Listen Live

Zach Bolinger | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – For all those clamoring for the Colts to pursue Ndamkong Suh (or Gerald McCoy?) in this next wave of free agency, Chris Ballard appears to be pretty content with his current defensive tackle group.

When asked last week about his makeup at defensive tackle, Ballard offered this:

“It’ll be a fun group to watch,” the Colts GM said while running down some of the key personnel at DT.

Right now, Grover Stewart, at 333 pounds, is the lone defensive lineman tipping the scale at north of 300 pounds.

If the Colts were going to play tomorrow, Margus Hunt (6-8, 298) and Denico Autry (6-5, 270), a pair of guys that played some defensive end last year, would probably start at defensive tackle.

Second-year defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis (6-3, 269) is healthy and will compete with Autry at the three-technique, with the Colts still high on what Jihad Ward (6-5, 290) gave them last season. Lewis and Ward are both former second-round picks.

Gone from last season are wider bodies in Al Woods (Seattle) and Hassan Ridgeway (Philadelphia).

But as the 2018 season moved along, the roles for Woods and Ridgeway really decreased. Woods was benched after starting the first 8 games of the season. Ridgeway played 65 total snaps in 2018.

Even without that natural run-stuffing body in the starting lineup last year, the Colts still were effective against the run.

Last year, the Colts had 6 games against rushers that finished the season in the top-10 (Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, Joe Mixon, Derrick Henry twice and Adrian Peterson).

In the 6 games, the Colts held those rushers nearly 14 yards below their per game averages for 2018.

They finished last year 8th in rushing yards allowed per game (101.6) and 6th in rushing yards allowed per rush (3.92).

So, is there a need to pursue a guy like Suh or McCoy? 

Putting his past locker room questions aside, Suh isn’t that nose tackle fit. Neither is McCoy, who is a natural three-technique, which is a position the Colts currently feel good about.

Does McCoy’s release on Monday change the Colts’ thinking though?

McCoy is 31 years old and his game is not at the same level it was a handful of years ago. But Colts defensive line coach Mike Phair coached him in 2014, so familiarity and history in a similar scheme is there. Even with McCoy’s rise in age, he still has amassed at least 5 sacks in 7 straight years.

While McCoy wants a playoff-caliber team in his next stop, Ballard has stated that he likes what the Colts have at defensive tackle. Does he like it enough to let another team bid for McCoy?

Clearly, in Matt Eberflus defense, the Colts don’t feel the need is there for several 300-pound plus bodies to occupy the defensive tackle spot. Even the trio of undrafted free agents the Colts first signed at defensive tackle all weigh less than 300 pounds.

It’s a stark change from how the Colts used to look in the middle of their defensive line.

But it’s hard to argue against the results from last year.

Leave a Reply