With new players and coaches, the defense of the Indianapolis Colts could be dominant but don’t expect this one thing to happen.
Last season, the Indianapolis Colts had a pretty solid defense. They excelled at taking the ball away from opponents with 33 total takeaways, second-most in the NFL, and also held teams to 21.5 points a game, making them the ninth-beat scoring defense in the league.
However, the Colts did struggle against the pass at times, often failing to generate a consistent pass rush. This led to them struggling to hold on to late leads and only resulted in 33 team sacks, the seventh-fewest in the NFL.
Indianapolis was committed to improving this offseason so it traded for Yannick Ngakoue and signed Stephon Gilmore along with a few other veteran defensive backs. Indy also brought in Gus Bradley as defensive coordinator after Matt Eberflus moved on to the Chicago Bears.
Some are skeptical about the Bradley hire but others believe all of Indy’s defensive talent will lead to a dominant defense next season. While that’s possible, there’s one thing that’s unlikely to happen with this defense. That thing is a lot of blitzing, because it’s something that Gus Bradley doesn’t do.
Don’t expect the Colts to blitz under Gus Bradley
While many know that Gus Bradley isn’t a blitz-happy defensive coordinator, it may still come as a surprise to see exactly just how little he blitzes. In each of the last three seasons, the defense with the lowest blitz percentage were all Bradley-coached defenses.
Two of the seasons were with the Chargers and one was last year with the Las Vegas Raiders. That trend will probably continue next season with the Indianapolis Colts.
Last season, Indy had a blitz percentage of 20.2%, which was 28th in the NFL, so it shouldn’t be a significant drop-off for the team. However, what Bradley intends to do with the defense is find a way to generate pressure with the four defensive linemen.
That’s why a trade for Yannick Ngakoue was important for this defense under Bradley. Ngakoue had 10 sacks last season in Bradley’s defense in Las Vegas. Now, Ngakoue will line up with DeForest Buckner, Grover Stewart, and Kwity Paye.
These four, along with the rest of the rotating defensive linemen, will carry the burden of getting to the quarterback for the Colts, because Bradley will not be sending any extra guys to help.