New Orleans Saints: Breaking down the Colts’ key defensive players
The Colts defense isn’t great, however, they do have three-star players that the New Orleans Saints will have to account for on every single snap.
If the New Orleans Saints limit the impact of these three players, they’ll likely have similar success offensively as they did last week as there are weaknesses to be exploited against the Colts’ defense.
I expect Thomas to have another 100+ yard performance, and to put himself in a position going into the final two games to break Marvin Harrison’s record of 143 of receptions in a season- Thomas currently has 121.
Darius Leonard was drafted in the second round of the 2017 draft out of South Carolina. He had a historically good rookie season, culminating in an all-pro selection. He has arguably upped his game this season and is one of the best inside LBs in the league.
He is a tackle and turnover machine. Keep an eye on number 53 throughout the game as he will consistently be making plays.
The Colts send a blitz that resembles cover 0 as they send one extra blitzer than the Bucs have blocking (7 vs 6). However, Malik Hooker, the Colts’ very good free safety, is playing deep, meaning that the Colts are leaving a Bucs’ receiver uncovered.
This is obviously risky, but it’s something teams are willing to do between their 20-40 yard line (the ball is at the Colts’ 28 here). The three extra rushers are taught to disengage if their blocked and to drop back in coverage as the play is designed to get a free rusher to the QB.
Leonard gets picked up by the Bucs’ center, Ryan Jensen, giving Colts’ safety Khari Willis a free lane to the QB. After getting blocked Leonard subsequently disengages, dropping back into coverage.
Winston thinks he has an open receiver as he doesn’t pick up Leonard dropping back, and Leonard does the rest. This was one of the best defensive plays I’ve seen all season.
The first interception was almost all Darius Leonard; this one is more Jameis being Jameis. For some reason Jameis either doesn’t realize that Leonard is dropping back to clog up the throwing lane or believes he can throw it over him; I’m not sure which is worse.
Anyway, Leonard still made a great play as he had to read Winston’s eyes all the way and make the catch.