INDIANAPOLIS — Attacking the line of scrimmage and being disruptive is what the Indianapolis Colts’ defensive front seven is all about.
With that attitude always at the forefront, it’s no surprise to see that two of their most productive players currently lead the entire NFL in tackles for loss.
Through three games, Colts defensive end/tackle Margus Hunt is first with eight tackles for loss, and rookie linebacker Darius Leonard is next with six.
On Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, Leonard had five tackles for loss and Hunt added three.
Between the two, they have 51 tackles (14 for loss), six sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumbles recovered and three pass breakups through three games.
For Hunt, the former second-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals is enjoying a career year so far, as the 31-year-old has already established a career-high with his three sacks.
"You know, just hard work by him. Really hard work by him, and good, complementary play," Colts head coach Frank Reich said on Monday about how Hunt has performed thus far. "You know, it's not a one-man show up there on the defensive front; they're running stunts and games together up there, so it's really about all four of those guys coming off hard together, and Margus has been very productive."
Leonard’s 41 tackles currently leads the NFL, and both players are tied for the third-most sacks with three apiece.
Last week, Leonard was awarded with AFC Defensive Player of the Week and NFL Rookie of the Week awards for his efforts Week 2 against the Washington Redskins. In the Colts' 21-9 win, he had 19 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
Following the standout performance, Colts head coach Frank Reich gushed about his rookie star.
“The guy is unbelievable, just the leverage he played with, the length, the ability," Reich said. "You couldn’t ask for a better start and a better young leader than what he is showing us and giving us right now.”
Leonard is also making an impact on his veteran teammates.
"Great, great dude," defensive tackle Al Woods said. "Like I was saying earlier, he comes in early and he leaves late. He’s always asking the right questions. He’s not scared to ask a question. He’s just a guy who’s really humble. He’s a blue collar guy that’s just like, ‘Look man, I’m here to play, point blank, period."
Hunt and Leonard aren't the only players from the Colts defensive front making an impact, however. Defensive end Jabaal Sheard has three tackles for loss on the year, which is tied for the 18th most in the NFL. He also has 1.5 sacks and three consecutive games with a pass breakup, which is one shy of a single-season personal best.