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Scouting report: Colts' pass defense

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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Here is Pete Dougherty's scouting report on the Colts' pass defense based on interviews with coaches and scouts: The Colts’ most telling defensive stat is their defensive passer rating, which at 102.5 ranks No. 28 in the NFL. For the last decade they’ve had one of the best duos of outside rushers in Dwight Freeney (6-1, 268) and Robert Mathis (6-2, 245), though they’re aging and making the move from defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker. Freeney, 32, injured an ankle in the first quarter of the opener against Chicago, and after he left the game the Colts’ defense collapsed. He hasn’t played since but is expected back this week. He’s had double-digit sacks in seven his 10 previous NFL seasons and remains a player to fear, though he’s become more of a power rusher with great counter moves than the lightning speed rusher he was earlier in his career. Mathis, 31, has 87˝ sacks in his 10 seasons — Freeney has 102˝ in one more year — and is adjusting well to the new scheme. The Colts don’t ask him to cover much, and he has 4˝ sacks in three games. He’s had a sore knee but is expected to play. The Colts were weak in the secondary even before recent injuries to starting cornerback Vontae Davis (ankle) and backup Justin King (groin), both of whom probably won’t play this week. Jerraud Powers (5-10, 187), their best cover man, is aggressive and likes to jump routes. Josh Gordy (5-11, 195), whom the Packers cut at the end of camp in 2011, might be a starter, and Darius Butler, a former No. 2 pick who was a bust for New England, was signed off the street before last week’s bye and could be the nickel back. Antoine Bethea (5-11, 196) is the better of the two safeties, though he and Tom Zbikowski (5-11, 200) are big hitters.

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