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Burning Questions along the Defensive Line prior to Training Camp

Posted Jul 23, 2013

Intro: Over the next two weeks, Colts.com will run a series profiling the burning questions at each position group heading into training camp. Today’s installment comes along the defensive line.

INDIANAPOLIS – Perhaps no position group has undergone as much change as the Colts defensive line since last season.

With some healthy returning bodies and a trio of offseason additions, the defensive line will be cutting some productive players come late August.

What are the burning questions along the defensive front heading into training camp…


DOES A HEALTHY JOSH CHAPMAN IMPROVE THE COLTS RUSH DEFENSE?:
For a guy that didn’t take a snap in 2012, it’s pretty remarkable the attention Chapman receives from fans.

Yes, the pads have not been put on yet but it appears that the attention is well deserved for the 340-pound nose tackle.

Chapman was running with the first unit during OTAs and head coach Chuck Pagano has raved about the presence the Alabama product carries in the middle of the three-man defensive front.

If an improved rush defense is in store this season than Chapman is a gargantuan piece of achieving that goal.


BESIDES CORY REDDING, WHAT OTHER RETURNEES WILL BE IN THE REGULAR ROTATION?:
Redding’s physical and vocal presence was vital in 2012 as the Colts battled injuries along the defensive line.


Returnees up front includes Lawrence Guy and Ricardo Mathews, both who saw significant playing time near the end of the 2012 season.

Fili Moala and Drake Nevis were key contributors early on in 2012 before season ending injuries cut their years short.

The depth up front will make roster cuts very difficult come late August but that’s a great problem to have for line coach Gary Emanuel.


WHAT DOES RICKY JEAN FRANCOIS BRING OVER FROM THE 49ERS?:
The name might not be among the most talked about when it comes to the other free agents, but Ricky Jean Francois looks to be on the verge for a breakout season in 2013.

Jean Francois was a key cog in the San Francisco 49ers run to the Super Bowl last season and now is being reunited with his first NFL defensive coordinator in Greg Manusky.

Similar to Redding, Jean Francois gives the Colts a chance to line guys up at a variety of spots on rushing and passing downs.


IS THE DEFENSIVE LINE ONE OF THE DEEPEST POSITION GROUPS ON THE TEAM?:
Health.

That’s the great equalizer when talking about depth.

However, when looking at the Colts defensive line there is a ton of possibilities for a unit that just couldn’t seem to stay healthy in 2012.


On the outside, there’s Redding, Jean Francois, Guy, Mathews, Moala and Nevis.

Chapman and veteran free agent Aubrayo Franklin (a veteran of the 3-4 defense) seem to be the front runners in the inside, with Brandon McKinney and Martin Tevaseu also in the mix.

Throw in rookie Montori Hughes, who has already caught the eye of Chuck Pagano, and the defensive line is quite possibly the deepest position on the entire Colts roster.


In case you missed the earlier offensive burning questions entries, click here for a recap on the quarterback position, here for the running back position, here for the wide receiver position, here for the tight and position and the offensive line.

The defensive burning question breakdowns for the linebackers is here.

 

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