INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts will walk into MetLife Stadium early Sunday evening hoping it’s not their last time they will head there to play a football game this season.
Come Feb. 2, 2014, all eyes will be on MetLife Stadium as it serves host for Super Bowl XLVIII.
For now it’s the site of Week Two of the preseason and the Indianapolis Colts matching up against the New York Giants.
The goal to get back to this site come February is still months away and to get there, Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky is imploring his defenders for game-changers.
“The biggest thing that I always tell them, ‘In this league there’s difference-makers, guys that will come into the league and be difference-makers. Are you one of those guys? Are you a solid football player, a good football player?’
“Usually they’re the guys that are the fastest, the quickest and have knowledge of football and what plays are going to be coming to them. That’s what we’re looking for."
Manusky is now in his second season implementing the 3-4 defense and is starting to see the players fit into the scheme.
Up front, Manusky feels the defensive line is playing “squarer” and singled out defensive end
“To get those guys across the board to play that way was a little bit harder last year because they were just shooting the gaps a decent amount of times,” Manusky said on Wednesday.
“For us right now, you can see improvement from Drake each and every day that he’s out there getting improved like he did last year. It was unfortunate last year that he got hurt, but he’s picking up kind of where he left off right now, which is good.”
Sunday night will provide a deeper look into Manusky’s starting unit as he is expecting his first team defense to play around 15 plays.
Playing time will vary based off injuries and veteran defenders but Manusky is particularly looking for an area of fitness that needs to be achieved prior to Sept. 8.
“I say the one thing that you have to do when you’re in the preseason is blow out your lungs,” Manusky said. “A lot of things, you don’t want to get into that Oakland game in the beginning of the year and be sucking eggs. So I still want to see them somehow blow out their lungs before that first game.”
Manusky expects to get some members of the secondary back this weekend.
Injuries at the safety position allowed for safety
As the weeks go by in the preseason, the Colts defensive staff will see the unit’s game plan grow from the opener.
“From our standpoint, we had a lot of younger guys that were in there and we want to see what they can do,” Manusky said of the Bills game.
“Can they cover man-to-man? Can they adapt to the coverages that we have? And can they make the adjustments and mentally get through it? Some guys did better than others. But from the standpoint of seeing players play, we just want to see what they can do just with our base calls and see what they can do.”