Shaq Leonard is ready to prepare the Colts for the rookie quarterback experience
The Indianapolis Colts are likely drafting a quarterback this spring and Shaq Leonard is preparing for the journey of having a young QB.
With the fourth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts are likely going to select a quarterback. Indy may even trade up to No. 1 to get that quarterback. While this is exciting, handing a rookie the keys to the franchise isn’t always a smooth ride from the start. Transitioning to the NFL is tough for all positions, but quarterback is the most scrutinized position in sports and first-round QBs have high expectations, so their growing pains are always magnified. Oftentimes, young quarterbacks take teams on a bumpy ride that veteran players would rather not be a part of.
That doesn’t seem to be the case in Indianapolis, at least not from Shaq Leonard’s perspective. In a recent interview, Leonard explained that he knows “bumps in the road” will come with a young quarterback, however, he’s prepared to do his part in getting the team ready to make life easy for a rookie quarterback. Shaq said if the Colts do take a young quarterback, “I don’t think we gone put all the pressure on him. Me as a defensive guy, as a leader, I put everything on the defense because if they don’t score they can’t win.”
Shaq Leonard is putting pressure on Colts defense
Leonard also discussed how the defense will have to take the ball away as often as possible to help set the offense up, and also how the special teams will have to be great. Those things, along with a solid offensive line are the formula for having success with a young quarterback. Luckily, the Colts do just about all of those things at a high level.
Indianapolis’ special teams have been great for years, and with special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone likely sticking around, that shouldn’t change. Defensive coordinator, Gus Bradley, is also expected to stick around, and Indy’s defense had a pretty solid year under Bradley. However, they didn’t take the ball away as they did in 2021 but there was a big reason why: Shaq Leonard wasn’t on the field.
Leonard is the turnover king of the NFL. Even in his very few snaps this past season, he found a way to get an interception. Those turnovers are game-changing plays and it’s an infectious energy that takes the defense to another level. With a healthy Leonard, the defense and special teams should definitely be able to do their part in making life easy on a rookie quarterback.
The biggest challenge will be the offensive line. Indy’s offensive line was one of the worst in the league this offseason. If a rookie quarterback has to play behind the kind of line the Colts had during the 2022 season, it won’t be pretty. Chris Ballard must do his part in upgrading the line and Shane Steichen must get the guys to play well and have them locked in on their assignments. If that happens, the Colts will have a great environment to foster growth and success for a rookie quarterback.