According to Colts.com’s Andrew Walker, Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus described new All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner’s role as the ‘three-technique’ in his defense during ‘Colts Chat’ on Wednesday night (which was exclusively available to Colts’ season ticket holders):
“That’s the defensive tackle that lines up on the outside shade of the guard, in-between the guard and the tackle,” Eberflus said.
“Because of (Buckner’s) penetration in that B-gap, that sets up a lot of things,” Eberflus added. “It brings the center with him in pass protection, it sets up a lot of things in the defensive running game, where you penetrate in that B-gap, and it really puts the offense on their heels.”
Regarding his constructed defense, Colts general manager Chris Ballard stated earlier this offseason that “the three technique drives this thing”. Not only is Buckner one of the best in the business playing such a position, but he also has the ‘motor, intensity, and mean streak’ that the Colts really covet from their defensive lineman:
“And that’s what DeForest does,” Eberflus continued. “You know, DeForest is a disruptor of the offense, and that’s what he does, and that’s what he’s always done. If you look at his body of work, over the first four seasons of his career, the amount of time this guy has played and the way he’s played in terms of his intensity, in terms of his motor, in terms of his effectiveness … we’re certainly excited to have him as a premier player on our football team.”
Now, what exactly is Eberflus talking about regarding Buckner and the ‘B-gap’?
Well, here are a few examples of the star three-technique defensive tackle’s effectiveness penetrating and controlling it (i.e., the gap between the guard and tackle):
Buckner/Bosa at the bottom run a E-T stunt. Buckner sets it vertically before crashing B gap. Bosa flashes, waits for Buckner to crash, then wraps/runs the edge.— Fourth and Nine (@fourth_nine) September 8, 2019
Armstead goes bull/counter swim against the OG for the sack! #49ers pic.twitter.com/TJrqSUyTmJ
Buckner forces LDT to step toward his right with the B gap direction he was taking then swipes his hands away so he can loop around into the A gap. Reiter should have kept a better eye on Buckner, he almost gets back in time. But Buckner gets to Mahomes for the sack. pic.twitter.com/G7oV3K0x98— Daniel Harms (@D_Harms19) February 4, 2020
High quality sack from DeForest Buckner here. Love how quickly he plants his foot in the ground, squares up the RT, and gets inside his chest. Uses the forklift to disengage and drives his inside hip upfield/through the gap for a sack: pic.twitter.com/qQW6qWkyAZ— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) November 5, 2018
On this play, Bosa eats up both TEs. Furthermore, Day's slant into the weak side A gap again forces the OG onto Warner. Having easily handled the initial double, Buckner then exploits the single blocker & the favourable angle to make the stop pic.twitter.com/ExdBcwHYZs— Scott Geelan (@Scott_Geelan) October 23, 2019
With 19.5 combined sacks over the past two seasons, Buckner should be an interior force for the Colts as a pass rusher—and is a well-rounded defensive tackle against the run too.
Get used to seeing him dominate the B-gap early and often this upcoming season.