The Indianapolis Colts coaching staff spoke to the media on Tuesday, and new defensive coordinator Ted Monachino is planning for pressure:
"“I’m a pressure guy,” Monachino said. “I think the best pass defense is a good pass rush. That’s where we’re going to begin in this system. But there’s enough variety that you’re not going to know who it is and from where they’re coming.”"
While the Colts don’t have the pass rushing horses of yesteryear such as Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney in their primes, Monachino still has a veteran savvy version of the former and another proven pass rushing veteran Trent Cole at his disposal.
However, without a prolific pass rusher, Monachino will look to throw everything but the kitchen sink at opposing offenses:
"“And you’ll see a variety of different pressures,” added Monachino. “You’ll see them from both edges, you’ll see them from different players. You’ll see pressures that drop guys and pressures that keep guys in to rush. I think that the multiplicity of the system is what excites coach and what excites me. Those are the things you’ll see.”"
Still, that doesn’t mean that Monachino won’t place his pass rushers such as Mathis in a position to succeed by calling them to perform what they typically do best: getting after the quarterback:
"“What you’ll see with Rob is he has a dominant trait as a pass rusher,” said Monachino. “And we’ve got to make sure that he does that as often as possible. When he knows that’s what we’re going to do with him, then he’ll continue to be excited about every third down.”"
However, the Colts are going to mix up their looks and that means Mathis will occasionally be called upon to drop back in coverage:
"“There are going to be some times that we ask Rob to do some tough things that Rob isn’t really cut out for,” said Monachino. “But for us to be multiple enough and have enough variety in the system, we’ve got to ask him to do those things. But we would prefer to have Robert going forward as often as possible.”"
Instead of relying on one or two guys to bring the pressure purely from the edge, the defense will be moving around their second level and presumably utilizing some zone blitzes to keep opposing offenses on their toes.
For a unit that tied for the 22nd worst in sacks last season with 35 total sacks, the Colts pass rush should get a boost by an improved secondary.
Namely, the Colts signed veteran cornerback Patrick Robinson, who should be a significant upgrade over last year’s starter Greg Toler. With more time to theoretically get after the quarterback, the Colts pass rush could see an uptick in this season’s sack total.
That being sad, the Colts pass rushers themselves will have to get after the quarterback. By utilizing multiple looks and a variety of pass rushers, Monachino may be able to generate more pressure out of a unit that simply lacks elite pass rushers right now.