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Defensive Burning Questions after a quarter of the Regular Season

Posted Oct 3, 2013

Intro: With the Colts regular season now a month complete, here’s a look at some burning questions at the defensive position groups. Here’s a look at yesterday’s offensive burning questions.



INDIANAPOLIS – Now it’s onto the defensive side of the football for a group that is about to encounter one more dual-threat quarterback this weekend.

The unit has stopped the run over the last two weeks and forced turnovers, two areas that were of prime focus throughout the offseason.

Here’s a look at some burning questions at each defensive positional group…

Can the Colts defensive line continue to keep its stranglehold on opposing running backs?
Through the month of September, the Colts did a pretty solid job in limiting running backs such as Darren McFadden, Frank Gore and Maurice Jones-Drew.

The unit has stayed healthy outside of Ricky Jean Francois missing this past week’s game.

That depth has been vital in holding opponents to 171 fewer rushing yards than the Colts have gained in 2013.

Aubrayo Franklin and Josh Chapman have rotated in at the nose tackle position with the veteran Franklin earning about a handful more snaps each week.

Veteran Cory Redding has been particularly effective with 4 tackles for loss.



What does the loss of Bjoern Werner mean for the Colts pass rush?:
The questions about the Colts pass rush were extensive in the offseason and Robert Mathis has answered a bulk of those with an NFL leading 7.5 sacks after four games.

Werner is out for four-to-six weeks which means in nickel packages the Colts will likely have new outside linebacker Cam Johnson filling in opposite of Mathis on those downs.

Jerrell Freeman, the team’s 2012 leading tackler, has only elevated his game in 2013. Freeman leads the team with 39 tackles and has 3.0 sacks through a month.

Linebackers coach Jeff Fitzgerald talked about the versatility his group had coming into 2013 and we’ve seen guys lining up all over the field, especially on third downs.

With high flying passing attacks upcoming on the schedule, will the Colts secondary continue to flourish?:
Even with LaRon Landry missing the last two games, the Colts secondary has been nearly flawless in 2013.

The defensive backs have six interceptions (had 10 all last year) through the first four games and have only allowed two receiving touchdowns.

With the Colts having 13 sacks after a month, the secondary deserves a lot of credit for that number considering how many “coverage” sacks have occurred thanks to the backend.

The starting secondary has lived up to the preseason hype and thanks to Darius Butler and Delano Howell, the Colts have the depth needed with a month full of Pro Bowl quarterbacks on the horizon.



What should fans expect from the Colts return units in 2013?
The Colts are still searching for that first big return of 2013.

New wide receiver David Reed got his first action as the team’s kick returner last week (two returns for 45 yards) and the team has only had three total kick returns in 2013.

On punt returns, T.Y. Hilton as a long return of 23 yards (nine returns for 65 yards) and is still looking to break one.

The Colts kick coverage unit has been fantastic in 2013, leading the AFC in allowing opponent’s an average starting field position of the 19.3-yard line after kickoffs.

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