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Old 02-13-2017, 08:19 AM
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sherck sherck is offline
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Default 07. State of the Colts – Defensive Line

Defensive Line members on the 2017 Roster:

$7.350m cap hit / 31 years old / 5-Technique / Arthur Jones
$4.250m cap hit / 31 years old / 5-Technique / Kendall Langford
$0.782m cap hit / 26 years old / 5-Technique / Henry Anderson
$0.680m cap hit / 22 years old / 5-Technique / Hassan Ridgeway
$0.678m cap hit / 25 years old / 0-Technique / David Parry
$0.615m cap hit / 27 years old / 5-Technique / Lavar Edwards
$0.615m cap hit / 24 years old / 5-Technique / T.Y. McGill

NOTE: Zach Kerr (0-Technique; 27 years old) is a RFA in 2017 and would require a RFA Tender amount of around $1.750m in order to play for us in 2017.

Arthur Jones

17 games, 54 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 3 seasons with the Colts having gotten paid $17.911m for the effort. That works out to $1.054m per game, $337k per tackle, or $11.941m per sack, take your pick.

The bottom line is that Jones has been a bust. Perhaps he had / has the talent to be a superior 5 Tech in the NFL but he is either too injured or too…..something to be effective. In his two previous seasons before coming to Indy, he averaged 50 tackers per season (over 3 per game) and 4.25 sacks. That is pretty solid production out of a 3-4 5-Technique. However, since coming to Indy, he has not been anywhere near that productive.

I was hoping that 2016 would be a good season after having to sit out all of 2015 but, alas, he was only able to play in weeks 6 – 13 and while he had a couple of nice games that harkened back to his time in BAL (6 tackles in each Week 9 (GB) and Week 10 (TEN), 8 tackles against HOU in Week 13), overall he could not be counted on for the season.

Jones generates $5.150m in free cap space if cut. I hope that a new GM whom is not wedded to the player because he made the signing does the right thing and moves on from him. I think we could easily sign a veteran 5 Tech for that same money and get both younger and, hopefully, healthier at the position.

Kendall Langford

Hmmm…..Kendall has a pretty good year in 2015; his first with the Colts. While his 38 tackles were not the bees knees (2.4 tackles per game), he had 7.0 sacks on the season which was a very pleasant surprise and he helped the D-Line become pretty solid early on when he was put with rookies Parry at the 0-Tech and Anderson at the opposing 5-Technique.

However, 2016 was a completely different story where he looked largely ineffective. He played in the first 7 games before going on IR and only recorded 10 tackles and zero sacks. He just did not appear to have much in the way of explosiveness and I rarely noticed him early on which is a sign that he was not every effective.

His cap savings would be $3.750m if cut which would be enough to pretty much sign some new free agent in his place if the management wants to. I am of a split mind; I would LOVE to see him return to his 2015 form and be a part of a good D-Line rotation. However, I have no idea if he can return to that form. I am more than willing to let the coaches / management make that call and will not be disappointed if we cut him nor if we retain him. When he was healthy in 2015, he was good (but not great). He was largely ineffective in 2016. I could see management going either way with him.

Henry Anderson

This tale is largely parallel to Kendall Langford’s. Prior to his season ending injury in week 9 of the 2015 season (DEN), Henry was averaging 3.45 tackles per game but even more importantly, he was rerouting RBs on seemingly just about every run. I can remember being so exciting about his play because he seemed to be just about everywhere on every play and making blockers chase after him (so that they were not blocking LBs). He was not much on the pass rush but he played the run very well.

In 2016, Henry played in only 11 games (missing weeks 1 and 2 and then weeks 7 – 9) and was largely ineffective when playing. He only recorded 12 tackles for the season and I can remember just being dismayed by his lack of explosiveness even when being blocked 1v1 on plays. He seemed to win very few battles in 2016 and just never seemed…..on.

I hope that it was injury related and that another off season of conditioning and rehab will fully bring him back to the potential that we saw in the first half of his rookie year. He is one of the key players that the Colts defense will need to build around going forward if he can regain form and I have pretty high hopes for him in 2017.

Hassan Ridgeway

Not a bad start to an NFL season. Played in all 16 games of his rookie season, recorded 21 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Recorded 8 tackles in his first 8 games and then 13 tackles in his last 8 games showing a bit of an upward trend. Best game of the season was HOU #2 where he got 5 tackles and 1.0 sacks.

