» Tyquan Lewis has earned added snaps moving forward: General manager Chris Ballard this offseason talked about how 2020 will be a huge season for Lewis, who was a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, but had been affected by injuries his first couple years in the league and wasn’t quite able to reach his potential.
Lewis said he took a different mindset going into this offseason, and coupled with a new defensive line coach in Baker, as well as the tutelage of guys like Justin Houston and DeForest Buckner, the 25-year-old looked like a completely different player during training camp, when he seemingly made big plays day after day after day.
While Lewis hasn’t been a starter to this point of the season, he has been able to produce in a rotational role up front; he has seven tackles (two for a loss) with 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hits; he had his best-overall game in last Sunday’s win against the Cincinnati Bengals, finishing with a career-best five total tackles (one for a loss) and a half-sack.
Through six games, Lewis has played 86 defensive snaps, which has been about 23 percent of the total defensive plays on the year. Baker said “I anticipate him playing a lot more than he’s played” moving forward.
“Because I think he’s earned the right to do that,” Baker said of Lewis. “And I think that’ll help his development; I think it’ll help our defense.”
The Colts play a fast, physical and relentless style of defense, particularly up front, which is why they utilize a deep rotation of linemen to keep everybody as fresh as possible throughout a given ballgame; the team usually has anywhere from seven to nine defensive linemen available each week.
Lewis has played a key role in that rotation, but Baker wants to see what he does with even more snaps coming out of the bye week.
“I like his skillset; I think he’s playing a lot faster, a lot more physical, I think he’s playing a lot smarter than what I observed studying the film of him in the past,” Baker said of Lewis. “So I like his progress — I really do. Again … I don’t get into ceilings and that kind of thing, ’cause I think a player develops at a different rate, and what he’s supposed to be, I’ll let you know after he’s been on the grass for longer than Ty’s been out there. But I do like his progression; I’m excited about his future and certainly his future in this defense.”