The NFL is the ultimate copycat league. And for a team that went 2-14 last season, it’s important to find a successful franchise to emulate.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who while coordinating the defense in Baltimore witnessed first hand the challenges of dealing with the two top-end tight ends on the Patriots roster, hopes to put together a similar attack in Indianapolis.
“It is a match-up nightmare,” Pagano said Saturday, via comments circulated by the team. “Coming off of the AFC Championship game, nobody knew better than the Ravens going into that game with the two guys [Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez] that [the Patriots] have. It is across the league. You can see it more and more every year.
“You can choose to put a defensive back on them, and they will be undersized, they will get outmuscled and they will get ‘big-boyed’ for the ball. Then you can put a safety or a linebacker on them and they can’t run with them. So we feel like the two guys that we added, and Dominique [Jones] is a physical presence, that guy is 260 pounds and moving around really well. It is a match-up nightmare for any defense.”
The two guys the Colts added are Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, taken in the second-round and third-round, respectively, of last weekend’s draft.
Quarterback Andrew Luck took it an extra step. “With three tight ends, do you put an extra safety in [the box] and try to stop the run or do you leave your regular defense in?” Luck said. “How do you do it? How do you match-up with those guys? Do you put a linebacker on them to cover them when they split out wide? So I think it creates mismatches.”
That would be a nice change for the Colts, given that they typically were on the wrong side of the mismatches in 2011.