In 2022, Gus Bradley entered his first year as the defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts after Matt Eberflus accepted the head coaching job for the Chicago Bears.
The first nine weeks of the season started out well for the veteran defensive play caller. Indianapolis was giving up 20.3 points per game, 205.9 passing yards per game, and 124.6 rushing yards per game. Jacksonville accounted for 478 of the 1,246 rush yards given up. The other eight games, the Colts gave up 768 yards.
Opposing teams were converting 32% of their third downs through the first ten games last year. That would have been second best if they sustained that percentage last season. Additionally, no team through ten games had scored 30+ points on the Colts.
Since the Colts defeated Bradley’s former team in the Las Vegas Raiders on November 13th, 2022, the defense has not been recognizable.
Indianapolis has surrendered 30+ points in EIGHT of the last fifteen games. Opposing offenses are converting 40% of their third downs, averaging 231.5 pass yards per game, and 135.6 rush yards per game. Opposing teams are averaging 30.2 points per game and 27.3 per game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Last season the defense was given a pass for some of their shortcomings for always being on the field with the offense immensely struggling. What’s the excuse this season? The first finger can be pointed towards the corner backs and lack of experience. Kwity Paye, Dayo Odeyingbo, Samson Ebukam, DeForest Buckner, and other on the defensive line is really where I put the blame.
After the first three weeks of the season, the Colts were tied for first in sacks with twelve. How many have they had in the last six games? Nine. Quarterbacks are having all the time in the world to sit in the pocket and complete passes. Derek Carr had been sacked 18 times, tied for ninth most, entering Sunday’s contest. Colts got home one time and hit him on just one more occasion.
If the Colts defense can’t generate pressure naturally with pass rush, it would be smart to bring pressure to try and disrupt the timing of the quarterback, right? Well not for Gus Bradley. He’s called the second fewest blitzes in the NFL with 56. Minnesota ranks first in the NFL with 166. Only the New York Jets call fewer blitzes.
In conclusion, the Colts defense just doesn’t have enough play makers. No real pass rush to generate enough pressure to affect the quarterback. No ball hawking cornerback to shut down an opposing team’s top wide receiver.
Is it really Gus Bradley’s fault? Or does it fall on Colts General Manager Chris Ballard for not giving him enough talent? That’s for you to decide.
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