The Colts acquired linebackers Moise Fokou and Greg Lloyd in a trade Thursday with the Philadelphia Eagles for cornerback Kevin Thomas and a seventh-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Fokou has 98 tackles (66 solo), one sack, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in 43 career games. He had 27 tackles and ranked second on the team with 10 special teams tackles last season.
Lloyd was primarily a practice-squad player.
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ANDERSON – Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano got right to the point with free agent Cory Redding.
“Cory,” Pagano said, “I need you.”
Simple words. Straightforward. Redding, who had spent two seasons playing for then-defensive coordinator Pagano with the Baltimore Ravens, recalls those words clearly many weeks later. It wasn't just the phrase, but the tone in Pagano's voice.
“When I heard that voice coming from him, and the sincerity in his voice, that made me (say), 'Forget all the others, I'm going with you Chuck,'” Redding said Thursday. “I know how important it is to you, and it's important to me and I want to be part of that change.”
There's a good chance those words – “Cory, I need you” – might have been the most important ones uttered by Pagano during the offseason.
Redding could be the most important player on the Colts' defense, and perhaps in the locker room, during training camp at Anderson University and into the 2012 season.
When Pagano called Redding, he not only hired a defensive end/tackle, he hired a man who understands the 3-4 defense and who exudes leadership in all facets of the game.
Redding would not fit the category of quiet leader.
His persona is one of volume and the perfect fit for a Colts defense, and team, seeking to crank up the intensity.
“Guys know who are the leaders in this league,” Redding said. “When I walked in the locker room, it was understood. It wasn't like I was walking in, cracking a whip and saying this is who I am. They accepted me because of who I am.
“People can fake it to a certain point, but after that, they can't do it,” Redding continued. “This is me all day, uncut, raw, I'm never going to change. Accept who I am or get behind me.”
Pagano helped recruit Redding, along with safety Tom Zbikowski and defensive tackle Brandon McKinney, because he needed an experienced, confident leader for his defense.
Pagano knew he was inheriting some valuable defensive players in pass rushers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, linebacker Pat Angerer, and defensive backs Antoine Bethea and Jerraud Powers. But the transition from a 4-3 scheme with the “Cover-2” emphasis to a 3-4 with more man-to-man secondary responsibilities will be a transition.
Redding is a big man up front (6-foot-4, 315 pounds) and has the potential to be a huge influence in the locker room.
“He's just an individual, a big man that's playing a big game,” Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. “And he's a big leader amongst the guys on the defense because he's been in the system, he knows what it is and he's pulling them all together.”
Redding is loud and “on” all the time. He contributed some heavy vocals during 11-on-11 situations in full pads Thursday, and the intensity kicked up a notch. There were even two slight fights. Redding wasn't directly involved, but he's bringing some Ravens-style defensive swagger.
“I'm all about team and that's what this thing is all about,” Redding said. “That's what I'm preaching about Chuck to these guys. It's all about team. No one person is bigger than the other.”
Asked what the defense might end up looking like, Redding rattled off the answer with what one reporter thought was an evangelist's fervor.
“What you see out there every day – running around, flying to the rock, hitting guys, challenging every ball in the air, not letting the offense get a blade in the grass,” Redding said. “That's our mindset.
“…The canvas is not complete,” he said. “There's still a lot of room to grow. We're painting that brush every day.”
Redding said he can't stress enough the importance of being a good run defense first, then adding that pass rush to the mix.
“Pudding is pudding,” he said. “You can mix it up and put everything else in there – vanilla wafers, banana pudding – but it is what it is. It's still pudding. That's the basis of this defense. You can't do anything unless you stop the run.”
If the Colts are going to grow into a defensive-oriented team, quite a swing from the past, then Pagano made a good call: Redding might be just what they needed.