The Colts have had one of the worst defenses in football the last few years. But this year, they have been very solid. That success is attributed to one man.
Matt Eberflus was supposed to be the defensive coordinator for a different head coach. He was brought on by Josh McDaniels. But after McDaniels backed out of the job, he was left swinging in the wind. Colts GM Chris Ballard then stepped up and said he would honor Eberflus’ contract.
Boy, was that the right decision. The Colts were 30th in total defense last season. They are 10th this year. They were 26th in the run defense last year, and are now 8th this year. Such a dramatic change is in large part thanks to Eberflus.
Eberflus changed the defensive system from a 3-4 to a 4-3. That fit the personnel that the team had a lot better. The scheme change also allow for more of a pass rush and easier coverages. Both of those things add up to an improved defense that can be counted on week in and week out.
Defense has always been second fiddle in Indianapolis, and it probably always will be. Peyton Manning made sure of that. But defense still wins championships, and now Indy has a good enough defense where they could contend.
GM Chris Ballard deserves some credit as well. He supplied the players that Eberflus needed to run this scheme effectively. He also stuck with Eberflus when he didn’t need to. That decision is paying off big time here late in the season. And it could put them in the playoffs.
Good defense travels. That good defense could be the reason the Colts make the playoffs. But even if it doesn’t, the future is bright on that side of the football for the first time in awhile.