Gus Bradley sees Colts’ pass rush coming along

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Throughout the better part of the last decade, the pass rush for the Indianapolis Colts has been inconsistent at best.

With a new scheme arriving under the lead of defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, and some new pieces coming in as well, the hope is that the Colts’ pass rush will be able to make a difference moving forward.

Through two weeks of training camp, which included two padded practices, Bradley has seen encouraging flashes that the unit is on the right track.

“Well, we’re always going to ask more of them, right? But I thought there were some good rushes. We’re able to see it in one-on-one, but it’s one of those things – like a two-minute thing that we had where it’s play-after-play, that mentality to have that,” Bradley told reporters Thursday. “So, we’re building it. It’s a work in progress. You see flashes. Like we said, (DeForest) Buckner, you see his flashes, Yannick (Ngakoue) I thought had some flashes, Kwity (Paye). So, we just need to continue to develop that.”

The pass rush for the Colts has often been a reason for late-game losses in recent seasons. The 2021 campaign saw that to an extreme. While former quarterback Carson Wentz was as much to blame for some of the struggles the team had last year, we should be putting equal blame on the lack of pass rush.

It was evident in the games that the Colts couldn’t finish with their pass rush. Even when they had leads—like Week 5 against the Baltimore Ravens—the pass rush was nowhere to be found.

Then in the final month of the season, the unit simply couldn’t grasp any momentum to help clinch a playoff spot.

Things are (hopefully) different now. Bradley’s scheme is far more aggressive than that of former defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, even if it still relies on the notion of getting home with four rushers.

The Colts also brought in one of the most consistent edge rushers in the NFL since 2016 in Yannick Ngakoue, who hasn’t recorded fewer than 8.0 sacks in a season since entering the league. The emergence of second-year defenders Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyinbgo would also go a long way.

Bradley himself is looking for a core group of eight pass rushers considering how they want to use the rotation.

“Looking at these guys, putting them in different positions to see how they fit. And remember we’re trying to go eight, we’re doing everything we can to find eight guys,” Bradley said. “That fourth-quarter rush as I mentioned before is so critical in this game. So, to find out guys, where they can be in certain situations, how we can play them to keep the whole group fresh.”

The pass rush is relying on a lot of factors going into the 2022 season and if the Colts are going to be serious contenders, this unit must come together in a big way.

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Story originally appeared on Colts Wire