The 2020 NFL season is officially in the books, and it was unfortunately capped off with an absolute snooze fest of a Super Bowl, as the Buccaneers made the previously invincible Chiefs look shockingly ordinary en route to a 31-9 victory.
The story of the game was Tampa Bay’s defense and how they were able to create pressure with just their front four due to the fact that Kansas City was missing both of their starting offensive tackles. That was a huge break for the Bucs, but, injuries aside, everybody would agree that they boast a championship-caliber defense and teams around the league would be smart to try to replicate their pass-rushing model.
When it comes to the Indianapolis Colts, well, they’re right on track in that regard, and that is something fans should be excited about entering the offseason.
The Colts’ defense looks eerily similar to the Buccaneers’ from a personnel standpoint.
The Buccaneer’s defense is built inside out, meaning their strongest component is their front seven. In terms of the offensive line, they have three world-beaters in Shaq Barrett, Vita Vea and Jason Pierre-Paul, all of whom are capable of wrecking a game on their own. As crazy as it sounds, they only get stronger at the linebacker position, where grizzled vet Lavonte David and budding superstar Devin White are seemingly always making plays on the ball.
While the Bucs’ secondary doesn’t have any household names, they’re as sound as any unit in the league. They have speed at the cornerback position and a bruising ball hawk of a safety in Antoine Winfield Jr., who dares opposing quarterbacks to throw his direction. The job they do at the backend of the defense only makes Tampa’s front seven’s job easier.
If you take a look at the Colts’ defense, they’re working with similar personnel. DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart are a formidable interior DL tandem. There are questions at defensive end, with veteran duo Justin Houston and Denico Autry entering free agency, but assuming they are either re-signed or the front office finds adequate replacements, that shouldn’t be too much of a concern moving forward.
At linebacker, Darius Leonard is as good as they come. However, since we’re setting the Bucs as the gold standard here, he could take his game to another level if Indy equipped him with a star sidekick. We mean no disrespect to Anthony Walker or Bobby Okereke, but they simply pale in comparison to the level that David and White play at on a consistent basis.
In the secondary, the Colts have guys like Kenny Moore and Julian Blackmon that help make everything click. It would be encouraging to see the front office add a clear cut No. 1 corner this offseason, but that’s really the only piece the group is missing with Xavier Rhodes seemingly set on testing the open market.
Call us crazy, but with a few more additions, the Colts’ defense will come close to mirroring what the Buccaneers put together this past season. Based on what transpired in the Super Bowl, that bodes tremendously well for Indianapolis’ pass rush.