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The Indianapolis Colts' defense is the NFL's stingiest and arguably the most disruptive, and has made impressive strides thus far in dealing with opposing running attacks.
Surely, the primary reason for the noticeable upgrade is the most noticeable addition, 300-plus-pound tackle Corey Simon.
Surely not, at least not if you run that theory past Simon.
"I'm not," he said, shaking his head for emphasis. "I won't allow myself to get caught up in that. My ego's not that big and I don't need that kind of deal resting on my shoulders.
"When it comes down to it, I'm at a point in my career where I just want to win. I don't care who gets the credit. I just want to win. When we win, I'm happy."
So, consider Simon a jovial giant these days. The Colts (3-0) are one of only four unbeatens in the NFL at this early juncture, and will deal with AFC South rival Tennessee (1-2) on Sunday in Nashville.
But a burning question persists: How big is the giant?
"I'm going to keep it a secret," Simon said, smiling. "I'll say I'm not 293."
That's his listed weight.
"I haven't been 293 since college," he said.
Coach Tony Dungy is privy to Simon's weight, but won't share it, other than to agree "he's not 293."
OK, is it 393?, a reporter asked.
"He's not 393," Dungy replied. "Somewhere in between.
"Where I'd like to see him, he'll never get again. He's got a big body. I've never had a (defensive) guy over 300 pounds, but he's going to play at well over 300. But he moves well."
While the issue of Simon's weight easily can be overblown, there's no overstating his impact on the defense.
"Automatically your line gets more credibility," defensive coordinator Ron Meeks said. "He's a true professional."
Simon has averaged approximately 30 plays a game during the first three games, primarily on first and second downs when teams are more apt to run the football. He's been credited with nine tackles but has contributed much more as the run defense has allowed averages of 93.3 yards per game and 4.1 yards per attempt.
"The biggest thing Corey's brought is confidence, a state of mind that people aren't going to move the ball on us," Dungy said.
More than simply adding a wide body and a former Pro Bowl tackle to the defensive line, the Colts acquired a player who's a leader both on and off the field. Prior to the Sept. 18 game with Jacksonville in the RCA Dome, Simon called the defense together on the sideline.
This from someone who wasn't added to the roster until Sept. 3.
"We knew what type of player we were getting," veteran tackle Montae Reagor said. "We welcomed him with open arms."
Simon, a deeply religious man, hasn't resisted any opportunity to offer advice to his new teammates, which included that pregame gathering two weeks ago. He's been assertive and supportive, not overbearing.
"I respect these guys and what they've done on the field to this point, and they respect me and what I've done on the field," Simon said. "When you have that respect for one another, guys don't take (advice) the wrong way.
"I appreciate these guys for allowing me to tell them things that I see and (trusting) me enough to realize I know what I'm talking about. I've been where we want to go."
That would be the Super Bowl. In 2004, Simon's final season with Philadelphia, the Eagles reached Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Fla., where they lost to New England 24-21.
After losing to the Patriots, Simon took time off, then pulled his golf clubs out of storage. When not preoccupied with his occupation, he hones his golf game.
"I like to play golf," he said. "I'm not great at it, but I'm pretty decent."
Simon routinely gets his scores into the middle to high 80s by the end of the offseason.
His most recent offseason was extended by several weeks this summer as he declined to sign the Eagles' one-year "franchise" tender. When they pulled the tag off in late August, he quickly signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Colts.
The size of the contract provided further financial security for Simon and his family. But the team issuing it provided something more.
"When it gets to a certain amount of money, it just doesn't matter," he said. "How much money is going to make you happy? Money makes some things easier, but money doesn't make me happy.
"I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to be part of a team that I see as being a great team and being a team that can do great things."
Slowing down opposing runners
One reason the Colts invested in defensive tackle Corey Simon was to upgrade their run defense. So far, so good. The team is allowing averages of 93.3 rushing yards per game and 4.1 per attempt. Here's a look at how those averages compare with previous seasons. Included is how the Colts' averages ranked in the NFL.