INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts guard Danny Pinter and linebacker Anthony Walker talked to local reporters today via video conference. What did Pinter have to say about already logging snaps at several positions along the offensive line? Why is Anthony Walker so excited about the addition of DeForest Buckner? Here's the latest edition of "Colts Chatter."
Guard Danny Pinter
» Pinter's position switch in college has prepared him to change it up now at the NFL level: Pinter began his college career at Ball State as a tight end before making the move over to right tackle his junior year. By his senior year last year, he was one of the more highly-regarded up-and-comers along the offensive line in his draft class.
The Colts felt fortunate enough to be able to snag Pinter in the fifth round of this year's draft, and immediately started working him at guard before adding some center duties to his plate.
Pinter admits as a rookie it's been "a little bit of an adjustment" trying to master two brand new positions, but says he leans on his switch in college from tight end to tackle to help process everything even quicker.
"There's little techniques that switch up with each position, but I'm just trying to keep as open of a mind as I can and just attack each position," Pinter said. "So it's definitely been a learning process, but I feel like each single day I've grinded away and gotten better at each position.
"I think going from tight end to tackle was definitely a bigger switch from going from tackle to guard or center, but it's still a switch nonetheless, so I think having done that previous definitely helps," he continued.
» Pinter is returning to his roots a little bit: Guard and center aren't the only positions Pinter has been playing of late in practices.
He's also been lining up as an extra tight end in some of the Colts' "big" packages, marking a return to his roots at his original position heading into college.
While the Colts have all five starting offensive linemen returning in 2020 — left tackle Anthony Castonzo, left guard Quenton Nelson, center Ryan Kelly, right guard Mark Glowinski and right tackle Braden Smith — head coach Frank Reich has been known to utilize a sixth offensive linemen as an extra "tight end" in some of his packages, and Pinter is excited for the opportunity to try to earn that role.
"Yeah, it's a cool opportunity," Pinter said. "That's something I'm definitely trying to make the most out of. It's a good chance — I'm willing to do whatever they need me to do, so just trying to learn that as much as I can. It's been a good experience."
Pinter did have nine career receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown, as well as two rushing attempts for another score, in his four years at Ball State.
Might the rookie ask Frank Reich for the ball if he gets on the field this year?
"No," Pinter said with a laugh. "I'm going to do whatever they need me to do."
Linebacker Anthony Walker
» Walker doesn't want to say too much, but he can't wait to see DeForest Buckner in action for the Indy defense: The Colts had a major need in the interior of their defensive line heading into the offseason, and general manager Chris Ballard certainly addressed that need when he traded Indy's first-round (13th-overall) pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for Buckner, who last year was named Second-Team All-Pro.
At just 26 years old, Buckner is already considered one of the top five players at his position in the NFL, and he's expected to make a huge impact on the entire Colts defense. He can make his own plays up front against the run and the pass, for sure, but also considering the fact he'll be taking on added blockers and creating more favorable matchups for others around him, as well as the effect that could have in the secondary … let's just say Walker is ecstatic to get the season started Sept. 13 on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"Yeah, I'm just as excited as you guys," Walker said. "I think it's going to be a great year. I'll leave it at that. I know he has high expectations, we have high expectations for him. I think he's going to be dominant this year; I think he's been dominant throughout his whole career, but I think this year he's going to be special for us."
» The Colts' defense wants at least 40 takeaways this year: Walk into the defensive meeting room at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center and it's right there, clear as day: "ball hawk."
While every team wants to get lots of takeaways, defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus makes those opportunities to create turnovers a way of life within his unit.
The Colts last season ranked tied for 10th in the NFL last season with 23 takeaways, but Walker said the Indy defense has much bigger plans in store for 2020.
"That's our whole manta this year is trying to get 40-plus takeaways," Walker said. "And I believe we have the guys on our defense to do that."
To put that 40-takeaways figure into perspective, the Steelers last season led the NFL with 38 takeaways. The last time a team got at least 40 takeaways was in 2012, when both the Chicago Bears (44) and New England Patriots (41) reached that figure; the Carolina Panthers in 2015 and Seattle Seahawks in 2013, respectively, got close with 39 takeaways.
Those 2012 Bears, 2012 Patriots, 2013 Seahawks, 2015 Panthers and 2019 Steelers teams, by the way, combined to average more than 11 1/2 wins in those respective seasons.