Landry should upgrade Colts run defense

March, 14, 2013
3/14/13
8:34
AM ET
When the Colts traded a second-round pick to Miami for cornerback Vontae Davis, part of their reasoning was Chuck Pagano’s experience coaching defensive backs would bring out the best in Davis.

I factor that same thinking into their signing of Jets free-agent safety LaRon Landry. Adam Schefter confirmed a CBS Sports report that it's a four-year, $24 million deal.

He’s a good player but he played only about half a season in 2010 and 2011 in Washington because of problems with his left Achilles tendon.

But he played every game in his one season with the Jets, notching two interceptions, eight passes defensed and four forced fumbles.

Landry will start opposite Antoine Bethea, taking the place of Tom Zbikowski. Zbikowski was signed last year as a free agent. He had played under Pagano in Baltimore, but is a limited player who is better cast as a third safety and special-teamer.

Scouts Inc. gives Landry its highest rating in run support, and he should be a boon for a run defense that ranked 29th in the league last season and gave up an average of 5.1 yards a carry.

While the contract given to linebacker Erik Walden qualifies as controversial, the Colts see him as a guy who can set the edge on one side of the field against the run. With Landry being a big component in the run defense as well, they have to feel better about their ability to slow down running backs.

Says Scouts Inc: "Landry had arguably the best season of his career in 2012, his first year in New York. He is a tough, hard-nosed run-stopper who is best filling an alley in the running game. He shows good range defending both the run and pass but doesn't have great pure speed in coverage. Landry was able to bounce back from injuries the previous two seasons to bring experience and attitude to the Jets."

I’d rank him the biggest addition of the Colts' six signings in free agency.

Here's Ryan Grigson from the news release announcing the addition of Landry: "We're ecstatic about this signing. We feel LaRon is an absolute game-changer and a true impact player. We're talking about a 220-pound safety that runs 4.3 and plays to that speed. His approach to the game and his style of play are lights out and embody the culture we're building on the defense and this team in general."

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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