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Colts DC Matt Eberflus Gives His Thoughts on Newly Acquired Players and Their Roles Going Into 2020

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus met with team reporters Monday morning to discuss newly acquired players, as well as various roles for specific players going into 2020.

According to The Athletic Indiana’s Stephen Holder, (Eberflus) “Says he coached Xavier Rhodes in a Pro Bowl once and fell in a love with his size and ability to move given that size. Thinks they can get him back to Pro Bowl level.”

The Colts are hoping that Rhodes can return to his former Pro Bowl-self after a down year with the Vikings last season. Going from a more man-based defensive scheme in Minnesota, to Indy’s Tampa 2, zone-based scheme, will surely benefit Rhodes’ playing style moving forward.

Eberflus also had high praise for rookie safety Julian Blackmon.

“Julian is a guy like a lot of guys we have on our team,” he said. “He can play different positions in our secondary. The first thing that pops off the tape is his ability to take the football away. No. 2 is his versatility.”

Blackmon is 6’0”, 187 lbs and had nine career interceptions while playing for the University of Utah. With the uncertainty surrounding Malik Hooker’s future in Indianapolis, the versatile safety could become the Colts’ starting free safety come 2021, should they not be able to come to terms with Hooker.

Speaking of Hooker, Eberflus said, “If you watch last year, I really saw a few steps in terms of his practice. He really started to bust his tail in practice. I feel like he was taking steps in that direction.” He also mentioned that Hooker played well “but what he has to do is just be more consistent.”

One thing’s for sure, Eberflus didn’t shy away when asked if he wanted to trade for All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

In fact, Eberflus only had one answer: “Yes and yes.”

Eberflus also noted that he appreciates Buckner’s ability to play high snap counts, adding that he had been in the “high 80s” in terms of defensive snap percentage.

Eberflus went on to mention that he’s leaving the door open for Denico Autry playing some defensive end in place of Jabaal Sheard.

Only time will tell whether this Colts defense is ready to take the next step, but it’s easy to see why Eberflus and others are excited about the future. The elite talent is there, now it’s up to Eberflus and this new and improve Indy defense to show up and show out on the field this season.