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How Will Changing Defenses Impact Colts Cornerbacks?

We've heard a lot about the front 7 changes coming to the Colts in 2018, but what about the young secondary?

Robin Alam | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – We know the changes coming in the front of the Colts defense in 2018.

The structure is moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3.

Players will be coached to embrace a downhill attacking style, versus reading and reacting, like they were instructed to do in previous years.

Linebacker will be a position group needing an extreme makeover in the next few weeks.

But what about the secondary?

Under Chuck Pagano, the Colts were not afraid to leave their cornerbacks on an island. There, the corners had to excel in man coverage.

Now playing in a Tampa 2 scheme, those defenses typically play more zone, compared to the man coverages in the 3-4 scheme.

“When you play the Tampa 2 scheme, the combination, the breakdown of man to zone can vary, depending on your corners,” Frank Reich says. “I’ve seen Tampa 2 teams play a lot of zone, and then if you’ve got the right corners, you can mix in plenty of man.”

That’s good news for the likes of Rashaan Melvin (a re-sign candidate) and Quincy Wilson (last year’s second-round pick).

Melvin and Wilson are two taller corners who pride themselves in playing on an island and excelling with man-to-man principles.

The thought the Colts were going to need to overhaul their playing style, or even personnel, at corner is not necessary.

“We are still going to have an emphasis on size and ball skills,” GM Chris Ballard says.

Yes, things are changing a lot on the Indy defense.

But the talented back end is still going to be a unit that should not expect to see too much change in what they will be asked to do.

“Instincts, ball skills, striking, tackling all those are going to be traits that we look for in our corners,” Ballard says.

Trying to predict what the starting defense will look like for the Colts in 2018 is anyone’s guess with guys like Rashaan Melvin, Johnathan Hankins and even Jon Bostic exiting.
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