Thursday, May 17, 2012
Pressure point: Colts
By Paul Kuharsky
Examining who faces the most challenging season for the Colts and why.
The Colts are changing in a big way on defense -- they aim to be bigger, more physical and better against the run. Although they talk of being a hybrid, they want to be a base 3-4 front.
To me, the pressure point will be split between two guys: Coach Chuck Pagano, the architect of the scheme, who will have to answer for its progress. His coordinator, Greg Manusky, will help spread the message, install the system and draw up game plans. The coach and his coordinator share the pressure for a unit that is converting high-quality 4-3 ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis into outside linebackers.
The two are excellent rushers, and there is risk in asking them to stand up and change. But they’ll be charging quarterbacks from a variety of spots, and offenses probably prefer to know where exactly they’ll be lining up.
Pagano helped Indianapolis land three players he coached in Baltimore: nose tackle Brandon McKinney, end Cory Redding and safety Tom Zbikowski. The draft added only fifth-round nose tackle Josh Chapman and seventh-round end Tim Fugger.
How much of the personnel deficiencies, especially in the secondary, can Pagano and Manusky cover up with scheme?