After all the work the Indianapolis Colts, general manager Chris Ballard, defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, and defensive line coach Brian Baker put in trying to rebuild a Colts' pass rush, the returns through two weeks have not been up to par.
Watching Denico Autry leave for the Tennessee Titans, and Justin Houston eventually sign with the Baltimore Ravens, the Colts invested heavily in first-round draft pick Kwity Paye, second-round draft pick Dayo Odeyingbo, and signed veteran free agents Al-Quadin Muhammad and Isaac Rochell in hopes of putting together a formidable pass rush once again in Indianapolis.
While Odeyingbo remains on injured reserve, the returns on Paye, Rochell, Muhammad and increased development in Kemoko Turay and Ben Banogu hasn't quite paid off yet as the Colts have just 1.5 sacks from the defensive ends — all of which came from Muhammad, who also leads the defensive ends in quarterback hits with two.
Knowing how the pass rush has struggled overall, Eberflus stated Tuesday that the group needs to be better and create more four-man pressure, allowing the Colts to drop more into coverage and take away throwing lanes.
“We’re evaluating every single week. We need to get better," Eberflus said to reporters Tuesday. "We need to have more pressure with our front four. Those guys are working at that, staying on edges, working their games, working our straight rush. Every individual man is working their individual speed rush, speed to power, all the different techniques that we’re teaching. We’re always going to want more there, and we certainly need more. It’s going to help the entire defense when we get that.
“I thought we improved in a couple of areas in Week 2. I thought the positive side of it, the run defense was better. I thought we tackled better, not perfectly yet, but I think we did those things well. I think we’re doing a lot of good things there," Eberflus added. "I thought some other guys played better football in terms of a whole group. We put some good snaps together there in the first half and the second half. We had some good three-and-outs, I think it was four or five, four or less plays that we got three-and-outs. We had the takeaway on the two plays. There was some good progress there going forward and that’s no different with our pass rush.”
If the Colts want to snap a two-game losing streak to open the 2021 season on Sunday in Tennessee against the AFC South rival Titans, they'll need much more from the young pass rushers up front, especially against a team that has allowed nine sacks through two games.
Have thoughts on the Colts needing more from their pass rushers on Sunday against the Titans? Drop a line in the comments section below letting us know how you feel!