The Success of Colts' Defense Falls on the Shoulders of Their 'Playmaking Triangle'

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For the first time since Colts' defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was hired in 2018, Indianapolis has youth at three of their most important positions on their defense. defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, line backer Darius Leonard and cornerback Kenny Moore make up the "Playmaking Triangle" for the Colts defense. All Colts reporter Philip B. Wilson breaks down the Colts defensive scheme to Madelyn Burke and says why former San Francisco 49er DeForest Buckner is such a key figure. 

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Madelyn Burke: For the first time since Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was hired in 2018, the team has young impact players of the three most important positions in this defensive scheme. Joining me now is SI's Colts reporter Philip B Wilson. Philip, how would you describe this playmaking triangle in Indianapolis?


Philip Wilson: Well, I have to plead ignorance because until the off season here, I didn't know it existed. And then the Colts acquired DeForest Buckner, the All-Pro defensive tackle from San Francisco and all of a sudden I'm studying three technique and and under tackles and playmakers, I'm sure starting some the trends and seeing why they say the Buckner's is the engine that drives a triangle, persay and their triangles. Darious Leonard and then Kenny Moore. Now they're both saying Kenny Moore is a nickel corner. He's a little 5'9 guy. I know, but Kenny and Darius both have speed and they run everything down and they cause fumbles, intercept passes. They love to get sacks. So it starts with Buckner upfront. But with with Moore and Leonard right there, you see how this triangle effect gives offenses a lot to account for when they come to the line of scrimmage.

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Madelyn Burke: How unique is this approach in comparison to other differences across the league?

Philip Wilson: Well, you know, I think I'm used to a 3 for 3 4 where the linebackers are flowing and they're all over the place or even a 4 3 where your front 4 sets the tone. It's interesting in that, you know, I don't know many nickel quarterbacks like Moore that get as much out of their body as he does. I mean, like I said, 5'9, 190, but he always has a nose to the ball. And by design, yeah. Sure. You can have guys like him and Leonard Leonard got 284 four tackles. There's a reason they call him the maniac. OK. Darius has got 284 total tackles in two years. These guys run all over the place to hit everything. And that's ideal. But finding two guys that fit that, maybe a lot of teams have that. What's in their supply in the NFL? Is that awesome? Pass rushing a run, plugging defensive tackle? Who can flourish inside? It's really hard for people who don't know. The three technique means he's lining up over the weak side to try and not draw a great double team with teams after or Buckner. He's the big change. Colts shipped a first round pick to San Francisco to get him in March. That's the big deal. That's how this triangle came about.

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Madelyn Burke: A huge addition in Buckner, indeed, that’s Colts reporter Philip B. Wilson, thank you so much for the insight.

Philip Wilson: Thank you so much. Cheers. 

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