The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — It had been more than 18 months since Josh Chapman had played in a football game before Sunday.
So even a 44-20 loss against the Buffalo Bills in the preseason opener had a silver lining for the Indianapolis Colts' nose tackle.
"It felt pretty good," Chapman said of his first action since helping Alabama beat LSU in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 9, 2012. "I got a little nervous about it, but at the same time when I got the first pop it was back to normal."
Chapman was credited with four tackles, but his primary job is to soak up blockers and allow the linebackers behind him to make plays. He was particularly adept at that when the Bills ran their stretch-cut running game.
It's a scheme the Colts will see again during the regular season against the Houston Texans, and Chapman's play against it impressed defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
"Houston's a little bit better and pronounced at doing it, but he did a good job of getting down the line," Manusky said. "He's a little sore, which is to be expected, but he did a fabulous job for us. I'm excited about what we've seen from him."
With just two days remaining in training camp at Anderson University, Chapman wants to make sure that good work continues.
"Just getting after it a little bit, still trying to push it, trying to go overboard with the knee, trying to see everything I can do," he said of his goals. "I want to contribute out here and make a great run defense."
Tight end Coby Fleener worked in full pads during the afternoon session, but the team announced he still has more concussion tests to pass before being cleared to play in a game.
Safety Joe Lefeged became the latest defender to return to practice. After having just three healthy safeties for the Bills game, the Colts have six healthy players at the position now.
Among those who did not workout Wednesday: cornerback Teddy Williams, cornerback Cassius Vaughn, fullback Dan Moore, linebacker Mario Harvey, wide receiver Griff Whalen, defensive tackle Montori Hughes, offensive guard Danous Estenor, safety LaRon Landry, running back Ahmad Bradshaw and linebacker Josh McNary.
Big goals on offense
Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton talked about eliminating mistakes and becoming more efficient in the scheme as the Colts prepare for their second game of the preseason.
And he left no doubt about how high the standard lies for offensive success.
"Our ultimate goal is to score points every time we touch the football," he said, "and if we do those things I just mentioned, of course we expect that we will score touchdowns."