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Indianapolis Colts

Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley calls Week 1 matchup against the Jaguars a 'good test'

Despite the Jaguars' offensive resurgence last season, Bradley feels confident that his defense will fare well against them Sunday afternoon.

Bradley vs. JAX

The Colts' defense will start the 2023 season with the challenge of stopping the Jacksonville Jaguars' offense.

Last year, the Jaguars turned a 3-7 start into a division title after averaging 26.8 points per game in their final seven regular season games. After winning their first AFC South title since 2017, they had a statement-making comeback victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card Round and were stiff competition for the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round.

Expectations for what the offense can be are even higher now since wide receiver Calvin Ridley will be joining a unit that will bring back playmakers Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne Jr., among others.

"I think you value going against a team like Jacksonville or any team in the league that's as skilled as they are," Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. "You want to find out where you are, where you are fast and have a chance to improve from there. So, this will be a good test for us."

The Colts will bring back several defensive players from last year but will be trotting multiple new players at cornerback.

Projected starting outside cornerbacks Dallis Flowers and Darrell Baker Jr. did not get to play against the Jaguars last season. Baker spent most of the year on the practice squad and Flowers, who first made a name for himself as a kick returner, did not start until Week 18.

Despite the pair's relative inexperience, Bradley and the rest of the defense have faith in what the group collectively brings to the table.

"We're playing with a lot of confidence right now," Bradley said. "I think the confidence comes from trusting that everybody knows what they're doing. We're going to play Jacksonville with the idea of [playing] fast and physical. Then we got to get the ball out. We got to get takeaways."

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