INDIANAPOLIS — In these last two and a half weeks before the NFL regular season begins, players around the league are making their final push to either remain on their current team's roster or to find their way onto another one.
Count new Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Brandon Banks among them.
The Colts just signed the second-year vet out of UNC-Charlotte on Thursday. Although there are only five days away from the final preseason game and one week until teams must cut rosters from 90 players to 53, that is enough time for Banks to capitalize on the chance he's being given with the Colts.
"(I'm) just looking to learn a new system in the 4-3 — re-learn it," Banks told Colts.com on Thursday. "And make the best out of my opportunities for these next two games."
Measuring at 6-3 and 267 pounds, Banks looks like a good fit for the three-technique defensive tackle spot in the Colts' 4-3 defense. They could even feasibly tinker with him at defensive end if they wanted to, as he has the same size profile as several of their current players at the position.
Overall, the defense calls for speed and athleticism, but coordinator Matt Eberflus also values quickness and striking ability up front. When asked about those traits in relation to his play style, Banks said, "Yeah, that's what we used to do back at UNC-Charlotte."
In four years in Charlotte, Banks put up 132 tackles (13.0 for loss), 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumbles recovered, one interception and nine pass breakups. His performance in that scheme — which he now returns to — helped get him a chance in the NFL last year.
"We were a more downhill type of defense and everything like that. So, that is what I'm used to doing. But you know, I was with the Redskins last year who had different schemes and everything like that, so I've got to re-learn that."
The Washington Redskins — where Banks signed as an undrafted free agent last year — utilize a base 3-4 defense, same as what the Colts ran from 2012 through 2017 under former head coach Chuck Pagano.
Many of the Colts' current defensive linemen were either with the Colts last year and played in it, or have come from similar schemes before, so there's been many instances of players having to re-adjust to the Colts' new 4-3 alignment.
There has been a lot of excitement from the Colts' defensive linemen in regards to the new philosophy, though, many of them commenting that there is much less thinking and just more attacking and disruption involved.
"Yeah, I love it," Banks said. "I love it because it's like — you've still got to think — like you've always got to be racked off your blocks and everything like that, but just being able to take off into the next person that's across the line from you, that's fun."
Coming to this Colts team with this defense seems like good timing for Banks as he re-acclimates to a scheme that he's thrived in before.