The Indianapolis Colts‘ run defense last year left a lot to be desired on the field and more specifically in the playoffs. They allowed the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots to run all over them in the playoffs, and it became an issue throughout the season. This is a bigger issue because on numerous occasions head coach Chuck Pagano has said that stopping the run is the top priority with this team.
This is where nose tackle Montori Hughes comes into the fold. The former fifth-round pick out of Tennessee-Martin should be split time at the nose tackle position with Josh Chapman. They are both going to be in charge of stopping the run and controlling the line of scrimmage.
The Colts’ defense plays a 3-4 attacking style which means that the nose tackle is responsible for plugging two gaps along the defensive line. Thankfully Hughes weighs 335 pounds, so pushing him around should not be easy. The nose tackle position is not a very flashy position, but it is extremely important. Do not expect Hughes to get a lot of sacks or tackles this year, but if he is able to take up two gaps and allow the linebackers to make the plays then you know he is doing a good job.
Last year Hughes played a limited role with the Colts, but this year should be a different story. With only Hughes and Chapman on the roster, the Colts are going to have to rotate those two players in and out throughout the season.
Hughes’ impact will not be shown on the stat sheet, but if Colts fans see players like D’Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman making tackles in the backfield you know Hughes is doing his job. Hughes cannot allow guards and centers to reach the second level of the defense if they want to be able to stop the run. He has to allow the linebackers to get clean looks on the running backs if the Colts’ run defense is going to improve.