- Jaleel Grandberry
Julian Blackmon is taking on a leadership role for Colts defense
Third-year safety, Julian Blackmon, is back from an Achilles injury and is stepping up into a new role for the Indianapolis Colts.
Last season, the Indianapolis Colts were devastated when Julian Blackmon went down with an Achilles injury in practice. The injury forced Blackmon to miss the final 11 games of last season, and there was a fear that the injury could delay his start for this season. Luckily, Blackmon had a swift recovery and was ready by day one of training camp.
Now back on the field, Julian Blackmon has returned to the starting lineup as a free safety. With a new defensive coordinator in Gus Bradley, and a system where safety play is important, everyone hoped that Blackmon didn’t lose a step. When last healthy, he was a fearless safety that flew around the field. Would he still be that after a devastating injury in just his second year in the NFL?
So far through training camp, the word is that Blackmon doesn’t look like he’s lost a step. Even better, he’s reportedly trending upwards, becoming a leader on the Colts defense. In a segment with NFL Network, Larra Overton reported, “Julian Blackmon, coming off the Achilles, playing with zero restrictions, he’s kind of been quarterbacking the secondary… he really has a voice that is much more than his three years in the league.”
Julian Blackmon hasn’t missed a beat for Colts
Although it’s still early, this is fantastic news for Indianapolis. One of the criticisms of Gus Bradley is that his defenses struggle without a star safety. Since the Colts don’t have an established star at safety, some felt that the Bradley hire was a mistake. However, there are also a lot of people who believe in Julian Blackmon’s potential.
With him already being healthy, Blackmon is getting all the necessary reps to learn the new defense so that he can be effective in the system. Additionally, with such a young secondary, it’s great to hear that Blackmon is transforming into a leader, even though he’s only played 21 NFL games.
He should be prepared to make an impact in the middle of the defense for Indianapolis once the season starts. If Blackmon can get the secondary to perform, the Colts have the potential to have an extremely dominant defense.