INDIANAPOLIS –When Ted Monachino looked at his starting defense during June's minicamp, he might have needed to check his roster.
Not one defensive starter at the 2017 minicamp was in the starting lineup in Week One of last season, when Monachino made his debut as an NFL defensive coordinator.
Any final judgments on the '17 Colts defense will occur starting Sept. 10 in Los Angeles.
For now though, Monachino has seen one obvious change.
"I will tell you we're different," Monachino says. "I know that we're bigger, we're younger, we're stronger.
"We've got some guys that are more the rule than the exception around our league, where a year ago maybe we had a few more exceptions. We're big where we need to be in there. We're explosive where we need to be in there."
Since Chuck Pagano's arrival in 2012, the Colts have found difficulty in finding the right personnel to fit a new 3-4 defensive scheme.
Chris Ballard's observations earlier this year led to a roster upheaval, particularly in the front seven.
There's a good chance the Colts could have five new starters in their front seven coming from this past year's free agent class.
After Ballard saw the defense work during the spring, he was pleased with what he saw.
"I'm excited about our front seven," Ballard said. "I think we've upgraded. I think we are physical, are bigger. We've got some good athletes at the position.
"I'm very encouraged by the front seven."
Of course, Ballard, like Monachino, isn't ready to place a crown on anyone just yet.
Ballard wants to throw up the caution flag until green flag racing starts up in the coming months.
"I'm really careful this time of year, because I think teams get a false impression of their teams in OTAs and in shorts," Ballard says.
"This game is played in pads. Until we really get into camp, we won't really know."
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