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New-Look Colts Defensive Line Making Early Impression

Intro: The Colts starting defensive line was a new look group coming into 2015 season. How has the unit performed early on in the year?


INDIANAPOLIS – It was the position group that had plenty of offseason intrigued, followed by incredible turnover.

The worry about the Colts defensive line heading into 2015 grew when Arthur Jones was placed on injured reserve following the team's final roster cuts.

When the Colts cut Josh Chapman and Montori Hughes on the same day as the Jones news was announced, the question was asked why the team parted ways with those recent draft picks who had been pieces to previous defensive lines.

"The other guys played better," Chuck Pagano said of the defensive line cuts at the start of September.

"We said all along that we were going to give guys an opportunity, give guys a chance and those guys took advantage of the opportunity. We wish those guys well, but it's time to move on."

A great way to put a name with a face!

Kendall Langford, an eight-year veteran, was always going to be a starter on the Colts defensive line in 2015.

Back in a 3-4 system he's thrived in before, Langford is the unquestioned leader of the Colts young defensive line.

Langford's presence on the field has been noteworthy, as well. He's top 10 among all 3-4 defensive ends in tackles (10th) and quarterback hurries (6th).

The man who was thought to be Langford's likely backup in 2015 has received the bulk of the notoriety after three games.

Henry Anderson has been asked to fill in for Arthur Jones and has delivered. Anderson's 13 tackles are tied for the NFL lead among all defensive linemen.

The "surprise", if you will, has come in the middle.

Listed at 310 pounds, rookie David Parry isn't your prototypical nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme.

While his body might say otherwise in regards to being an effective nose tackle, Parry's film doesn't lie.

"He has good pad level, very strong," Langford says of Parry. "Everything that you need to play the position, other then him having a huge frame.

"His pad level and his athletic ability make up for that in the end. He's very stout at the point of attack."

New defensive lineman Billy Winn credits Parry's expansive football knowledge and understanding of the position as why the rookie nose tackle has six solo tackles and a sack on the season (numbers not typically seen by nose tackles).

These three, along with key contributions from Winn and Zach Kerr, are a major reason why the Colts run defense has been particularly effective in 2015.

Running backs are averaging just 3.4 yards per carry against the Colts this season (78 attempts for 267 yards).

Ask Robert Mathis about this newer, more athletic, Colts defensive front and his eyes light up.

"They are dogs," a grinning Mathis says. "I can't say enough about them. I tell them every play, 'I love my d-line.'

"They are definitely the heart and soul of our defense. It starts and stops with them and they are doing a tremendous job for us."

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