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Superman

PFF rates Colts secondary #32

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https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-nfl-secondary-rankings-all-32-teams-entering-2018

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We’ve been going through the top units across the NFL over the past few weeks, including our oft-talked about offensive line rankings, our defensive unit rankings on pass-rush and run-defense, but now we turn our attention to the secondaries.

 

This is the one area of the football field that you can’t fake. If you don’t have the talent on the back end, your defense is in for a long season. Whereas the teams at the top of these rankings only need a competent offense to write their ticket to the playoffs.

 

...

 

32. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Projected starting lineup:

Starting cornerback: Quincy Wilson, 78.6 grade
Safety: Malik Hooker, 77.3
Safety: Clayton Geathers, 73.0
Starting cornerback: Pierre Desir, 48.7
Nickel cornerback: Nate Hairston, 46.9

If you’re not a Colts fan, you may not even recognize some of the names that will be getting playing time at corner in Indy this season. Outside of last year’s second-round pick – Wilson – who had a 78.6 overall grade in 402 snaps, the Colts will be throwing out the likes of Desir, Hairston, Kenny Moore and D.J. White. Even though none of them are rookies, the five have played only a combined 2,430 snaps in their careers.

 

 

I've been pushing back on what I think are some pretty stupid projections regarding the Colts the past couple weeks. Here's another lowly ranking from a media outlet, and I'm going to ... actually, I agree with them here.

 

First, I'm not all about PFF grades, they're subjective just like anyone else's, but they actually watch, grade, re-grade and publish their results, unlike anyone else. I don't do that, and I can't grade every secondary in the NFL, so I'm not really going to get into whether the Colts actually have the worst secondary in the league. (I definitely disagree on Hairston's grade, but that's not important.)

 

But the secondary is probably the most unproven unit on the team (maybe LB is less proven). The Colts appear to be ready to rely on a young group of corners, most of whom have never played at a high level in the NFL. The projected #1 CB -- Wilson -- was nailed to the bench most of last season, presumably due to lack of professionalism. The two best players in the secondary -- Geathers and Hooker, IMO -- are on PUP to start camp, which unfortunately isn't new for either of them, so who knows whether either of them are reliable. The most athletic player -- Green -- is a guy who has bounced between two positions and struggles with fundamentals at both spots.

 

Thankfully, I think the secondary has a lot of upside, and I don't think outside corner is a premium spot in this defense. It's good to have good corners, but they don't need to be upper tier cover guys, they need to be fast and good tacklers, and I think we have that. I also think there's still a chance for Green, and if Hooker and Geathers can get on the field sooner than later, safety might become a position of strength. There's also an outside chance that a veteran DB gets added at some point in the next week or so, which might help.

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I agree...and well said. Colts were 32nd last year in EXP for passing defenses at -136 (according to Pro Football Reference), Y/A and Y/C. And then Ballard did essentially nothing to upgrade (or even offset losses of) the secondary from last season. Not to mention the current injuries. 

 

We can hope that the new scheme will improve the pass defense...but we can't assume it will...especially since this is the first year for it.

 

I would really like to see some depth added at both CB and S when cut downs happen...but they might be rolling with who they have.

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Here's a bit more optimistic view on our secondary by Ian Wharhon(he specializes in evaluating cornerbacks): 

 

 

 

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We're going to go through our growing pains. We are relying on so many young, unproven players, especially in the secondary. My expectations for the secondary is very low. I hope they all can get on the field, stay on the field and learn fast.

 

We'll need them to play at a higher level moving forward.

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They aren't last in the NFL.  The biggest issue this secondary has is that the two most talented players (and the 2 most improtant players) are injured and seem like injuries will be common for both. If Geathers and Hooker play to potential together this secondary will have be a top 15 unit. 

 

It would definitely help to have Breeland but I'm not concerned with the corners.  With great safety play they will look better via scheme alone.  My biggest worry is the middle.  

 

I still have the linebackers at a worse spot than the secondary mainly because the skill ceiling is relatively low in comparison to just the team around them and is terribly low compared to the rest of the AFC.  And that is with me being a huge fan of Leonard but he's gonna have no one next to him. Unless Walker sheds 20 pounds and finds the instincts of 5 years ago this is going to be a long season for Leonard because he's on an island out there. The 2 rookies could surprise though I just don't expect it until I see some linebacker development (and to be fair that is extremely biased because of the last regime). 

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i agree with most of their grades in a vacuum, but you also cant ignore hooker's potential.  3 interceptions in his first 7 starts is noteworthy, especially when you look at what he did in just one year at ohio state.  he is good at things that cant be coached and needs to work on the things that can be taught 

 

geathers didnt do much of anything last year, hard to grade him any higher than they did.  i think he was in the 80s the year before 

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The Colts secondary was a problem going into the off season and has not been addressed since.  Even if Melvin was on the roster, the secondary would have still needed to be addressed. 

