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Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Caldwell: Colts may keep shuffling DBs

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Packages are generally good.

Get your players on the field for their best situations.

Still it’s one thing to sub a pass-rushing defensive end for a run-stopper.

It’s something different to be rolling through cornerbacks. Sure the job changes a bit in different situations. But a corner needs to be able to run with a receiver, track throws, play the ball and tackle no matter the down, the distance or the score.

In addition to their most solid and established corner, Jerraud Powers, the Colts played Jacob Lacey, Terrence Johnson and Chris Rucker on defense. It also appeared David Caldwell was the second safety in the base defense, with Joe Lefeged replacing him when the team brought in an additional defensive back.

Jim Caldwell said in a Tuesday conference call that injuries didn’t play a roll, and that the involvement was predetermined.

“That was by design going in, different packages with different guys playing different spots,” he said. “There were just some adjustments there.”

Does Caldwell envision it working that way going forward or would he prefer to have guys claiming and locked into roles?

“Sometimes it just depends on who you’re playing,” he said. “Sometimes you’ll make adjustments like that if you have a guy that maybe you like the matchups, you obviously want to solidify the matchups where you can. If you can do it that way and still be able to stop people, I think that’s a healthy way to do it because you keep some guys fresh.

“We’ve done it several different ways, we’ve had solid packages and those that adjust according to who they put in the ball game. We’ll look at each game differently in that regard. We have some young guys that are playing we think will continue to get better. I think we’ll do what we think is what’s best for our defense against that particular team.”

Freshness as a rationale concerns me. All around the league there are every-down cornerbacks whose coaches don’t have to worry about keeping them fresh. They are not banging like defensive linemen who need to rotate.

But if you’re trying to cover up for a weak or inexperienced guy and need to shuffle, so be it.

The coverage and tackling were not good in Tampa Bay, Caldwell agreed.

“We didn’t play as well as we’re capable in terms of coverage responsibilities and they got a couple big ones on us that we don’t think, obviously, should happen,” he said “We weren’t as good this week in terms of tackling and getting guys down as we were the week before. We missed a few more tackles than we’d like. But you also have to attribute it to a big strong back that was rolling along pretty good once we got into the second half. We’ve just got to do a better job.”