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Monday, September 14, 2009
Brackett on blitzing

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky


INDIANAPOLIS -- Gary Brackett’s a great quote. When surrounded by reporters and camera, you might even call him a bit of a showman.

Monday after he talked with one columnist before the crowd arrived in the Colts locker room, the linebacker fielded the same set of questions with a larger group.

How many times did you blitz against the Jaguars?

Brackett: Ten times, I believe, somewhere in that range.

How much more was that than last year?

Brackett: That’s about 10 more than we did in the past.



He paused for laughter and got compliments for the line succeeding a second time and for his consistently good delivery of it.

“I think last year that wasn’t really our philosophy as far as blitzing,” he said. “We did have some blitzes in last year, more probably run blitzes, a couple pass blitzes that we called but a limited number per game. This year definitely is a big increase over last year.”

Brackett said he got the call four times and while he got in Jacksonville quarterback's David Garrard’s face twice he didn’t land his first full sack since 2005.

“I’ve got to go up top on the quarterback, I forgot he’s got arms and can throw, kind of throw over me,” he said. “It’s the short thing again, coming up to bite me.”

No blitzers will put the status of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis as the team’s top sackers in jeopardy.

And bringing extra rushers doesn’t have to produce sacks so much as it needs to disrupt timing and force uncomfortable decisions.

“All that is good, all that really negates what they can do as far as throwing the ball [down] the field,” Brackett said. “And I think when you get into a situation where a team doesn’t know if you’re blitzing or not, some of their protections have to be called a little bit differently. Before, it was, 'They’re not coming, so we’ve got to worry about the two ends.’ Now you don’t know exactly who’s coming so you kind of have to account for everybody.”

Brackett was sent as a blitzer on the two final plays of the game that mattered, as Garrard threw incomplete under fire on third and fourth down when the Jaguars needed to drive to a field goal to win it. The middle linebacker said such a style qualifies as more the M.O. of new defensive coordinator Larry Coyer.

“At the end of the game, they really needed 30 yards in order to beat us and it happened here last year in that same situation when we were on the field, and we weren’t able to get the job done," Brackett said, recalling a game that ended with a 51-yard Josh Scobee field goal with four seconds left and a 23-21 Jacksonville win. "In that situation, third-down-and-long we went after him, fourth down, it’s kind of one of those things: we get off the field, we know we’ve got a victory.”

Look for linebackers, safeties, the nickel, and corners to all get their blitz chances, then for Coyer to return to the guys who show themselves most effective, Brackett said.