With the Indianapolis Colts’ 2010 organized team activities at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center now over — and with training camp fast approaching —Indy Football Report Editor John Oehser this week will take a look at what to like and what to worry about with the Colts as the 2010 NFL regular season approaches . . .
Five reasons to like where the Colts are defensively . . .
With Indianapolis Colts 2010 organized team activities now officially behind us, we continue to look to the future, and now look to five reasons to like where the Colts are defensively.
Even beyond the obvious — the presence of Pro Bowl DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis — there’s a lot to like, particularly considering there’s a very real chance the area could be improved from last season.
We’ll start with the first-round draft selection, because . . . well, because he’s the first-round draft selection.
1. The addition of Jerry Hughes. Sure, it’s risky to call a rookie something to like about a scheme until the pads go on, but early indication are how the Colts will utilize Hughes could be fascinating to watch next season. The Colts selected Hughes in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and did so because they had been seeking a third pass rusher to complement Freeney and Mathis for much of the past seven years. Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said during organized team activities that while the Colts very much want Hughes to be able to relieve Freeney and Mathis, they are also experimenting with ways to get Hughes on the field at the same time as the Pro Bowl ends. Pass rushing ends often have an adjustment period from college to the professional level, but when asked about being patient with Hughes, Caldwell said the team will expect a high level of play from Hughes, the idea being you expect the most from a player based on his own merit, not history. The addition of Hughes, whatever his role, is potentially a big one. The Colts for years have struggled to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks when Freeney or Mathis have been out or limited, and if Hughes’ presence can prevent such a drop-off, his addition will be huge.
2. A year of experience under Larry Coyer. Remember? Last off-season? That was when the major theme around the Colts was how the team would adjust to new defensive coordinator Larry Coyer – that, and just how much the Colts would blitz in Coyer’s regime. The Colts adjusted well and the answer to the second question was they blitzed substantially more. Now, with a year working with the Colts’ personnel, what new wrinkles will Coyer introduce to the scheme? That will be one of the intriguing things to watch in camp, but with the addition of Hughes and the return to health of S Bob Sanders, Coyer has two more weapons to utilize in reaching the quarterback and limiting the opponents’ running game than he had a year ago.
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