 

Hooker and Geathers are coming off injuries, and I'm not convinced either has proven themselves when healthy anyway.  Fairley is a nice player, but sort of as a Darius Butler backup type.

 

Wilson our #1?  Desir?  Neither is proven.  I probably have the most confidence in Hairston over any CB we have, and he was a 5th round rookie last year playing the slot.

 

Green and anybody else is not hardly worth mentioning.

 

I don't know about #32, primarily because I don't know the status of every other team's secondary, but the Colts secondary stinks.   At least on paper.

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11 hours ago, Surge89 said:

They aren't last in the NFL.  The biggest issue this secondary has is that the two most talented players (and the 2 most improtant players) are injured and seem like injuries will be common for both. If Geathers and Hooker play to potential together this secondary will have be a top 15 unit. 

 

It would definitely help to have Breeland but I'm not concerned with the corners.  With great safety play they will look better via scheme alone.  My biggest worry is the middle.  

 

I still have the linebackers at a worse spot than the secondary mainly because the skill ceiling is relatively low in comparison to just the team around them and is terribly low compared to the rest of the AFC.  And that is with me being a huge fan of Leonard but he's gonna have no one next to him. Unless Walker sheds 20 pounds and finds the instincts of 5 years ago this is going to be a long season for Leonard because he's on an island out there. The 2 rookies could surprise though I just don't expect it until I see some linebacker development (and to be fair that is extremely biased because of the last regime). 

 

Sorry....   I don’t understand the Walker reference...    he’s 242.    That can’t be a problem.

 

He got bigger in college but lost that extra weight when he came to the Colts.    I’m not aware Walker has a weight issue currently.

 

Can you explain your thinking?   Thanks.

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I don't know if they are last or not but they have yet to prove they are a formidable unit.  Lots of upside but that's about it.  With the report of a second Breeland visit and our continued tabs on the FA safety market has me believing Ballard is not done with adding players to our secondary. That meaning more than one.  I think relative inexperience and lingering injury issues makes it prudent to do so. 

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7 minutes ago, richard pallo said:

I don't know if they are last or not but they have yet to prove they are a formidable unit.  Lots of upside but that's about it.  With the report of a second Breeland visit and our continued tabs on the FA safety market has me believing Ballard is not done with adding players to our secondary. That meaning more than one.  I think relative inexperience and lingering injury issues makes it prudent to do so. 

 

We have been down this road before, even with elite pass rushers like Freeney and Mathis on the roster. We tried to prop up talents like Nick Harper, Jason David etc. and once we invested a bit with the first 2 picks, while continuing to play a similar system like what Eberflus will be coaching, in Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden, I felt our secondary started making more plays.

 

We still need to invest in good talent, no matter the system, and I do not believe we have a talented unit. I am not going to go doomsday on us but without an established pass rush, we cannot prop up average talent and hide them well. That goes without saying.

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18 minutes ago, chad72 said:

 

We have been down this road before, even with elite pass rushers like Freeney and Mathis on the roster. We tried to prop up talents like Nick Harper, Jason David etc. and once we invested a bit with the first 2 picks, while continuing to play a similar system like what Eberflus will be coaching, in Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden, I felt our secondary started making more plays.

 

We still need to invest in good talent, no matter the system, and I do not believe we have a talented unit. I am not going to go doomsday on us but without an established pass rush, we cannot prop up average talent and hide them well. That goes without saying.

 

Ehh, I think better players play better (rocket science, I know). Nick Harper was a UDFA that pre-dated the Dungy era. Jason David was an undersized mid round pick who was thrust into the starting lineup. He made some plays himself, but he always had a low ceiling.

 

Hayden and Jackson were the big, tackling machine corners that Dungy's system needed. I don't think it was about their draft status (although better players generally go higher; again, rocket science), it was more about them fitting the profile. 

 

I actually think there's some talent in the secondary already. Even at corner. Wilson is a good young prospect. Desir has some talent himself. Hairston was a later pick but he played well as a rookie and has desirable traits himself. They all fit the profile -- 6'+, 200 pounds, long, willing tacklers, good closing speed. 

 

But I think a lot of the time we're looking at what the secondary did last year -- Stitches posted some numbers earlier, lots of blown coverages, too many big plays, too many touchdowns, etc. -- and saying 'we didn't add any better players, the secondary will continue to struggle.' That secondary struggled in a much more difficult scheme, and IMO, the players are better fits for the new scheme. I'm not saying we have the new Legion of Boom, but scheme fit is a big deal for corners.

 

I agree with you, though, without a good pass rush, the secondary won't be able to hold up. They're definitely not good enough to be expected to carry the defense if the front doesn't play well. 

