On Thursday, Colts Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky and a few defensive players spoke with the media. Here are some highlights with quotes and information courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts Public Relations Department.
Mathis is Expected to Play Sunday
Colts Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky said today that Robert Mathis is ready to play in Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins. Having Mathis back should be a huge lift for the Colts defense. His ability to pressure the opposing quarterback can improve the performance of the rest of the defense, most notably in pass coverage, leaving less time for receivers to get open.
When asked what Mathis brings to the table, Manusky said, “Just a whole bunch of energy, excitement and he’s a Pro Bowler. He’s a difference maker and that’s what we’re looking to get on Sunday out of him.”
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Mathis added. “They kind of had a snap count just to see where I was at. Things are feeling good and I’m itching to get back.” When he was asked if he would be on a snap count Sunday, Mathis said, “Not as much. When it’s on, it’s on. When they blow the whistle, whatever plays I’m out there, I’m out there.”
Mathis also talked about what it was like to have to sit back and watch while he was recovering. “Yeah. I was resorted to more of a cheerleader more so than a player, the last few weeks or so,” he said. “ I’m just itching to get back and just very anxious.
“Very hard. Never liked being a guy that sits back and just watches. I always like to be in the fight.” Needless to say, Robert Mathis is more than a little eager to get back onto the field and make a difference again. His return is always a welcome sight, especially this weekend, as the Colts look to re-establish their pass rush against Miami.
Freeman’s Walking Boot
Inside Linebacker Jerrell Freeman fielded questions about his foot injury and the walking boot he was wearing yesterday. “You all saw that?” Freeman said. “You all see everything. I’m doing okay. It’s just a little precaution. They gave me the day off for rest but I’m ready to get back out there today.”
Naturally, the next question was if it might keep him from playing. “Definitely not,” he said. “I’m good. I’m good.”
Freeman, a former Saskatchewan Roughrider, looks impressive so far and leads the team with 69 tackles through seven games. He has become an important factor in making sure plays don’t get beyond the second level. With Pat Angerer playing but still on the injury report, the defense should benefit from having Freeman available against the run-oriented Dolphins.
Josh Chapman Watch
Colts rookie nose tackle Josh Chapman, who had surgery to repair a torn ACL (that he played on last season), returned to practice last week. While they don’t expect him to play this week, he has sparked a great deal of interest from fans, many of whom believe Chapman would’ve been drafted early in the first round (instead of in the fifth) had he not been injured.
Bruce Arians said they’re still easing Chapman in and getting him ready to play. “He goes for the second time in pads today in a year,” Arians said on Wednesday. “We’ve got another week, a very short week which we will not go in pads, so I don’t know what we can evaluate in him then. See how sore he is tomorrow, see how much more he can do today before we pull the trigger and activate him.”
When asked if Chapman would be active for the Dolphins game, Arians said, “He’d have to whip everybody’s tail on the practice field today you know. Then I still doubt it.”
So, fans will have to wait a little longer to see if Chapman will, in fact, look like the future star at nose tackle many thought he could be before his injury at Alabama.
On the Surprise, or Lack Thereof, of being 4-3
Outside Linebacker Dwight Freeney: “We are not high on ourselves because we probably should be 7-0 and that’s just the mentality of football players or any sport in general. Regardless, people felt that we should have only won two games this year. We really didn’t care what people thought anyway. We just go out and perform and add it up in the end.”
Inside Linebacker Jerrell Freeman: “You guys are surprised. We knew we would come in and get things together, make some plays, get out there. Miami and us, I guess we were at the bottom of the power rankings coming in. We really didn’t think too much of it. We really just have to get this win, get this winning streak going.”
More Injury Updates
Most of today’s Notebook revolved around injuries, but here is a quick update on who practiced yesterday and who did not. Of course, TE Coby Fleener (shoulder) and CB Vontae Davis (knee), who won’t play this week, were held out of practice along with LB Robert Mathis (knee/back), and RB Donald Brown (knee). Brown and Mathis are both expected to play.
T Jeff Linkenbach (head) was limited in practice, while DE Fili Moala (knee) , who is expected to return, had full practice participation along with LB Pat Angerer (foot) CB Darius Butler (shoulder), LB Jerrell Freeman (foot), LB Dwight Freeney (ankle), and QB Andrew Luck (knee).
For the Dolphins, WR Jabar Gaffney (not injury related), CB Richard Marshall (back), and DT Tony McDaniel (knee) did not practice, while LB Karlos Dansby (biceps), WR Brian Hartline (groin), C Mike Pouncy (Achilles), and QB Ryan Tannehill (knee) were limited.
QB Matt Moore (calf), RB Daniel Thomas (elbow), and LB Jason Trusnik (forearm) all saw full participation.