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The Colts Two-Man Wrecking Crew

Auditing the Colts Team Needs: Interior DL

Indianapolis Colts v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Auditing the Colts' Team Needs

The Colts' stagnant offense halted what could have been a season-altering win as they fell to the visiting Eagles 17-16. Interim head coach Jeff Saturday lost his first game as a coach in the NFL, and former Colts cordinator and now head coach of the Eagles Nick Sirani seemed to have added motivation coming into the outing.

Which brings us to this week’s edition of “Auditing the Colts’ Team Needs”. To check out the previous installment, click HERE.

Each week, I will be ranking the team’s needs via positional groups. From 1, the largest need, down through the team’s most established and proven position groups. I will also highlight two that stood out from the past game and discuss where the positions stand, good or bad.

The present and future are being considered when making these rankings. Each week, the play of the position groups can result in a move up or down on the team needs list.

Team Needs:

  1. Quarterback (Last Week: 1)
  2. Edge Rusher (Last Week: 2)
  3. Center (Last Week: 4)
  4. Left Tackle (Last Week: 5)
  5. Right Guard (Last Week: 6)
  6. Punter/Kicker (Last Week: 3)
  7. Tight End (Last Week: 8)
  8. Right Tackle (Last Week: 7)
  9. Cornerback (Last Week: 9)
  10. Wide Receiver (Last Week: 10)
  11. Safety (Last Week: 11)
  12. Left Guard (Last Week: 13)
  13. Linebacker (Last Week: 12)
  14. Running Back (Last Week: 14)
  15. Interior Defensive Line (Last Week: 15)

Interior Defensive Line:

The interior two-man wrecking crew of Deforest Buckner and Grover Stewart is among the best in the NFL. Deforest Buckner is a 2-time pro bowler and has a 1st-Team All-Pro honor on his career resume. This season, Buckner has 5.5 sacks (2nd on the team) and 14 QB hits (1st on the team). Buckner's sack numbers are good enough for 8th in the league for DTs, and rank 6th among DTs for QB hits. After his slow start to the year, Buckner has been nothing short of dominant. For more perspective on his season, all of his 5.5 sacks have come between weeks 5-10, and all but 2 of his QB hits have come in the same span.

A name the average football fan may not know is Grover Stewart. However, Colts fans and people who cover the league have taken notice of how incredible the Colts DT has been in 2022.

Stewart has been one of the Colts' most consistent contributors this season and a massive part of the team’s run defense. Before the Eagles game this past week, Ryan McCrystal shared a chart showing the rate in which teams created negative run plays as well as giving up explosive plays.

The run defense overall for the Colts ranks 11th in the NFL allowing 113.5 yards per game on the season but are 2nd in the league in yards per attempt at only 3.8 yards. And that stat can all but be tracked back to the amount of stops in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage Grover Stewart has been in on this season. Stewart has been steadily improving throughout his career but 2022 has shown to be a full breakout year for the 29 year old DT. Will Stewart hear his name called for honors such as the Pro Bowl or All Pro lists? Only time will tell. One thing is for certain, his play has earned him a place in the conversation.