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Between the LB's and the secondary, this defense is nothing but a question mark. This didn't quell my notion that this might be (likely) a mediocre season.

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45 minutes ago, The Fish said:

Between the LB's and the secondary, this defense is nothing but a question mark. This didn't quell my notion that this might be (likely) a mediocre season.

  A question mark is just that: we don’t know what  the secondary will look like (in terms of starters) or play like. To assume they will be great, mediocre or stink, is jumping the gun.

   I know that I have seen some great ( yes, I said great ) play from Hooker, Desir, Hairston, Geathers, Wilson and even Moore. Maybe not consistently, but that’s what they’re working on and experience helps. The secondary at times, looked out-of-step and I wonder if some of that is just due to inexperience.   More pressure up front will help. 

    The secondary group is often criticized because mistakes are so catastrophic. And I’m expecting another piece. But I think there is some talent there.

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Better pass rusher makes for better defensive backfield play. Man there's so many "what ifs" on this team.  I think the so called experts will be right on some and completely wrong when projecting record, positions, etc for the colts. If all the "what ifs" fall in place were going to surprise a lot of people. If only half the issues bare fruit we'll be a decent team. If none of the "what ifs" pan out we're last years team. That's what makes this season so exciting. 

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The problem with the talent in the secondary is that two of the big pieces are coming off of significant injury, and in places that matter to their position.  The bashing SS has a neck, and the centerfielder has a knee.  How well can Geathers attack and how fast can Hooker run?

 

This is a "lets see what we've got" year all over the place, with the secondary fitting that description as well as any unit.  The issue I see is that, unlike other units, no high quality fresh talent was added to a unit that was questionable last year..

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I can't say I'm worried about the talent in the secondary. Like a few posters have mentioned, this defensive scheme relies on a pass rush. If you can't get pressure on the QB, you will get picked apart in a Tampa 2. The Colts defense was historically bad against the pass last year because they couldn't get to the QB (yea different coach and different scheme but same issue.) The veteran additions along the D-Line can get to the QB. The rookie additions along the D-Line can get to the QB or at least could in college. It's still wait and see for me but I do like the pieces that are in place. Although the Colts could use a couple of more pieces on D, I don't think they're that far off from a personnel stand point. 

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So what I'm reading in this thread is most agree our secondary is rightfully ranked at or near the bottom.

Our linebacking corps may be a bigger liability than our secondary AND we're not expected to generate much of a pass rush.

 

But if anybody in the national media picks us to win less than 8 games is crazy! Lol

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1 hour ago, DougDew said:

The problem with the talent in the secondary is that two of the big pieces are coming off of significant injury, and in places that matter to their position.  The bashing SS has a neck, and the centerfielder has a knee.  How well can Geathers attack and how fast can Hooker run?

 

This is a "lets see what we've got" year all over the place, with the secondary fitting that description as well as any unit.  The issue I see is that, unlike other units, no high quality fresh talent was added to a unit that was questionable last year..

 

Excellent points.

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3 hours ago, LJpalmbeacher2 said:

So what I'm reading in this thread is most agree our secondary is rightfully ranked at or near the bottom.

Our linebacking corps may be a bigger liability than our secondary AND we're not expected to generate much of a pass rush.

 

But if anybody in the national media picks us to win less than 8 games is crazy! Lol

 

We are obviously expecting to win some shootouts :D

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The theme of the Colts for awhile has been question marks. Players are either unproven, injured, or have limited upside. The LB core should equally ranked as low, but the secondary has nothing but question marks, injured players, and guys with limited upside. The ranking is right IMO

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9 hours ago, NewColtsFan said:

 

Sorry....   I don’t understand the Walker reference...    he’s 242.    That can’t be a problem.

 

He got bigger in college but list that extra weight when he came to the Colts.    I’m not aware Walker has a weight issue currently.

 

Can you explain your thinking?   Thanks.

 

So at Northwestern he played closer to 230 than 250 his sophomore year which is his best year of football.  He hasn't been close to that weight since.  If he wants to be anywhere close to that 120 tackle hype machine again he needs to play closer to 230 than 250.

 

So yes 242 IMO is a problem for him.  He has the potential if you watch his sophomore tape he ran around like a more coverage refined Rueben Foster. But since then he has looked like a 7th round pick.

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The good and the bad of this team this year, is the unknown. Guys with little or no experience, and even for those that were here before playing in a new scheme. Leaves analysts many of whom have never played football at a high level "speculating" on what to expect. It's fun to talk about but it really means nothing, there are a lot of unknowns on this team this year. On paper we can be better than people think......and I hope we are.......but we could also be worse than people think too as all the player/scheme/coaching gel together. I think if we are going to be clunky it might be the first few weeks out of the gate, but I believe the team will come around. I base that belief not on a body of work,  because again there is no body of work to draw from, but on the character and personality of the coach, and by extension coordinators and GM.  It should be a fun season to watch, and here is to little or none in the "growing pains" dept.

