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Revisiting the subject: Can Colts be known as a defensive team?

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by NewsGrabber, Dec 11, 2008.

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    Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky During training camp, the question circulated through Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind. where the Colts hold training camp.

    It was a camp kind of consideration, a somewhat quirky, offbeat thought:

    Coming off a season in which their defense actually ranked better than their much ballyhooed offense, could the Colts ever actually come to be regarded as defensive football team?

    Here's what I wrote on the subject then, which included this from cornerback Kevlin Hayden:

    "I think that day will come. We'll be equal. Right now, even though we had a good year last year, we're not equal. And we shouldn't be. That was one season. We've got to come out here and prove that we can do it again. We want to actually prove that we can be even better."

    Because of the names and dollars on the offensive side of the ball, odds are during the remainder of the Peyton Manning era the Colts will continue to be known as an offensive team.

    But in his story this morning, Phil Richards gave us a lot of info as to why that's not the case right now.

    The Colts defense that will take on Detroit (0-13) on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium hasn't permitted a touchdown in the past eight quarters. It isn't a suffocating, dominating, knock-you-out-of-the-stadium kind of unit like Pittsburgh's or Baltimore's, but a tough-minded, effective one.

    "I think people look at us and our size and they're always going to feel like people can run the ball on us," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "We don't play, necessarily, to have those kinds of stats, great run stats or great third-down stats.

    "We're playing for points allowed and takeaways. It's a little bit different style. We're never going to be a team that just smothers people and only gives up 10 or 12 first downs a game and 200 yards. We just don't play that way."

    Nowhere is that more evident than on third down. The Colts convert an NFL-best 49.1 percent of their third downs, while allowing opponents to convert at a 48.3 percent clip, the worst third-down defense in the league.

    But scoring is the most important number in the game, and inÂ*scoring, the Colts are seventh defensively (19.5 points per game) and 19th on offense (22.5 ppg).

    In yardage, the Colts are also better on defense, ranking 12th and yielding 316.8 yards per game. On offense, they are 20th and gaining 320.1 ypg.

    The Colts have ranked better in scoring defense than scoring and in overall defenseÂ*than overall offense only twice since Manning became their quarterback in 1998. If the current numbers hold through three more games, this will be the third time and the second in a row.

    If they're not known as a defensive football team, the Colts should at least be known as a balanced one.Â*



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