of interior linemen and Sheard and Mingo both win off the edge. I really like the technique from Sheard here too. He gets to the point of attack with the tackle and drops his forearm onto the top of the tackle’s making it impossible for him to get his hands up and absorb Sheard’s rush.

As a result, he’s able to take a more shallow track to Kizer forcing him out of the pocket and just nearly missing a sack in the process. So close.

Hey, guess who? That’s right, Hunt and Simon. It’s a familiar look, but these guys are running it very well and both are so quick and powerful that the Browns’ linemen aren’t able to keep up.

If Hunt was able to keep his balance after the tackle pushes him inside, Kizer could have been roadkill very quickly. As it stands right now, it’s disappointing that Hunt is 30 years old, because he’s been fantastic and all you could hope for — from what we’ve seen so far — and he possibly could stick around for a few years.

Look, I like how much Sheard has improved in just a few weeks in getting to the quarterback and holding the edge, but can we call Simon the rush backer already? Simon is one of the best pass rushers in technique, speed and pure desire to win each and every snap that the Colts have had in a while.

The Colts are sending Bostic and Antonio Morrison — though I think one of them messed up by not covering the running back in the flat — and everyone is somewhat waiting to see if it’s a run. Simon, on the other hand, simply beats the tackle with ease and forces Kizer to throw going away and off of his back foot which normally is a good situation for the defense.

I loved looking at all of these pressures and different blitzing options that the Colts put together in Week 3. All in all, there weren’t too many throughout the rest of the game that rivaled the nine you’ve just watched. A lot of 4-man pressures that never really got going, some pressures and sacks that took more than 4 seconds to get to Kizer that always are too long when you’re looking for quality design and execution.

Regardless, I’d like to see some of these above in the weeks to come as I think they can get the team a few more sacks than they may get in their one-on-one situations with only a simple slant or just a bull rush design. Hopefully good things are to come from this defense. The chemistry, and subsequent efficiency up front appears to be improving by the week.