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  Colts | Shamarko Thomas working out for Colts    Wed Jul 25, 08:09 AM

Free-agent SS Shamarko Thomas (Bills) is working out for the Indianapolis Colts Wednesday, July 25.

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Shamarko Thomas player page

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The biggest concern, IMO, is definitely the health of Hooker and Geathers. Looking at our secondary years ago when we played this scheme, our safeties were the key to the defense (as well as our pass rush obviously). We have a lot of intriguing guys in our secondary that have shown flashes. I look at it this way, if even half of the talent shows in our guys, we should be in decent shape. We couldn't fix everything in one off season obviously, and protecting Luck was number 1 priority. Hooker looks like the real deal and IF healthy he will make a big impact. Wilson is really the biggest question mark. He had some pretty good games with some struggles on top of that. It appears he learned his lesson with his maturity, but we will see. I don't give much weight to national rankings, most don't know much about our players anyways. We have some talent (a couple second round players, and a top 15 pick), it's just a matter of how quickly they can pick up the scheme and play to their potential. If they can hold down the secondary and get in the 18-25 range in rankings we will have a fighting chance with our offense already looking better. 

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Secondary will look better if do the Breeland signing.

 

Breeland

Wilson

Hairston

Desir

Kenny Moore

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ESPN Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher is reporting that Breeland has been seen at Chiefs practice today.  Very unusual unless deal is imminent.  Not looking good. 

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11 minutes ago, richard pallo said:

ESPN Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher is reporting that Breeland has been seen at Chiefs practice today.  Very unusual unless deal is imminent.  Not looking good. 

Who said it was unusual?  You or did the reporter say that?  I mean anybody with training camp going on right now I think if you were there to see how the team fit you it would be wise to see the practice I think.   I could be wrong on this certainly.

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12 minutes ago, krunk said:

Who said it was unusual?  You or did the reporter say that?  I mean anybody with training camp going on right now I think if you were there to see how the team fit you it would be wise to see the practice I think.   I could be wrong on this certainly.

Teicher said it was unusual.

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We have 50 mil. to spend yet. I tend to think we will sign possibly 2 more corners. Maybe another linebacker or 2 I hope.

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22 hours ago, Superman said:

32. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

 

And Andrew is going to make them look like the 33rd-ranked secondary over the next few weeks!   haha

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Speculating here, but the last place he signed(carolina) they had a franchise QB and they played the scheme he was used to in college.  KC is built pretty good but they do lack a Franchise QB. along with being a Man to Man defense.   Although Mahomes does have some talent.  Oh well we shall see

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18 hours ago, chad72 said:

 

We are obviously expecting to win some shootouts :D

 

How about if we put the defense on the field with 37 seconda left and a 2 point lead, I think maybe they're good enough to not give up 50 yards in three plays, and can put the game away. 

 

So if they're slightly better than 2016's defense, which couldn't stop anyone in any situation, and if the offense is good with Luck, then 8-8 isn't unreasonable at all. Even with a bad secondary. 

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31 minutes ago, Superman said:

 

How about if we put the defense on the field with 37 seconda left and a 2 point lead, I think maybe they're good enough to not give up 50 yards in three plays, and can put the game away. 

 

So if they're slightly better than 2016's defense, which couldn't stop anyone in any situation, and if the offense is good with Luck, then 8-8 isn't unreasonable at all. Even with a bad secondary. 

Omg.  I do not like that scenario.  With such a young secondary I wouldn’t be shocked to see either a missed assignment and a long completion or a penalty flag for the same result.  

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2 hours ago, Fluke_33 said:

Omg.  I do not like that scenario.  With such a young secondary I wouldn’t be shocked to see either a missed assignment and a long completion or a penalty flag for the same result.  

 

That scenario is directly from the opener against the Lions in 2016. Mike Adams was still the starting safety, I think Melvin and Cromartie (or maybe Patrick Robinson?) started at corner.

 

My point is just that the secondary wasn't good in 2016 either, overall, situationally, whatever. The team still won 8 games, and that's with Luck at 75%. So I don't think an inexperienced secondary has to doom this team to a losing record.

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17 hours ago, Superman said:

 

That scenario is directly from the opener against the Lions in 2016. Mike Adams was still the starting safety, I think Melvin and Cromartie (or maybe Patrick Robinson?) started at corner.

 

My point is just that the secondary wasn't good in 2016 either, overall, situationally, whatever. The team still won 8 games, and that's with Luck at 75%. So I don't think an inexperienced secondary has to doom this team to a losing record.

Ah yes I remember it well (now that you reminded me)

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