Colts OTAs: DC Greg Manusky Talks Defensive Consistency


Over the past three years, the Indianapolis Colts have shown marked improvement on both side of the ball. The defense have been the team’s weakness during that time.

Recently, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said that the team had the best personnel in his tenure. That clearly is the case and we took a look at how the Colts defense has improved over the past few years. While the Colts will need to score more than seven points in the AFC Championship game, they’ll also need to stop opponents (OK, the Patriots) from running up the score.

The big key for this unit is consistency and Manusky addresses that issue recently in an interview with’s Kevin Bowen.

"“Well I think the communication part is big,” Manusky said last week.“We did a study at 419 plays we gave up 2.2 (yards per carry) and then 59 plays we gave up 11 or 12 yards per carry. It’s either missed tackles or communication. So communication is one of the biggest things defensively that we need to do across the board. That’s what we’ve been focusing on.”“We have to execute the play,” Manusky said. “I told them all the time, I said, ‘I don’t care what defense we are playing as long as we are all on the same page.’ When there are breakdowns in those pages or that spoke is not on that wheel it’s going to come loose and that’s happened.“Communication and tackling are the major parts of any defense that you play, along with big plays of course. That’s what we have to do.”"

That seems like a pretty simply fix. Play as a unit, don’t try to be a hero, do your job, and trust your teammates. Football is the ultimate team game and if any one person is out of position it can lead to a big play (it is one of the MANY reasons why QB wins are NOT a stat).

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The Colts have suffered far too many blowout losses under head coach Chuck Pagano and Manusky. Games where the Colts didn’t appear to have a gameplan and were completely unprepared to play.

In 2012, the Colts only suffered four bad losses (including the playoffs). Pagano was only present for two of those games as he spent the bulk of the season battling leukemia and served as an inspiration for the team.

Those lopsided losses in 2012 featured a road opener against the Bears (back when the team could still compete for a playoff spot) and a road playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champs, the Ravens. They had the obligatory loss to the Patriots as well as a road loss to the Jets.

2013 featured three awful losses in a five week period. The Colts were smacked around at home in a 30-point drumming by the Rams. Two weeks later they’d lose to former offensive coordinator and interim-head coach Bruce Arians’ Cardinals on the road, 40-11. The losses ended that season with one on the road against the Bengals.

The Colts also lost in the playoffs 43-22 to the Patriots a week after giving up 44 points to the Chiefs.

In 2014, it was more of the same. The Colts suffered four more lopsided losses, this time against the Steelers, Patriots (twice), and the Cowboys.

This is the year the Colts defense needs to make a leap and not just shut down the inferior opponents. They have to keep this team competitive against the top tier teams in the league and against so-called ‘elite’ quarterbacks.