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Colts Defense: Blitzing LaRon Landry


Jan 4, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Kansas City Chiefs guard Geoff Schwartz (74) and Indianapolis Colts safety LaRon Landry argue after a Chiefs first quarter touchdown during the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Following a 4 game PED suspension earlier this season, the Indianapolis Colts’ LaRon Landry lost his starting job to fellow safety Sergio Brown. The 8-year veteran safety and 6th overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Redskins had struggled on the field, and quite frankly, didn’t make the right choices off of it.

That doesn’t mean he should stay off the field indefinitely however. As the Colts discovered Sunday, Landry can be used quite effectively situationally. While he’s a liability in coverage, he can still be deployed successfully against the run and in certain blitz packages.

Against Jacksonville last weekend, Landry was used on 19 of the defense’s 55 defensive plays (34.5%) and had 5 tackles (3 solo), 1.5 sacks, and 2 QB hits. The advanced statistics provided by ProFootballFocus also graded out Landry favorably with a +1.5 overall grade.

Just how exactly did the Colts utilize the muscular Landry? By having him do what he does best, “playing in the box”. 

His biggest plays came early in the 4th Quarter, when defensive coordinator Greg Manusky had Landry blitz from the left side of the defense on back-to-back plays:

Blitz 1:

(13:26) 4th Quarter, 1st and 10: LaRon Landry Sacks QB Blake Bortles (-7 yards)

As one can see above, Landry has his head down like he’s about to lunge and do an all-out sprint towards Jaguars’ rookie quarterback Blake Bortles. Unfortunately for Bortles in this instance, Landry wasn’t bluffing. He runs a straight-line blitz right into Bortles.

(13:26) 4th Quarter, 1st and 10: LaRon Landry Sacks QB Blake Bortles (-7 yards)

All Bortles can do is duck and “brace for impact”. Landry meets him at around the 25-yard line in a head-on collision and gets the well-earned sack.

Blitz 2:

(13:26) 4th Quarter, 2nd and 17: LaRon Landry Sacks QB Blake Bortles (-7 yards)

On the ensuing play, LaRon Landry’s number gets dialed up once again for the blitz. Facing a rookie quarterback in Bortles, the Colts are going to yet again, “bring the house”. Only this time, Landry is lined up just a few yards away from the line of scrimmage, instead of several yards back.

(13:26) 4th Quarter, 2nd and 17: LaRon Landry Sacks QB Blake Bortles (-7 yards)

The results are once again positive for the Colts and disastrous for QB Blake Bortles. Landry meets Bortles in the backfield for the second consecutive play, as he is left unimpeded on his blitz path to the young quarterback. It’s another sack for -7 yards for the Colts defense.

As one can see, LaRon Landry can be used quite effectively near the line of scrimmage and in blitz packages. At a chiseled 6’0, 226 pounds, Landry is built like a linebacker, yet runs like a safety (albeit a slower one). By allowing him to do what he does best and putting him in a position to succeed, the Colts can yield positive results by utilizing Landry situationally.

Sep 8, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts free safety LaRon Landry (30) reacts after a play against the Oakland Raiders at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports