Join Date: May 2004
Indy defense wants to build off postseason model
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- This time last year, defense was going to stop the Indianapolis Colts. Their own defense.
Not physical enough to win in the playoffs was the criticism and, for a while, it appeared to be valid.
Then, an improbable postseason turnaround on defense changed everything. It gave Indy a new image, new jewelry and a boost of confidence players hope translates into more consistency in 2007.
"We're playing fast and playing smart, and I think we're a lot further along right now than we were this time last year," middle linebacker Gary Brackett said Sunday. "We built some confidence last season in the playoffs, so we wanted to get some things established during the preseason, and I think we did that."
Believing you're a top defense is one thing, proving it is quite another and the Colts' won't have to wait long for their first big test.
They open Thursday night against New Orleans, a team that has all the trimmings from last season's top-ranked offense. There's Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees and perennial 1,000-yard rusher Deuce McAllister. There's Reggie Bush, one of the NFL's most exciting young players, and a cadre of dangerous receivers that includes last year's surprise rookie Marques Colston and this year's first-round pick Robert Meachem.
Outside of practice, Indy's defense may not face a tougher opponent all season.
Still, players are eager to show this year's defense will look more like last season's 2006 playoff model than the 2006 regular-season jalopy.
"The thing is we want to play like we did in the playoffs," cornerback Kelvin Hayden said. "That's the key, to play that way."
Duplicating their playoff run, though, comes with challenges.
Former Pro Bowl linebacker Cato June and starting cornerbacks Jason David and Nick Harper left in free agency. David, in fact, will be on the opposite sideline Thursday night as a Saints' starter.
I have a hard time thinking their defense will continue to build from post season.was an incredible run that defense did for what it really is, Manning and crew are their best defense