Colts: This tweak seems to have unlocked Kwity Paye

WESTFIELD, INDIANA - JULY 30: Kwity Paye #51 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
WESTFIELD, INDIANA - JULY 30: Kwity Paye #51 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

With Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson both sidelined for between 5-12 weeks after they underwent foot surgery, it’ll be up to the Indianapolis Colts‘ defense to carry the load.

Per the latest buzz, the Colts are reportedly content with starting one of Jacob Eason or 2021 sixth-round pick Sam Ehlinger once the regular season rolls around.

The situation isn’t ideal for anyone, so the Colts defense will need to step up.

Luckily for them, however, a first-year member of that group, Kwity Paye, looks poised for a big year.

The No. 21 overall pick has enjoyed an exceptional camp, but the Colts have been working on reforming his pass-rushing technique. At Michigan, Paye was capable of bull-rushing opposing linemen and generating pressure with ease.

Things won’t come nearly as easy in the NFL.

Per Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star, the Colts have been focused on getting Paye more equipped to using his speed to maneuver around blockers.

The Colts’ coaching staff has done wonders with Kwity Paye.

Here’s what Colts defensive line coach Brian Baker had to say about the tweaks the team has implemented to help unleash Paye’s full potential.

"“What you didn’t see all the time was his explosiveness and speed in the pass rush. You saw power. He lifted guys off their feet on tape, so I expected that. We’ve really been, to your point, been emphasizing that this is the NFL. You’ve got to be an edge rusher. Speed to power is your counter, but right now, let’s get comfortable with rushing the passer fast, because the ball’s out fast.”"

Erickson noted that Michigan primarily asked Paye to be a power rusher, which entails a completely different stance compared to what some of the NFL’s best edge rushers use. The awkward alignment, which saw Paye deployed in a crouched stance with his legs restrained underneath him, prevented him from getting a quick break once the ball was snapped.

While watching Michigan film, Baker noticed this stance was restricting Paye from beating linemen with his freakish speed. As a result, the DL coach is teaching Paye to line up wider (outside of the tackle position), with his feet spread apart like a “sprinter,” as Erickson put it.

The best part? Paye is committed to adapting this new technique.

"“That level of maturation is rare, and that kid, you know, knock on wood, is showing me the ability to do that,” Baker added. “I’m telling you, it’s rare, and not just for a rookie, but for any level of defensive lineman. The great ones do that.”"

Colts fans have to be excited after reading that quote, no? That isn’t to say they should set unrealistic expectations for the rookie. While Paye seems mature beyond his years and is a sponge when it comes to soaking up knowledge, it’ll take time for him to adjust to these changes.

After all, Indy has completely remade his style of play on the edge. While these tweaks could result in some inconsistencies early on, they’ll benefit him greatly down the road.