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INDIANAPOLIS – The group that Chris Ballard has totally stripped now has him thinking it’s among the best in the NFL.

And this isn’t just a GM trying to hype up a group that he’s totally revamped.

The Colts linebackers do have some qualities about them that you would rank right up there with others around the NFL.

“The linebacker position is one that I think we have a lot of talent,” Ballard says. “We have three tremendous linebackers in Darius (Leonard), (Anthony) Walker and (Bobby) Okereke.

“I think we can compare them to anybody in the league and they are all young, athletic, fast – everything we want.”

Even before Ballard’s statement, the thought was the linebacker group was the Colts ‘best’ positional group.

Some might have argued the offensive line or running back as the position of most strength.

What separates linebacker though, is they combine the best aspects of the running back (depth) and offensive line (high-end talent) groups.

You have the stud in Darius Leonard, but also have some depth, in trying to find ways to get Bobby Okereke on the field more, believing E.J. Speed offers some upside and special teams competition between Zaire Franklin, Matthew Adams and rookie Jordan Glasgow.

In today’s NFL, the days of teams having 3 linebackers on the field for the majority of the game are long gone.

The Colts typically have just 2 linebackers on the field for around 70 percent of the game.

That allows for an additional defensive back to play, which helps in defending pass-happy offenses, and for the Colts, it also places Kenny Moore in the nickel/slot role—his best position on the field.

It’s a tough dilemma facing Matt Eberflus—the balance in getting your best 11 defenders on the field, while also knowing the importance for more members of the secondary needed against those teams ready to throw it all over the field.

“There are a couple ways you can do that and one of them is to stay base (personnel) versus sub people, which I think is a good idea to do sometimes,” Eberflus points out. “We’ve done that in the past. You can play your zone coverages and certain pressures out of it and certain things you can do out of that base package versus their sub people. That’s one way to keep all three of those guys on the field. The other way is to do things in sub packages. You actually put your sub packages in and you leave the three linebackers out there. You can do those things too without giving anything away, but there are a lot of different ways you can maneuver your people and put them on the field, but the best 11 is what we’re always trying to do.

“We’ll take a look at some of those things during the training camp here and the practices and the walk throughs and then we’ll see how it goes and see if it moves down the road.”

Could the Colts try and dial it back a decade or so as they look to get a talented linebacker bunch on the field more?