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Ryan Grigson's Thoughts on Colts Defense

Intro: On Monday, looked at the offseason additions the Colts have made on the offensive side of the ball. Today, we look at Ryan Grigson’s thoughts on the Colts defense.


INDIANAPOLIS—Yesterday's "cauldron of competition" took a look at the Colts position battles on the offensive side of the ball.

Now it's onto the defensive side of things (and a little special teams) where the Colts brought in a pair of AFC North starters.

Perhaps the largest signing the Colts made over the past two weeks came an hour into the 2014 free agency period.

Here's a look at all those through the eyes of Ryan Grigson with a breakdown of the defensive line, secondary and special teams.

Defensive Line

Ryan Grigson went into the 2014 free agency period looking to bolster the middle of the Colts defense.

The acquisition of Art Jones is a major part of just that.

"(Jones) can play anywhere," Grigson says of Jones' versatility along the defensive line. "The thing about him, he was like 308 (pounds) coming out and now the guy is 330. He's got nose (tackle) size but he's got three-technique athletic ability and the skill set and the length to play at the five technique.

"He's also a horseshoe guy. He does things the right way, blue collar, lunch pail type guy but also is a top-notch athlete. Talented guy but he has a workman, yeoman type approach that we really like here and he's going to fit well with this team."

Grigson has loved Jones since he entered the league out of Syracuse back in 2010.

Jones' film in Baltimore indicates that he can line up in multiple positions along a defensive front.

With the re-signing of veteran Fili Moala, and a healthy Ricky Jean Francois returning, Grigson is confident with the parts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky has to work with in the trenches.

"I feel that you can never have enough of those guys and as you saw last year, guys get injured," Grigson said.

"To win at a high level in this league and in the playoffs, you need to have those guys up front that play at a high level. Art is one of those guys. We love how he not only plays, but also what he brings in terms of leadership and doing things the right way. He's really a tremendous fit."



Considering the Colts are losing 96 straight starts and eight years of veteran leadership at the safety position, the re-signing of Vontae Davis was that much more critical.

Having Davis back in the fold now turns the attention to the spot vacated by Antoine Bethea.

Grigson knows the void a player of Bethea's caliber leaves behind at the backend of the Colts secondary.

Last year when LaRon Landry missed time early in the season, second-year safety Delano Howell filled in.

Howell, a Stanford product, was an undrafted free agent in 2012 and the Colts signed him off the Bills practice squad late in his rookie season.

"Delano Howell is no slouch when he played last year," the Colts GM says. "When he came in he did a heck of a job."

Chuck Pagano said at the League Meetings earlier this week that the safety position in this year's NFL Draft has some depth and that echoes what Grigson said last week.

"We will of course look at the draft. We are still looking at some other options," Grigson said of the safety spot.

"We want to solidify every position group possible the best we can."

Special Teams

Come this fall, many fans will mistakenly forget the re-signings of Pat McAfee and Adam Vinatieri.

Take a look back to 2013 when McAfee's frequent flipping of field position resulted in timely, game-changing turnovers.

Or how about Vinatieri's clutch fourth quarter field goals in wins over a pair of Super Bowl teams in Seattle and Denver.

"We got our Hall of Fame kicker back. He's coming off one of the best years of his career," Grigson says of Vinatieri.

"He might be 41, but a lot of times you wonder if he's biologically 41. He might be 35 compared to some of these other guys who are older. He keeps himself in great shape."

The 2014 season will be the 19th for Vinatieri.

His holder in McAfee will be entering his sixth, all in Indianapolis, and Grigson went out of his way to mention the work ethic that the outgoing Colts punter displays.

"Our special teams coach (Tom McMahon) believes he's one of the hardest working guys he's ever been around," Grigson says of McAfee.

"Then you throw Sergio Brown in there too. It's really a nice luxury to have those types of talents on your special teams. They're just something that will let you sleep better at night knowing we have those guys back because they are so talented and reliable."

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