INDIANAPOLIS –As Cory Redding stood before the media on Tuesday morning the 300-pound defensive end was kicking down at innocent blades of glass.
Those blades resemble the same ones that his Colts defense will be busy protecting for 16, and possibly more, weeks this season.
"You don't want to give the offense a blade of grass," Redding said on Tuesday. "That's the mentality of a defender. You don't want them to cross your goal line. That's the mentality of a defender."
"At the end of the day, as the mindset of a defender, I don't want to give up this blade of grass. That's what it's got to be."
When Chuck Pagano, a disciple of the 3-4 defense, was named Colts head coach in January of 2012 he went to work on finding guys familiar with his system.
One of his first phone calls went to Redding, who played under Pagano in Baltimore and brought veteran leadership to a defense that was so foreign to many Colts defenders.
"What I like best is you're not handicapping guys," Redding said of the Colts 3-4 scheme. "You're not handcuffing them and telling them you have to do this and you have to do that. In this defense it's interchangeable positions. I have the freedom, and all the guys on the defense have the freedom to do whatever they have to do to get the job done."
"You have to learn multiple positions to be very successful in this defense. If you don't, then offenses can key on this guy, 'He's always on the left, he's always doing this, now when we see that we're going to attack him.' But if he lines up on the right, or lines up in the middle or lines up off the line, you can't really tell what they're going to do."
Adding pieces that fit the 3-4 puzzle has been something the Colts have been building over the past 18 months.
One is a 340-pound nose tackle in Josh Chapman, who Redding says has truly embraced the absorbing of multiple blockers in the trenches.
"This guy is coming in, putting hands on offensive linemen and making a presence in the middle," Redding said of Chapman. "He's developed that nastiness, 'Hey I demand two people on me at all times, and if you don't I'm going to bull rush this center to the back of the quarterback and make something happen.'
"A lot of guys don't like getting doubled or triple teamed and he's like 'Put more, put more on me, because if you do, all my guys are free.'
Through free agency, the draft and a few veterans adapting to the new system, the Colts feel that the pieces are in place for an improved defense in 2013.
It's nearly two weeks into the 2013 training camp and Redding can already see a significant change in the talent across the unit.
"In my mind, it's night and day," Redding said of the defense's growth from last year. "We have the body size, the type of men that are built for this system and have played in this type of system around other teams, so all they have to do is learn the terminology."
"Once they get the terminology, they can just, 'Hey this reminds of this play when I was over here,' so bam, they got it and now they're off and running. We're so much better now at this point than we were last year at training camp."