By RICK TEVERBAUGH
Last year Greg Toler played for the Arizona Cardinals. It seems as if everyone in the Indianapolis defensive backfield recently is from somewhere else.
It may or may not be one of the best secondaries in the NFL. The regular season will be the true gauge of that. But it is certainly the biggest melting pot of any defensive backfield in the league.
Within the past two years, many players in that position have migrated to the Colts.
Vontae Davis came from Miami last season. LaRon Landry was a New York Jet a season ago. Cassius Vaughn is starting his second year in Indy after making the move from Denver. Sergio Brown played with New England two seasons ago. Josh Gordy is in his second season with the Colts after a rookie season with the St. Louis Rams.
“It has been great to get all these guys together on this team,” said Toler after Tuesday morning’s walkthrough. “We have all had different experience elsewhere. Now we get the chance to share what we know with each other and to learn from one another. We are working hand in hand.”
Toler was signed as a free agent after a solid season with the Cardinals. He played 11 games but started only two. He picked off two passes and returned one of those for a touchdown. That TD came against the Detroit Lions when he picked off a Matthew Stafford pass in the Arizona endzone and returned it a franchise-record 102 yards.
In 2011, he missed the entire season with a knee injury he suffered in preseason. But he was ready to go and enjoyed his initial preseason game this season last Sunday.
“It felt great to get out there and be able to tackle people,” said Toler. “I was ready to get out there and do that. I was sorry to learn I was being taken down (taken out of the game). I thought maybe we could get in another series on defense.”
Toler believes the early hype on the NFL Network and other places about the potential quality of the Colts’ defensive backfield.
“Everyone sees this potential on paper,” he said. “But now we all need to be held accountable for that potential. We still have to go out and play the game. We all have our jobs to do, the offense, the defense and the special teams. It isn’t just about one group.”
Toler believes the unit is coming together and having an excellent camp.
“In training camp, we have been feeding off one another’s energy,” said Toler. “We are building confidence that we will need when the regular season starts.”
The entire defense must get better at forcing mistakes from opposing teams. In each of the past two seasons, the team was 12th at getting takeaways. That’s a figure of some concern.
“We have to make big plays defensively,” said Toler. “One way to do that it, take the ball away. That gets our defense off the field and gives it back to our offense.”
The team’s next chance to do that will be Sunday night when the Colts are in New York to face the Giants.