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Colts DT Grover Stewart wants to get to ‘next level’ by increasing sack production

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By: Paul Bretl

Colts defensive tackle Grover Stewart has established himself as one of the better run-stoppers in the NFL. Now, he wants to show that he can get after the quarterback consistently as well.

“I just want to be an elite player, man,” said Stewart when meeting with reporters on Tuesday. “I know that I’ve been labeled as one of the best run-stoppers in the league, but I want to get to that next level like I always say, man. Like everybody big on getting the quarterback, so I want to show them that I can do that too, along with stopping the run.”

Stewart has certainly established himself as a top interior run defender and it was clear last season that the Colts greatly missed his presence when he wasn’t on the field.

With Stewart for the first six games last season, the Colts allowed only 3.7 yards per rush and 2.24 yards after contact. Without him for the next six games, the Colts would surrender 4.9 yards per carry with 3.14 yards after contact.

Among all interior defensive linemen in 2023, Stewart ranked 11th in run-stop rate and fifth in PFF’s run defense grade.

As a pass rusher, Stewart totaled 15 pressures last season, six of which were quarterback hits—a career high despite missing six games. His career high in pressures was 22 and that came during the 2021 season.

Stewart’s pass-rush win rate – an efficiency metric from PFF – of 8.1 percent last year was a career-high as well, although relative to the rest of his position group, he ranked 68th in that category.

As a primary run defender, Stewart may not see as many pass rush opportunities as some interior defenders with him often on the field during early downs. However, when asked, Stewart wasn’t looking to make any excuses, he instead has to take advantage of the opportunities that he has.

“I mean, I’ve just got to take more advantage of my opportunity when I’m out there,” Stewart said. “Make it happen when I’m out there.”

Contributing to Stewart’s push for more pass rush production will be the depth that the Colts have along the defensive front. Playing alongside of players like DeForest Buckner, Laiatu Latu, Kwity Paye, Samson Ebukam, and Dayo Odeyingbo will help create more one-on-one opportunities for Stewart to exploit.

If Stewart is able to begin stacking up pressures and sacks, an already formidable and what should be extremely disruptive defensive front will be taken to a different level.

The ability is without a doubt there, now it’s about capitalizing on the chances that come his way.

“They love sacks. I love them too,” added Stewart. “Just get more sacks.”

Originally posted on Colts Wire