Colts Linebacker Burning Questions Heading Into 2019 Training Camp

Colts Linebacker Burning Questions Heading Into 2019 Training Camp

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Colts Linebacker Burning Questions Heading Into 2019 Training Camp

Our burning questions series is back on 1070TheFan.com. What are the major questions about the linebackers of the Indianapolis Colts going into the 2019 Training Camp?

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INDIANAPOLISWe are less than two weeks away from Training Camp starting for the Indianapolis Colts.

 

A second year of camp at Grand Park will have the Colts on the practice field starting July 25, with 16 open sessions to the public up in Westfield, Indiana.

 

So it’s time to pick back up our ‘burning questions’ series on 1070TheFan.com

 

Here are our burning questions at the linebacker position heading into the 2019 Training Camp:

1. What will Darius Leonard do for an encore?

 

Let’s pause for a second and remember the incredible rookie campaign that Darius Leonard put up in 2018.

 

An NFL-best 163 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, 2 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.

 

It was, unquestionably, one of the greatest defensive seasons we’ve seen in the NFL.

 

Heading into Year Two, Leonard has changed his playing weight to get in the 220 range (he’s listed at 234 pounds, but played around 215 late last year).

 

While it might be difficult for an offense to game plan against a WILL linebacker, you have to think teams will try to do that in 2019 knowing how much Leonard can impact a game.

 

Leonard isn’t shying away from any lofty individual goals for him, and he shouldn’t after an All-Pro rookie season.

2. Will Anthony Walker maintain his starting MIKE linebacker position?

 

When looking at the 22 starters for the Colts in 2019, Anthony Walker vs. Bobby Okereke might be the most competitive head-to-head battle for a starting spot.

 

The MIKE linebacker position was manned by Walker last season, and he was very sound in filling those duties.

 

But the Colts really like what Okereke, a rookie out of Stanford, brings from an athletic standpoint. He looks like a guy that could play a role on passing downs from Day One.

 

Still, Walker was your full-time starting MIKE in 2018 and is a guy that the staff knows is reliable. The Colts were a bit exposed when Walker had to miss time last year.

 

This very well could be a split time duty, if the Colts want to go a little more athletic on the field come third down.

 

Chris Ballard has already stated Walker vs. Okereke will be a ‘heck of a battle’ come Training Camp.

 

3. What will that SAM position look like for the Colts in 2019?

 

This has been a tough question to answer throughout the 2019 offseason.

 

Following the draft, it sounded like the Colts were fully ready to use Ben Banogu at the SAM position, in a newer looking role for that spot.

 

But those plans have been put on hold, with Banogu seeing almost exclusive action at defensive end in the spring.

 

With how the NFL has transitioned into such a pass happy league, teams often hardly even use a third linebacker for more than about 10-20 percent of snaps per game.

 

Unless the Colts played truly run heavy teams in 2018, they tended to shy away from having that third linebacker on the field.

 

This will be something to keep an eye on at camp.

 

 

ICYMI:
-Quarterback Burning Questions
-Running Back Burning Questions
-Wide Receiver Burning Questions
-Tight End Burning Questions
-Offensive Line Burning Questions
-Defensive Line Burning Questions
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