I was not expecting magical things from the rookie and we did not get magical things. But, he passes the “eye” test for being NFL ready on the field in the latter part of the season and will, hopefully, take the 2nd year leap with a full off-season of NFL weight training and preparation. He is not yet much more than JAG (Just Another Guy) but I think he has the potential to come in and give quality downs in a D-Line Rotation. And that is what we need out of him right now.

David Parry

It is a SAD testimony in a 3-4 defense that your top tackling D-Lineman is your 0-Technique NT!!!

Honestly, it is also a SAD testimony in a 3-4 defense that you 0-Technique NT is #7 in overall tackles!!!

I am not positive what more some folks want out of David Parry. The D-Line was a bit of a shamble this season with losing Langford in Week 7, not having Henry Anderson rebound very well and seeing but yet another unproductive year from Arthur Jones. However, Parry, as a 2nd year player at a position that typically is hard to master, threw up top five stats against guys who, for the most part, other teams had to use much higher draft choices to get.

2016 Stats for Top 3-4 Nose Tackles:

68 tackles / 8 TFL / 7.0 sacks / 2 FF / 23 years old / Drafted #006 overall 2015 / Leonard Williams, NYJ
59 tackles / 1 TFL / 1.5 sacks / 0 FF / 24 years old / Drafted #012 overall 2015 / Danny Shelton, CLE
51 tackles / 3 TFL / 1.0 sacks / 0 FF / 28 years old / Drafted #094 overall 2013 / Brandon Williams, BAL
47 tackles / 1 TFL / 3.0 sacks / 0 FF / 25 years old / Drafted #151 overall 2015 / David Parry, IND
39 tackles / 3 TFL / 3.5 sacks / 0 FF / 27 years old / Drafted #003 overall 2011 / Marcell Dareus, BUF
33 tackles / 3 TFL / 1.0 sacks / 1 FF / 30 years old / Drafted #032 overall 2009 / Ziggy Hood, WAS
29 tackles / 3 TFL / 1.0 sacks / 0 FF / 28 years old / Drafted #028 overall 2013 / Sylvester Williams, DEN
27 tackles / 3 TFL / 2.0 sacks / 0 FF / 24 years old / Drafted #089 overall 2016 / Javon Hargrave, PIT
27 tackles / 1 TFL / 1.5 sacks / 1 FF / 27 years old / Drafted #011 overall 2012 / Dontari Poe, KC

Six 1st round draftees, two 3rd round draftees and one 5th round draftee (“One of these does not look like the others…..”).

Parry was active, he splits double teams fairly well and he slips single blockers with regularity. He reroutes RBs fairly often and if he had more help on the D-Line (or another good rotational 0-Tech NT to keep fresh) he would be even more effective. I don’t want to say that I am ready to crown him “best ever” or something but David Parry was NOT the problem child of the 2016 Colts defense.

The only reason I went down as far as Poe in the above list is because if sounds like a lot of folks are clamoring for the Colts to sign him in order to “fix” our NT position. While I totally agree that getting another quality NT to rotate Parry with would be worthwhile, I don’t know that I think Poe is the “savior” many are making him out to be. Granted, statically, this was Poe’s worst season in terms of tackle numbers (the previous season he had 39) and he could bounce back but he is not the world beater some are making him out to be.

T.Y. McGill / Lavar Edwards / Zach Kerr

None really stood out. McGill did not take a step forward from his solid 2015 season, Edwards has never been more than a rotational player and Kerr also did not take much of a step forward. All three of these guys are pretty much JAG.

McGill went from 11 tackles and 3.0 sacks in 12 games in 2015 to 6 tackles and 2.0 sacks in 13 games in 2016. No progression whatsoever. It seems a LONG time since he was rubbing his belly during the 2015 pre-season as his sack dance. He does have a nose at getting after the QB but does not make many plays in the run game. He is easily replaced.

Edwards was signed during Week 7 of the season after being cut by CAR and played in 5 games (Weeks 7 – 11). In those five weeks, he got 5 tackles and a sack. I don’t remember him much at all so…… For his 4 season career, he is 21 tackles and 2.0 sacks. JAG.

[EDIT] I probably need to be a bit less harsh on Kerr. He moved to pretty much 0-Technique this season and ended up with 19 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 12 games following a 29 tackle, 12 game 2015 season where he played a lot more 5-Technique.

If you annualized his production stats out to a 16 game season, he would have been the 15th most productive 0-Tech NT in terms of # of tackles and the 3rd most productive 0-Tech NT in terms of sacks. As I found in another thread, there were 16 NFL teams running the 3-4 in 2016 so that puts Kerr in the "starter" performance category if annualized. We could probably do worst for a rotational 0-Tech NT slot than Kerr backing up Parry but it would be great to find someone better to rotate Parry with and not spend the RFA tag money on Kerr.

