INDIANAPOLIS – Gus Bradley was surprised when he got wind of the news.
But make no mistake, it was an extremely pleasant surprise as the possibilities of another reunion entered his mind.
When Bradley took the defensive coordinator job in Indianapolis, the name Yannick Ngakoue was someone Colts fans have not enjoyed seeing.
For Bradley, Ngakoue has been a big part of his stops with the Jaguars and Raiders.
So when Bradley was informed that Ngakoue was potentially available again, the new Colts DC did not hesitate in voicing his opinion.
“He’s been tremendous,” Bradley says of Ngakoue. “My time with him in Jacksonville, then to be with him again with the Raiders, it was great. You could just see from the first couple of years with him to where he is now, he does a really good job leading, bringing guys along. He just really helped in a lot of areas and I think he’s familiar with some of the things we were doing. He was that communication with some of the other players about what it should look like.”
While Ngakoue can help in that system knowledge, he also brings a resume to the edge rushing position that the Colts have longed for.
Ngakoue’s presence should finally force opposing offensive coordinators to think twice about how they implement a pass protection plan against the Colts each week.
The Colts have a proven edge rusher in Ngakoue.
That hasn’t been there in recent years.
So what does that mean for Kwity Paye at the opposite defensive end spot?
Or DeForest Buckner in the interior?
Buckner’s emotions when he heard about Ngakoue being traded to Indy paint quite the picture.
“I was jumping for joy,” a laughing Buckner says. “I was really excited in being able to add an elite rusher like Yannick. He brings a lot of things to the table. I saw a list of him with some Hall of Famers. Having a list of like first six seasons in the league and eight-plus sacks or something like that. He was with Reggie White and Aaron Donald – that’s an elite group.
“He can bring so many things to the table, even his leadership as a veteran to teach some of the young guys and coach up some of the young guys like Dayo (Odeyingbo) and Kwity (Paye) and even Ben (Banogu). I’m excited about what he’s going to be able to bring to the table. Obviously he can take some doubles (team) off of me and make the quarterback step up a little bit.”
Yes, the move for Matt Ryan deserves many of the headlines it got.
But the arrival of Ngakoue could be the addition this defense needs to have a four-man rush group capable of applying consistent pressure—and that’s the January recipe.