Gaubatz' guessing has been so effective that the Colts lead the league in defense against rushing, having given up only 893 yards in 10 games. Only Green Bay has limited the opposition to fewer points—133 to Baltimore's 188. In total yardage given up Baltimore is a solid fourth.
Winner, incidentally, does not believe in separating pass defense from running defense, statistically or any other way. "We play total defense," he says. "I hate to see a writer say our secondary was defeated by a pass attack or our line by a running attack. When a play develops as a pass, we have 11 men on pass defense. The line, sometimes with help from blitzing linebackers, must get to the passer so quickly that he cannot find a second receiver, and the backs and linebackers must cover so closely in the first three seconds that he cannot hit his first receiver. If he looks for the first receiver and has to pump and look for someone else, the rush gets him. And, against the run, the backs and the linebackers come up into the running defense with the line. It's a complete unit either way."
Gaubatz, of course, is not the whole defense, or even a major part of it, although his is a key role. Veterans like Bobby Boyd, perhaps the best corner back in the league, and Ordell Braase, one of the outstanding defensive ends, have contributed heavily. Boyd and Braase are the only two defensive starters with as much as six years' service with the Colts. "I didn't realize we had had such a big turnover," says Boyd, the defensive captain, a bald but agile man who makes up for his lack of height with brilliant play diagnosis. "But we got some real good studs in the last few years. Dennis is one of them. Fred Miller and Steve Stonebreaker and Lou Michaels and guys like that help, too."
Miller, in his third season, is small for a defensive tackle at 245, but he is agile and he is becoming tricky, in the style of Green Bay's Henry Jordan. Another young Colt, Ted Davis, has filled in capably for the injured veteran, Don Shin-nick, at corner linebacker.
"This is a young team," says Winner happily. " Boyd is our oldest defensive back, and he's only 28. They should keep improving for a long time."
Michaels is the left-footed field-goal kicker who came to the Colts from Pittsburgh and was given the unenviable job of replacing Gino Marchetti, the defensive end most experts regard as the best who ever played that position.
"He has done a fine job," Winner says. "He isn't Marchetti, but then no one else is either. But he's given us everything we asked for and more, and so has Gaubatz. We are probably as good or better than we have ever been on defense."
Paraphrasing Gaubatz, you got to believe in those Colts.