INDIANAPOLIS – Quarterbacks hate interior pressure.
Peyton Manning has always stated that.
Present-day NFL has only strengthened that belief.
“The push up the middle, I think throughout my years in the league has gotten more and more important in terms of getting pressure on the quarterback,” Anthony Castonzo says. “The ability to get those interior guys to have push up the middle, that’s why Quenton (Nelson) was drafted where he was because it’s that important that you maintain that solid middle on the offensive side of the ball.”
In this defense, having a disruptive defensive tackle means that much. And the Colts have not received enough pressure from the interior of their defensive line.
It’s why so many quarterbacks have shredded them in recent years, easily getting into a quick rhythm with little resistance from that middle of the pocket.
Whether it was Drew Brees, Matt Ryan or Jameis Winston this past year, and toss in Derek Carr, Sam Darnold or Andy Dalton from the year before, many quarterbacks have had their best days of the season against the Colts over the past couple of seasons.
While his 28.5 sacks and 74 quarterback hits in four NFL seasons are very notable, it’s the general pressure coming from his 6-7, 300-pound body which should alter that timing for opposing QBs.
In watching film of opposing defensive lines, Castonzo knows what the Colts are getting in Buckner, and how needed that presence is for Indy’s defense.
“DeForest Buckner is a heck of a player,” the long-time left tackle says. “He’s a guy who gets to the quarterback from that three-technique position.
“From my understanding of playing offensive line for as long as I have, when you are playing that 4-3 defense that we play, having that three-technique who can wreak havoc is extremely important. That’s a position that the defense really relies on and having a guy like that who can do that is exciting. I’ve never played guard or never played quarterback, but I can imagine as a quarterback when you are trying to throw the ball over the middle and someone is 6-7 with their arms extended up there in your face that makes it a lot more difficult.”
Even if Buckner isn’t getting all the way home for a sack or quarterback hit, it’s making that QB pause, pump or hesitate for an extra second that could make a huge difference for the pass defense of the Colts.
“It’s an extremely important position and hopefully he can get the job done, and I think he can,” Castonzo says.