He is an okay rotational NT but I also feel that he is easily replaced.

2017 OUTLOOK:

For having high hopes for the D-Line in 2016, everyone besides David Parry and Hassan Ridgeway (and perhaps Zach Kerr) disappointed. We got very little out of our “high priced” veterans (Jones, Langford) and the younger kids (Anderson, McGill, Kerr) did not take much of a step forward in 2016. It really ended up being a disappointing year.

The only guys that I have confidence in going into 2017 are: Parry, Anderson and Ridgeway and then to a lesser extent Kerr and Langford. Both Kerr and Langford could be upgraded but both also represent the low end of “acceptable” rotational players. Anderson earned the right to another season due to his stellar rookie campaign and Ridgeway played……well, not great, but well as a rookie. Parry just plain kicked it.

We need better players in our front seven. While LB is, BY FAR, the most critical need, if we ended up signing free agents to play LB then I would not be opposed in the least to drafting a D-Lineman early (top 4 rounds). Conversely, I would not be against signing a stud D-Lineman to help out our younger kids. We need better folks.

I think Jones needs to be cut. I have zero confidence that he is part of the solution anymore. I think Kerr needs to be RFA tagged as we don’t have six D-linemen on the roster currently in front of him. Some of the UFAs that I would be interested in bringing in include:

0-Technique = Dontari Poe, KC, Sylvester Williams, DEN, Brandon Williams, BAL

Yes, 3 of the top performing 2016 0-Technique NTs are UFAs this off-season. It might end up that one of them hits the open market and we could end up getting a great 1-2 punch at NT with Parry and a UFA.

Poe is the most likely candidate because KC is in a bit of a cap bind (they only have $2.076m in available cap space and that is NOT counting the typical $8m held for draft classes, spots 52/53 on roster, practice squad and churn space. They are really about $6m underwater right now) and have some big player decisions to make (Eric Berry is also a free agent and is probably rated higher than Poe is on their "must re-sign" list). Both BAL and DEN have the space to easily re-sign their guys if they want them.

5-Technique = Chris Baker, WAS, Jabaal Sheard, NE, Nick Fairley, NO, Kawann Short, Lawrence Guy, BAL, CAR, Terrell McClain, DAL, Evander Hood, WAS, Johnathan Hankins, NYG, Abry Jones, JAX, Tyson Alualu, JAX, Cornelius Washington, CHI.

A mixture of either current 3-4 5-Technique DEs or 4-3 3-Technique DTs which could, if the coaches feel like they can, slide out and learn the 5-Technique DE play in a 3-4. Many of these guys could be, pretty much, one for one replacements for Jones or Langford and, hopefully, bigger upside.

Adding one of the 0-Techniques to give us a rotation of Parry and UFA at NT while also adding a 5-Technique DE in either free agency or the draft to add to Anderson, Ridgeway and Langford could end up having a lot of potential in 2017. I think the key is hoping that Henry Anderson can rebound to rookie form and become a game wrecker from the 5-Tech. Everyone else would become that much more productive if one of our 5s could start demanding a double team to run to their side.

Anyway, we have a nice base for Ballard to work from but we still need more, quality bodies to make the D-Line what we had hoped it could be in 2017.

Next Up, Outside Linebacker.

Cheers,
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Old 02-13-2017, 01:42 PM
FatDT FatDT is offline
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We really need Anderson to get healthy and get back to playing well. If he and Langford can both just get back to 2015-level play, our DL will be fine. Not great, but good enough. We need so much help at OLB and ILB, we can't spend many picks on the DL. The help will have to come from FA and from within.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatDT View Post
We really need Anderson to get healthy and get back to playing well. If he and Langford can both just get back to 2015-level play, our DL will be fine. Not great, but good enough. We need so much help at OLB and ILB, we can't spend many picks on the DL. The help will have to come from FA and from within.
Agreed.

There are not many good OLB that will hit free agency this year, I believe. I don't think there is going to be any help to the defense there.

There are a fair amount of MLB/ILB that might hit the open market and we might be able to sign one to play alongside either a rookie draft pick or a combo of Jackson/Morrison.

However, there are a fair amount of D-Line guys that are going to hit the market and a pretty fair number of Safeties and CBs.

Even though our biggest need is LBs, I think that the free agency class will shape up to be more beneficial to D-line and Secondary than LBs. We will probably have to devote our draft class heavily to the LB corps to get better there.

Cheers,
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