Chuck Pagano Assembling Flexible Defense with Indianapolis Colts

By Thomas Emerick
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Chuck Pagano‘s massive defensive overhaul went more smoothly than expected in 2012 as the Indianapolis Colts climbed from the league basement to playoff surprise, but it still didn’t resemble a unit that could take them deep into the postseason. Due to the lack of talent and difficulty in transitioning from a 4-3 to Pagano’s preferred 3-4, this is understandable.

Now in year two Pagano has more of the ingredients he needs for his defensive recipe.

“We can do a lot of what you call exotic-type of things going into year two where coming in here changing over from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and doing the things you want to do on third down,” said Pagano, via the Associated Press.

“Year one to year two will be huge because of just familiarity and you are going to be able to expand and get after the quarterback in a lot of different ways.”

While this unit does seemingly boast more versatility with players like defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois, it’s hard for outsiders not to be skeptical of the true quality of these defensive additions.

LaRon Landry received a Pro Bowl nod in 2012 but hadn’t stayed healthy in prior years. Greg Toler looked good when on the field last season but only recorded 308 total snaps behind Patrick Peterson (1,071) and William Gay (1034) with the Arizona Cardinals.

Then there’s the Erik Walden signing, which was Pro Football Focus’ lowest-graded deal: See Green Bay Packers‘ playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

But if Indy is to take the next postseason step in 2013, it will need to improve upon the league’s 6th-ranked defense.

Thomas Emerick is a Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEmerick, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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