There isn’t much about the Indianapolis Colts defensive end position that we’ve been able to get excited about through the preseason to this point. Of course we like what we think we’ll get out of rookie Kemoko Turay, Jabaal Sheard is going to be solid but doesn’t jump off the screen.
John Simon might not be healthy now, which is a real bummer, and let’s just face it, Tarell Basham has largely been a disappointment. Not to mention, for all of the things he CAN do, Margus Hunt doesn’t scare anyone coming off the edge.
This group has to produce something throughout the season if they are going to have any shot at making life easier for the secondary, And right now, we’re just not seeing it.
The one bright spot has been Ryan Delaire who was just signed a couple weeks ago. That’s right, a guy who wasn’t on an NFL roster last year has been head-and-shoulders better than a 2017 third-round pick, a couple veterans and seemingly brings the only excitement to the position right now.
He should be a lock to make this roster right now. ‘Should’ meaning that he deserves to, not so much that he should be expected to. This is what pains me with decisions like this.
Saturday against the San Francisco 49ers, Delaire notched 2 sacks and recovered a fumble deep in 49er territory which ultimately gave the Colts the opportunity to win the game. I know that exhibition games don’t matter much, but when you put scheme and design aside, there is a lot to glean from effort and simple technique.
Delaire has shown the explosion at the snap of the ball, quick initial hand placement allowing him to win with leverage, and he has enough power to keep the tackles he’s faced off balance as well. He’s flashing right now, when very few others are.
One of the biggest knocks I’ve had against Basham, for instance, has been that he relies solely on his bullrush, and has no secondary, or counter pass rush moves in his arsenal. Delaire, on the other hand, showed all of that and more in his first week of training camp practices and it has translated to the field as well.
I don’t know if we’re ultimately talking about Delaire .V. Basham when the 53-man roster boils itself down or not. But, quite honestly, it doesn’t matter either. Hunt hasn’t done anything impactful, Anthony Johnson has done fairly well which is why he’s getting snaps ahead of Basham as well, Simon’s status is up in the air with a neck injury now and so on.
Nobody on this roster, at the position, is showing what Delaire is — period. He deserves to make this roster. Colts’ fans deserve to see him make this roster in hopes of seeing him provide some of what he has through the preseason under the big lights of the regular season.
It’s a good thing that the interior guys like Hassan Ridgeway, Denico Autry and Grover Stewart have shown some ability to get some pressure from the interior, because this defensive end position has been disappointingly mundane up to this point. Here’s to hoping Turay can get back into the swing of things, and Sheard can show us why he’s a starter once the season kicks off.