There are a few players under immense pressure to perform during training camp and the preseason. Defensive end Ben Banogu is chiefly among them on the Indianapolis Colts roster.
After two disappointing seasons in which Banogu actually saw less playing time in his second season, many were wondering if the TCU product could be on the roster bubble entering camp.
After a week and a half of practices, Banogu is making it clear he’s come prepared and hungry to carve out a role on the defensive line.
Whether it has been winning in one-on-one drills without pads or blowing past the offensive line in full pads during team drills, Banogu has been making about as much noise as any player to open camp. He’s been noted to make impact plays during just about every practice.
Of course, it is just under two weeks of practice. So some of it should be taken with a grain of salt until we can watch him play against other competition in the preseason games. However, this is an encouraging sign that Banogu could be taking that next step.
General manager Chris Ballard often preaches patience when it comes to edge rushers. While other teams in the league may find it necessary to have earlier production from their edge rushers, Ballard is content with waiting on a player to develop, especially since part of their job is to make sure a player has and does everything they can to reach his potential.
Patience has been the key for Banogu during his first two seasons. He was a healthy scratch for the entire second half of the 2020 season, which also included the playoff game against the Buffalo Bills.
But now with Al-Quadin Muhammad still on the COVID-19 list, Banogu has been getting plenty of reps to prove his worth. And he’s taken advantage of those opportunities thus far.
As the edge rushers hold the key to the Colts defense becoming an elite unit, Banogu—along with Kwity Paye, Tyquan Lewis and Kemoko Turay—must become a factor in the pass rush.
We will get a better look at Banogu during the preseason games, but it’s encouraging to see him making as much noise as he has during the early portion of training camp.
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