INDIANAPOLIS – When Chuck Pagano took the Colts' head coaching job, one of the first things he did was a reach.
The reach was to a phone to get Cory Redding to follow him to Indianapolis. Pagano wanted a vocal leader and stout presence to help drive the defense.
He got both, saying, "Cory's a very, very unselfish guy. I can't say enough good things about Cory. His motor never stops running. I've seen guys who can make a lot of noise, but don't make any noise where they need to (on the field). Cory's play matches his motivation style. He's all hat, all cattle."
Redding is easing into his second season with the Colts. He saw Indianapolis jump from 2-14 to 11-5 in one year.
The success flew in the face of perception, and the team concept was a driving force. That concept remains essential in 2013.
"That's first and foremost. You have to get everybody on board fast," said Redding. "The faster you do that, the better your situation will be, the better your team will be.
"You have to buy in. Either you buy in, or you get out. That's just how it has to be. We roll one way and one way only, as a team."
Talk on some teams and by many players is cheap, but Redding's evangelistic approach is one rooted in honesty.
It is a 90-man team now that will go to 53 by September. Redding sounded like Bo Schembechler when he stressed the team concept being the only approach to employ.
"Nobody is bigger than the team," said Redding. "I am not bigger than the team. Nobody in this locker room is. Whenever something needs to be said or be done in order to better the team, it has to be done.
"When we're out there on the field, it's not just one of us it's all of us. We're doing everything together."
A portion of a team's identity is formed this time of year. It worked last year under Pagano, a true player's coach, and it is being done now as the Colts have a handful of OTA practices remaining before a mid-June mini-camp.
Redding likes what is going on.
"Everything has been moving very smooth. All the guys have really stepped up into their roles, doing what is required of them, learning the system inside and out and really flying around fast," said Redding. "You see us making plays all over the field on defense. We're just thriving off that. We're building off our momentum of what we did the day before.
"We're trying to get better every, single day. I'm very pleased with where we're at. I can't wait to get back out there with my guys and have fun and keep this ball rolling."
The Colts were active in free agency and the draft in bringing in new faces to help build the defense. It was a unit Redding says had its moments a year ago, but must improve.
"We accomplished a lot with it being the first year in the defense. Expecting everyone to get it right away and compete at the highest level (was a challenge)," said Redding. "To go as far as we did – the playoffs – I think we did some tremendous things.
"There is room for corrections and to get better. We need more pressure on the quarterback. Stopping the run is first and foremost. On the second level, our blitzes from the linebacker area (could improve). From the corners and secondary, we want to defend every ball in the air and eliminate (some things). There is plenty of room to improve."
Voted a captain last year, Redding plans to lead the pack again.
"In my mind, I'm always a leader. That's just how I am," said Redding. "That's my makeup and I can't change. I just lead by example, lead vocally whenever it needs to be.
"For the most part, I have fun with my teammates and I really engage everybody, have everybody feel like they're part of it. That's what really makes a great team, everybody just getting together and having a great time. As long as we are on one page, one accord for one mission, then we'll be alright."