Colts Know That Finding Pass Rush Help Is Top Need


Colts Know That Finding Pass Rush Help Is Top Need

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Colts Know That Finding Pass Rush Help Is Top Need

Chris Ballard has stated his clear need for the Colts moving forward. What did Ballard have to say about the pass rush?

Joe Robbins | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – According to Chris Ballard, his biggest need for the Colts differs from how the fans are viewing things.

“Receiver,” is what Ballard believes the fans want.

That’s what Ballard said to 1070TheFan's Dan Dakich last week, when asked about the team’s biggest need in the 2019 offseason

But Ballard points to the defensive side of the ball where the Colts need improvement.

“I want to continue to add defensively, to the talent level on defense,” Ballard said on 1070 The Fan last week.

“I still believe you win games with good defenses. (Scoring) was at a record pace with the numbers. It’s incredible what offenses are doing. But I just think there’s points in the season, where you get into the playoffs, you are going to have to stop people. You have to get stops. That eventually is what is going to allow us to get over the hump."

When pressed further about what specifically needs the most attention defensively, Ballard pointed to the pass rush.

Even though Ballard was pleased with how his defensive line played in 2018, he knows there was something missing.

“I thought our front played good football, but having a dominant, dominant edge rusher, which is almost like that wideout we talk about, it’s not easy to find, we have to find him,” Ballard says.

“When will we find him? Maybe the draft this year, maybe free agency. We will keep searching and throwing darts to try and find the right traits in that rusher.”

The draft this year does offer a deeper defensive line group.

While free agency has some intriguing names (Dee Ford-Kansas City, Demarcus Lawrence-Dallas and Jadeveon Clowney-Houston), the odds of those guys actually hitting the open market are rarer as the NFL evolves into such a pass-happy league.

But that doesn’t mean the Colts can’t find one.

They need to exhaust the resources available this offseason to try and bolster the individual pass rushing talent up front.

The Colts finished 2018 ranked 21st in sacks per pass attempt. Only two playoffs teams finished behind Indianapolis.

When it came to edge pass rushers, soon-to-be 30-year-old Jabaal Sheard led the Colts with 5.5 sacks, a number that other playoff teams laughed at. When the Colts got home to opposing QBs this past season, it was often a result of stunts or games being run, or even the interior part of the rush. The individual edge presence was lacking.

Banking on Kemoko Turay (4.0 sacks as a rookie) definitely growing into that guy is a risk that can’t be taken just yet. Plus, you can never have enough pass rushers.

“In this league,” Ballard says, “when you can have a dominant rusher that the other team really has to on Monday come in and game plan for, and really more than one, to me, you want two or three along the front. That would be the No. 1 priority in my mind going forward.”

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