4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE INDIANA DEFENSE
– Under new coordinator Kane Wommack, the defense that gets back nine starters was able to come up with a whole lot of takeaways, but it couldn’t stop anyone from bombing away down the field. The pass defense had a few moments, and the run defense wasn’t totally abysmal, but the key third down stops weren’t there, and allowing 30 points or more in seven of the last nine games wasn’t okay.
– The top two tacklers are done, but the next nine tacklers return led by S Marcelino Ball and CB Raheem Layne. The secondary can hit – four starters return in the 4-2-5 – but it has to be better overall. It was beaten for 240 yards or more six of the last seven games, but it also picked off a pass in every game but one. The interceptions went up, but so did the problems against the good passing teams.
– The defensive front has decent size, and it gets back most of the playmakers who got behind the line, but now the whole group has to be more consistent. Second-leading tackler Dameon Willis is gone from the linebacking corps, but Reakwon Jones is a good-sized veteran to work around.