Colts’ secondary isn’t getting nearly enough credit for defense’s success
The Colts’ secondary deserves more praise for the defense’s success this season than people are giving them credit for.
We’re honestly running out of words to describe the strides the Indianapolis Colts have made on the defensive side of the ball compared to last season. The group flashed potential that it could one day be elite, and GM Chris Ballard responded by bolstering their ceiling with excellent draft picks and tremendous signings in free agency.
As a result, Indianapolis ranks at or near the top of seemingly every major statistical category, and that has seen the most high-profile names of the unit — like linebacker Darius Leonard, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and edge rusher Justin Houston, to name a few — receive most of the plaudits for their success.
However, what about showing some love for the back end of the defense, which has either intercepted or defended over 20% of the passes thrown against them this season? According to FiveThirtyEight, that’s the highest coverage-play rate in the NFL by a significant margin and proves the secondary deserves just as much credit as the big fellas up front.
From starting cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Rock Ya-Sin, to safety tandem Julian Blackmon and Tavon Wilson, to rotational CBs TJ Carrie and Kenny Moore, the secondary has been lights out this season and deserves recognition as one of the most dominant units in the league.
After all, the Colts currently rank first in opponent passer rating (78.9), second in both passing yards allowed (198.7) and interception percentage (3.8%), fourth in takeaways (13), fifth in completion percentage (62.2) and sixth in passing yards per attempt (6.8).
We already know Indianapolis’ secondary is for real, but they will get yet another chance to prove to the country that they should be feared just as much as any group in the NFL when they welcome Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to Lucas Oil Stadium in America’s Game of the Week on FOX this Sunday.
This will undoubtedly be the Colts’ toughest test of the season, but we’ve also said that the last two weeks and they responded with exceptional showings against the likes of Tennessee and Baltimore.
Limiting a two-time MVP in Rodgers is obviously no small feat. However, when you consider that Leonard will be playing with a colossal chip on his shoulder, we have the utmost confidence that all levels of the defense will be up to the challenge.