CJ Stroud vs. Colts’ Cover Three: Quarterbacs Dream Matchup


Jan 5, 2024

CJ Stroud is gearing up for a promising showdown against the defense of the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts, known for their predominant use of cover three – the highest rate in the NFL – might be playing right into Stroud’s strengths.

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Stroud excels against cover three, leading the league with impressive statistics. He ranks No. 1 in Expected Points Added (EPA) per attempt, No. 4 in success rate, No. 2 in yards per attempt, and is the leader in attempts to gain 15 plus yards.

The defensive strategy of the Colts also leans towards a more passive approach. They are not aggressive in blitzing or exerting pressure, a scenario where Stroud thrives. When not under pressure, his performance peaks, ranking No. 2 in EPA, No. 7 in success rate, and No. 3 in yards per attempt. However, when faced with pressure, his efficiency significantly drops to No. 27 in EPA, No. 35 in success rate, and No. 30 in yards per attempt.

Furthermore, the Colts defense has not been tested against top-tier quarterbacks this season. Their recent opposition includes a string of backups and inexperienced players, such as Aidan O’Connell, Taylor Heineke, Mitch Trubisky, Jake Browning, Will Levis, Baker Mayfield, Mac Jones, and Bryce Young. This lack of facing elite quarterbacks might leave them unprepared for Stroud’s caliber.

The matchup favors Stroud to excel, especially considering his prowess against cover three and his efficiency without pressure. Additionally, watch Nico Collins, who could significantly impact the game. The stage is set for Stroud to potentially dominate the Colts’ defense, capitalizing on his strengths and exploiting their passive defensive approach.

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Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

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