A trip to the playoffs and finishing as the eighth-ranked overall defense was good for the 2020 Indianapolis Colts, but not great.
DeForest Buckner believes the Colts defense can achieve greatness in 2021 in the form of being the top unit in the league if it plays at its best on a consistent basis.
"Last year, throughout the year, we played some great ball games," Buckner said Tuesday, via Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star. "For me, looking back at [the] 2020 season, it's consistency. For a point in time, we were the No. 1 defense in the league. And then we kind of fell off towards the end. That's because there were certain games where we let off the gas pedal a little bit, or [there was a] miscommunication, or a missed tackle here and there. And for me, it's just consistency. if we're consistent from start to finish, I believe we could finish [as] the No. 1 defense in the league."
The No. 1 honor belonged to the Los Angeles Rams last season and they took second in the NFC West and advanced to the NFC Divisional Round. Thus, being the top-ranked defense is likely to carry some success, but playing your best on the biggest stage is all the more important as evidenced by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive dominance down the stretch.
Still, setting a goal for No. 1 is commonplace among the best of the best and Buckner believes Indy can reach those heights after a season in which it allowed more than 30 points just three times and was second against the run. The Colts have a largely unchanged defensive starting lineup and have added first-round edge Kwity Paye.
On the heels of his first season with the Colts and his first All-Pro honor, Buckner has his sights set high and in an AFC South division believed by most to be wide open, it's certainly not implausible.
One way or another, Buckner and Co. are looking to be No. 1.
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