By Michael Marot | AP
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts’ aegis appears to be rounding into form.
Rookie linebacker Darius Leonard leads the alliance in tackles. Safeties Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker attending healthy. The sacks and turnovers are up, the miscues are bottomward and first-year arresting coordinator Matt Eberflus sees things advancing together.
No, it’s not a absolute alpha but for a aegis that has commonly accomplished a the basal of the league, this is progress.
“It’s not as apple-pie as it should be in agreement of execution,” Eberflus said Tuesday. “The alignments are off a little bit and the angles we accouterment at accept to improve, but you can see the guys accept it (the system) a little better.”
Eberflus accepted the alteration from the antecedent 3-4 advanced to the added acceptable 4-3 to booty time.
But things accept gone faster and smoother than about anyone anticipated.
Three weeks into the season, the Colts’ aegis is ranked No. 16 all-embracing and No. 15 adjoin both the run and the pass. Alone 12 teams accept acclimatized beneath credibility than Indy’s 63.
With 10 sacks, Indy is about center to aftermost season’s 16-game absolute (25) and alone seven teams accept added takeaways than the Colts (five).
The bigger almsman has been Leonard, a second-round abstract aces out of South Carolina State who already has 41 tackles, three sacks, one affected lix and one lix accretion as he continues to apprentice the system.
“Football is football, so I anticipate it’s appealing easy,” he said. “I anticipate it’s absolutely aloof about aloof how adamantine we practice, 24-7. We convenance hard.”
Leonard isn’t the alone one advancing in Eberflus’ system, the aforementioned adaptation fabricated accepted by Hall of Fame drillmaster Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay.
The oft-injured Geathers produced a career-high 11 tackles anniversary of the accomplished two weeks. Arresting end Margus Hunt already has a career-high three sacks to go forth with 10 tackles — added than he’s had in four of his aboriginal six NFL seasons.
Hooker, Indy’s first-round aces in 2017, is aflame the playmaking adeptness Indy detected in academy as his teammates get in sync.
“I feel like we’re in a acceptable spot, but we’ve still got a lot of assignment to put in,” Hooker said. “I anticipate it’s guys affairs into the coaching, assertive (other) guys are active to the brawl and aloof actuality concrete out there.”
Clearly, this is far from a accomplished product.
While the aegis has kept the Colts aural arresting distance, breakdowns still occur.
In Sunday’s 20-16 accident at Super Bowl best Philadelphia, the aegis acclimatized Carson Wentz to bake about 11½ account on a fourth-quarter drive that resulted in the ambitious touchdown. Indy aided the drive with four penalties, including a captivation alarm on arresting end Jabaal Sheard afterwards it appeared Indy had chock-full Philadelphia on fourth-and-5 at the Colts 42.
“I anticipate he was aloof in there and it aloof happened. He was aggravating to run a achievement and it aloof happened,” Eberflus said. “We appetite no absurd penalties. So it comes bottomward to judgment, absorption and self-control. Really, it comes bottomward to those three categories and we’ll get bigger at it.”
The improvements cannot be ignored.
Over the antecedent three seasons, the Colts acclimatized 5.7, 6.0 and 5.7 yards per play. Not surprisingly, they absent the playoffs all three seasons.
This year that cardinal is bottomward to 5.3 admitting Eberflus expects the cardinal to abide bottomward as players become added acclimatized to their new roles. Eberflus is alive with seven new starters and an eighth player, Sheard, who confused from alfresco linebacker aback to arresting end.
There could be added advice on the way, too.
Rookie arresting linemen Kemoko Turay showed signs of his pass-rushing abeyant in Sunday’s game, and Tyquan Lewis charcoal on afflicted assets with an afflicted toe. Both were second-round picks.
But alike afterwards those guys authoritative a huge appulse so far, Eberflus believes the aegis is on schedule.
“One of my advisers in apprenticeship said, ‘You get what you accent and if you accent too abundant you don’t get anything,’” Eberflus said. “I anticipate if you aloof adhere your hat on a brace things, the rudiments of the game, that’s what you’ll see on tape. You’ve got to do a acceptable job of apprenticeship it up.”
Notes: Indy has claimed cornerback Arthur Maulet off waivers from New Orleans and appear active aback Christine Michael. … The Colts additionally active abhorrent accouterment Rees Odhiambo and cornerback Lenzy Pipkins to the convenance band afterwards absolution abhorrent accouterment Will Holden and cornerback Tarvarus McFadden from the convenance squad.
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