For fans and players alike, intrigue and some noticeable excitement has come to the surface for the Indianapolis Colts scheme change. Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus’ system will be reliant upon speed and disruption from the front seven and increased physicality from the secondary, and at least a few second-year Colts are looking forward to it.
We’ve talked about how Tarell Basham will better fit in a role in which he is coming off of the edge more, with fewer run-stopping responsibilities within the scheme and he appears to agree.
Basham’s transition from being primarily in a 2-point stance last season, into reverting back into his comfort zone with his hand in the dirt should be expected to display the performances Chris Ballard saw in him in his time at Ohio. Basham recorded 24.5 tackles for loss and 15 sacks in his final two seasons in college, and with the Colts recent lack of legitimate pass rush, getting him back to some familiarity will be a welcome sight for fans, the coaching staff and especially Basham.
Al Woods is also an interesting case when looking over the change in responsibilities from 3-man base to predominantly a 4-man front. Woods was the Colts starting nose tackle last season and was asked to take on multiple blockers in order to allow the linebackers to flow.
This year his fit has been in question amongst fans, but Woods doesn’t agree and is relishing in the opportunity to be more of a disruptor going forward.
Woods is one of the heavier defensive tackles on the Colts’ roster — only slightly lighter than Grover Stewart per their roster listings — but likes his new expectations and role up front from a year ago. And though he’ll still largely be stationed close to the middle of Colts’ front, there’s still some differences to what his game will require.
The road ahead is equally bright in the eyes of Colts’ cornerback Quincy Wilson, who played sparingly in his rookie campaign, but was more than solid when given some quality game time. Wilson feels the change benefits him as well, and with a realistic view of his 2017 season, looks to expound on his growth in 2018.
Additionally, Wilson is excited to receive what he feels is the trust of the coaching staff and front office to be ‘the guy’ as well as the faith in the rest of the cornerbacks as the Colts did not draft a defensive back in the 2018 NFL Draft.
All in all, overhauling the defensive gameplan as well as adding more pieces to fit what the Colts hope to build is a welcome change from the 3-4 base defense of the Chuck Pagano era. The run defense was consistently among the league’s worst, and the coverage took a major hit the last couple seasons with an absence of a true collective pass rush.
Though there are certainly holes within a 4-man front against the run, as well as in the secondary — with more of a Tampa-2 look in coverage — most fans are pleased with the change. A shift in mindset will hopefully result in a more aggressive defense and reinvigorate some excitement while the roster battles the throes change.