INDIANAPOLIS — In the Indianapolis Colts' new 4-3 defense, the emphasis is on defending the pass. If they are also going to have success against the run, they'll need to rely on the beef they've got up front.
A new factor in the middle of the Colts' defense is Rakeem Nunez-Roches, whom they claimed off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs in May. The 6-2, 307-pounder is excited about what he can bring to this defense.
"I am a disruptive guy who can get up the field, penetrate, blow up, disrupt everything," Nunez-Roches said. "That's what this defense is about. Going to a 4-3, getting up the field and letting the D-line off the leash.
"I'm not going to lie to you: I love to attack," Nunez-Roches continued. "I love to be the man in the backfield creating a new line of scrimmage. I love it and I enjoy it."
After the Colts released Johnathan Hankins this offseason, sizable players like Nunez-Roches who can penetrate the backfield from the interior of the line — and do it with quickness — will be invaluable.
He comes from a 3-4 defense with the Chiefs similar to what the Colts had employed over the last several seasons. Like the other Colts linemen switching from the 3-4 to the 4-3, Nunez-Roches admits he has some old 3-4 habits to kick.
"(The 3-4 is) more (gap). This is just go," Nunez-Roches said. "Whatever is going on the linebackers will make you right. You get up the field. You penetrate. You be disruptive and then let everybody else play off of you."
Nunez-Roches said his initial meeting with Indianapolis and learning about the team's new attacking defensive approach up front "was actually like a gift."
"When Coach was talking to me I was like, 'You really want me to get up the field like that?'" he said with a smile.