INDIANAPOLIS – Did Ted Monachino have to hand out name tags on the first day of the offseason program for his defensive meeting room?
But introductions had to have been frequent for a unit that will head into 2017 with the possibility of only two starters returning from last year's season opener (Vontae Davis and Kendall Langford).
When a defense finishes a season ranked 30th in the NFL, has a handful of starters north of 30 years old and sees a new general manager walk through the front door the following offseason, changes are coming.
Monachino's second season as the defensive coordinator for the Colts sees him with eight new free agents and six draft picks.
"I think that change is good," Monachino said earlier this week. "The only thing that stays the same in our league is change. There was a need there for some change. But I'll tell you, it wasn't for lack of effort and lack of focus and lack of being professional of the guys that we had.
"We were at a point with several players that we needed to move and that's what Mr. (Chris) Ballard decided to do."
How the defense performed in 2016 was not acceptable, says Monachino.
Hence the reason for such upheaval in personnel over the past few months.
If Monachino was trying to fill out a depth chart this time of year, he would not have the same accuracy in predicting as Rob Chudzinski on offense.
Right around a handful of starting positions remain up for grabs on the defensive side of the ball.
Fine with Monachino.
"It's a good thing," the coordinator says of the ramped-up competition coming this offseason. "That will tell us where we need to go with the install and what we need to do from a scheme standpoint too. What can the guys handle? You look at the guys we have brought in, how much/how far can we go?"
Two areas the Colts must improve in this coming season is with their pressure on opposing quarterbacks and in creating more turnovers.
Addressing those issues first began in free agency, where the Colts brought in three new pass rushers (all 27 or younger). Another one came in the draft, with MAC Defensive Player of the Year, and third-round pick, Tarell Basham.
The playmaking onus comes with more pressure, but also from the selection of Malik Hooker and giving Darius Butler an expanded role, possibly at safety.
One of the biggest aspects of how the Colts play defensively in 2017 comes from what they can get done this time of year.
Trying to get so many new faces on the same page seems daunting.
But Monachino does not want to hear any excuses.
"We're not going to have any patience," he says. "We'll try to streamline as much as we can and then hold them accountable to that standard about how we play. We won't be any more patient just because we have a bunch of new faces.
"When we're out there, there is a certain standard that we expect them to play to and it doesn't matter if we play one front and coverage, that's what we're going to ask them to do."
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