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Super Bowl XLIV Preview: Colts Secondary

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Position Starter Backup
CB Kelvin Hayden Jacob Lacey
SS Melvin Bullitt Jamie Silva
FS Antoine Bethea Aaron Francisco
CB Jerraud Powers Tim Jennings


Scouting Report

Kelvin Hayden is a solid CB for what the Colts do in their Cover 2 scheme. He has excellent hands to bump recievers at the line and good awareness and short range speed in zone coverage. He does struggle at times guarding the vertical route, as he does not have great speed over distance and will lose some separation in coverage. His field awareness is excellent, as he is good at reading a QB’s eyes and reacting to the ball, like the Saints’ Darren Sharper. He does not like to engage a player in the run game, but rather prefers to try to take out a runner by going at his feet, which has led to some big runs on the season when he misses. He has had an excellent post season, recording 12 tackles and one interception combined in both AFC playoff games.

Perhaps the most versatile player on the Colts defense is Melvin Bullitt, a converted CB who can play both safety positions. Bullitt has good size for a safety at 6-1 201 lbs. Bullitt is good as an over the top cover safety in the Colts Cover 2. He has good field awareness and great straight ahead speed. He struggles turning his hips to make cuts in coverage, which could help Saints recievers if they need just an extra second more to get open. For the season, Bullitt registered 77 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and no interceptions.

Antoine Bethea has to have a good game if the Colts are to win this game. This means he has to tackle well, something he has struggled with at times in his career, and wrap up defenders instead of making aggressive hits. Bethea is one of the best safeties in the league in run support and is not afraid to hit a blocker or ball carrier. The Saints will also try to throw against Bethea who at times gets lost in one on one situations with a receiver or tight end. Bethea has been able to become a more consistent player this season. This invaluable piece to the secondary once again is one of the Colts tackling leaders with 95 on the season.

Jerraud Powers, a rookie third round draft pick from Auburn, has done an excellent job replacing injured CB Marlin Jackson. He fits into the Colts Cover 2 scheme very well and has a nose for the ball. Another undersized defender at 5-9, 192 lbs., he is an underrated hitter for a guy his size. He had 66 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 interception in just the first 13 games of the regular season before a hamstring injury sidelined the rookie. He came back in the Divisional Round of the playoffs and had an interception before suffering a foot injury, which caused him to miss the AFC Championship game.

If Powers can not go, the Colts will turn to another undersized rookie in Jacob Lacey. Lacey, an undrafted CB from Oklahoma State, was second on the Colts with three interceptions on the season, including a touchdown return in a Week 7 win over the Rams. In the AFC Championship game, he got beat for an 80-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards before settling down the rest of the game.

The Colts have also brought in former Saints Mike McKenzie and Jason David for workouts as insurance in case Powers can not go.

The Saints love throwing different formations at teams and the Super Bowl will be no different. This secondary has to be on top of things as the Saints can do so many things in any given formation. Will this young secondary be able to digest and learn the Saints offense quickly?

The Colts play a lot of Cover 2 and expect more of the same from them. They will have to try and take away the middle of the field from Brees. The Colts have done a good job all season of not giving up the big plays, but they have on occasion. Other than the New England Patriots, the Colts have not faced a receiving corp like that of the Saints.


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