Colts: One big question

May, 4, 2012
5/04/12
12:00
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Who’s playing pass defense for the Indianapolis Colts?

New coach Chuck Pagano will convert the Colts, a longtime 4-3 team, to a 3-4. He’s cited the Texans’ changeover a year ago as an example of how it can happen in one year and how the front actually gets scrambled up and can often still have the look of a 4-3.

In Year 1 for Pagano in Indianapolis, however, it’s the personnel that may dictate more of the old base front. The Colts signed a veteran nose tackle (Brandon McKinney) and a veteran end (Cory Redding), and drafted a nose tackle in fifth-rounder Josh Chapman. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will be less predictable coming forward from outside linebacker positions.

The problem is in the secondary.

Indianapolis was 15th against the pass last year. But that ranking is misleading because offenses could run against the Colts and often handed off while trying to run time off the clock and preserve leads.

Antoine Bethea is a quality free safety and Jerraud Powers is a good corner. Beyond them, the Colts are thin and unproven in the defensive backfield.

They didn’t draft any defensive backs, though their initial undrafted rookie group of 15 includes five of them.

No matter how well the Colts rush out of the new front, the team needs people behind it who can cover, which is not the strong suit of the veteran addition to the group, strong safety Tom Zbikowski.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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