INDIANAPOLIS — Cohesion. That’s the word the keeps coming up when coach Jim Caldwell and many of the team’s players are asked about the turnaround of the Indianapolis Colts’ defensive unit.
A lot of the credit for the play of the defense in recent weeks, especially in the Colts’ wins over Tennessee and Houston, has been the elevation of linebackers coach Mike Murphy to interim defensive coordinator.
Murphy had never been a coordinator at the NFL level prior to taking over Indianapolis’ defense, although he did handle the duties as a college assistant coach and in the Canadian Football League.
“[The Colts’ defense] been doing a better job of playing with a bit more cohesion. They’ve certainly been playing fast. Things are a bit simpler for them, and they don’t have to think about a whole lot. So you let them sort of use their God-given ability to get to the ball,” Caldwell explained earlier this week.
“Speed and simplicity, I think are very, very important in terms of the way in which we play defense. And they’ve been doing that very, very well here over the last few weeks. They’ve been tackling well, and I think that has helped us. We aren’t perfect, but we’ve got a lot of guys playing with a lot of effort and enthusiasm.”
Defensive end Dwight Freeney appreciates the changes in the team’s defensive system.
“Yeah, it is just a clearer picture. There is no confusion, and there is no, ‘what do I do on this play?’ That causes you to be a little bit hesitant on the field, and you lose a step,” Freeney voiced.
“Losing a step in this league is the difference between a touchdown or not and a sack or not. So I think Mike (Murphy) has done a great job.”