By Kevin Bowen, Colts.com
Perhaps no unit on the Colts roster will take on a new look more in 2012 than the defensive line.
Thanks to a new scheme, a trio of new faces and some positional changes along the front, the line has a multitude of options as the Colts make their way through OTAs this offseason.
One of the first moves the Colts made was signing a pair of former Baltimore Ravens defensive linemen in Brandon McKinney and Cory Redding.
“Anytime you’re dealing with guys who have been in the system, they’re comfortable,” defensive line coach Gary Emmanuel said. “They are like an extra coach in the room. They really help as far as their leadership and that’s the biggest thing.”
Meshing with some new faces are a pair of returning defensive linemen who have shown some flexibility in moving along the new three-man front.
Last season Fili Moala and Drake Nevis both played primarily inside on the defensive line but they will be expected to play the end position in 2012.
“Drake and Fili both are progressing,” Emmanuel said. “They are getting better each time out. They are really improving their technique. They do a great job of picking up the scheme and working hard at the scheme to understand it. I’m extremely pleased with what they’re giving us.”
The Colts turned to the draft to add some more depth on the line when they chose their first defensive player during April’s draft in the fifth round by selecting Alabama defensive tackle Josh Chapman.
It remains to be seen when Chapman will hit the playing field as he finished last season playing with a torn ACL while helping the Crimson Tide to the 2012 National Championship, but his ability to play through pain won’t be questioned.
“He’s tough. He’s physical,” Emmanuel said of Chapman. “He’s been coached hard because coach (Nick) Saban does a great job down there with the personnel. We are really excited about Josh and looking for some great things from him.”
With Chapman and the 350-pound McKinney manning the middle the Colts are starting to add the pieces to a system that has found success throughout the league in the past few years.
McKinney had been apart of the Ravens defense since 2008 and says he is hoping to bring some ‘nastiness’ to the new unit along with helping his teammates learn a fresh system.
“It’s one thing to just go out there and pick it up but it’s another thing to actually want to learn and learn the whole system,” McKinney said.
Tags: brandon mckinney, cory redding, defensive line, gary emmanuel, josh chapman
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