Here’s the biggest question for the Colts defense entering the 2023 season

Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Grover Stewart (90) stands in the huddle Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022,
Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Grover Stewart (90) stands in the huddle Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, / Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY

While the Indianapolis Colts defense is the better unit for the team, they still have some questions to answer entering the 2023 season.

Last season, if you watched the Indianapolis Colts, you almost started to feel bad for the team’s defense. They were a good unit, that frequently kept Indy in games. Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain, so the team would either lose a close game, or the defense would eventually start to breakdown from being on the field all game.

That’s why, for the most part, offseason discussion in Indianapolis has been about the offense. The Colts hired an offensive-minded head coach and drafted a quarterback with the fourth-overall pick. Everyone wants to know if the offense will be able to turn things around this season.

Defensively, questions have recently started to arise. With the trading of Stephon Gilmore and the releasing and suspending of Isaiah Rodgers Sr., the cornerback room is a big question mark for Indy. The defense was also just asked another question by NFL writer Adam Rank.

In a State of the Colts piece by Rank, he simply asked, will Indianapolis be able to stop teams from scoring in 2023, specifically in the red zone?

Colts must improve red-zone defense

Rank acknowledged that Indy was a solid unit, finishing the year 15th in yards allowed, but also pointed out the problem of Indianapolis being 28th in points allowed and last in red-zone defense. That’s certainly something the defense needs to improve on, but it also speaks to a bigger problem.

The bigger problem is that the defense was often put in tough spots because of the offense’s im adequacies. The Colts had a league-high 34 turnovers last season. That means the defense had to defend a lot of short fields, which, to the defense’s fault, they weren’t able to do. That’s how a unit ends up allowing a lot of points but not a lot of yards.

So, going into 2023, the offense has to do a better job of protecting the football, and the defense has to find a way to dig deep in sudden-change situations and figure it out. While the offense is part of the problem, everyone still expects the defense to do its job. The Colts have to be better at that in 2023.