Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Why the Colts Must Keep This Defensive Tackle

Colts Defensive Tackle

The Indianapolis Colts signed defensive tackle Grover Stewart to a three-year deal in 2020 worth $30.75 million. Entering 2024, he is an unrestricted free agent looking for a new contract. With seven years under his belt and five years as a consistent starter, Stewart has accumulated 280 tackles, 3o tackles for loss, and 35 quarterback hits. He has also made a name for himself as a formidable presence in the middle of the Colts defensive line as someone who can help stop opposing running backs. As a playmaker who thrives on stopping the run, the Colts must retain Stewart.

Grover Stewart’s Impact on the Defense

The Importance of a Playmaker in the Middle of the Defensive Line

Games are won and lost at the line of scrimmage. The team that can win in that area is the team that usually comes out on top. The Colts defense had a disappointing 2023 season. This was due to the lack of experience in the secondary. Indy had two rookie corners who had to step in and start games due to bad performances by other cornerbacks. Also, promising second-year starting safety Rodney Thomas II had a lackluster year. Nonetheless, amongst all of the dysfunction in the secondary, the Colts defensive line managed to hold their own.

The strongest area for the Colts defense last year was their defensive line. The line is responsible for two crucial feats within a defense. The first feat is the ability to put pressure on the quarterback and force him into errant throws and incompletions. The second feat is the ability to shut down running backs. Grover Stewart thrives on shutting down the running game of opposing offenses. Coupling his 6′-4″, 314-pound presence with DeForest Buckner made it difficult for the opposing teams to run up the middle. These two tackles are the rock for this defensive line. The Colts know that if they want a shot at winning in the AFC, they must retain Stewart.

The Void that Grover Stewart Left When He Was Suspended

Grover Stewart was suspended for six games following the blowout loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6. The suspension came after it was confirmed that Stewart violated the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. When this news broke, it came as a shock to many across the league as Stewart demonstrated a high level of character, integrity, and leadership within the defense. Nonetheless, the Colts were unable to fill the void that his presence left at defensive tackle. In the two games following Stewart’s suspension, the Colts lost to the Cleveland Browns and the New Orleans Saints. Between these two losses, they gave up 311 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. The presence of Grover Stewart was severely missed.

Even during their four-game win streak against several subpar teams, the Colts still allowed an average of 151.5 yards on the ground. When Stewart returned in Week 14 against the Bengals, the line slowly began to calm down as it only gave up 101.2 rushing yards per game over the last five games of the season. Unless the Colts are willing to pick up a sure replacement for Grover Stewart, they cannot let him walk. He has proven his value to the team since arriving in 2017. On top of Stewart’s value, the Colts recently hired a new defensive line coach, Charlie Patridge. He brings complexity and a unique style to the defensive line. Therefore, having a guy like Stewart still on the team will prove to be huge for this defense.

Main Photo: Robert Scheer – USA Today Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message