The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Colts

May 2, 2013

Colts preparing to welcome rookies

Mathis, Werner could bond over pass rush

INDIANAPOLIS — Robert Mathis has seen the stories about first-round draft pick Bjoern Werner learning about the NFL from the Madden video game series and often choosing the Colts’ all-pro defensive end as his on-screen avatar.

“It makes me feel old,” Mathis said Wednesday in the team’s locker room at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. “At the same time, it lets me know what I’ve done has been respected.”

A fifth-round pick out of Alabama A&M in 2003, Mathis has recorded 91.5 sacks in 10 NFL seasons. He played as a defensive end for his first nine years in the league before adjusting to life as an outside linebacker in new head coach Chuck Pagano’s hybrid 3-4 scheme a year ago.

Werner, who played primarily as a 4-3 defensive end at Florida State before being selected No. 24 overall in last week’s draft, will make a similar transition this year.

The German native is one of at least 16 rookies who will descend on the Colts’ practice facility for a three-day mini-camp next week. Indianapolis drafted seven players last weekend and announced the signing of nine additional college free agents on Tuesday.

That group will be joined for the mini-camp by several rookies competing on a tryout basis.

And the youngsters would do well to warm quickly to the competition. Last year’s rookie class set a high bar, with five offensive contributors — quarterback Andrew Luck, running back Vick Ballard, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener — combining for 51 starts.

The first-year players didn’t just get into the lineup. They made a difference, helping the Colts improve from 2-14 in 2011 to 11-5 and a surprise AFC Wild Card playoff berth.

“In this day and age, you can’t just sit back and say ‘I’ll get my chance next year,’” veteran defensive end Cory Redding said. “You might have to come in and contribute now. So get your mind right because it’s going to be a good one.”

The rookies will begin trickling into the locker room May 10, and they’ll get a crash course in the way of the Horseshoe.

No one will wear a larger target than Werner, who will be asked to replace franchise sacks leader and fan favorite Dwight Freeney.

Mathis was brought along slowly, making his mark first on special teams before being eased into the regular lineup. Werner likely won’t be afforded that courtesy.

But Mathis plans to lend a helping hand the way Indianapolis veterans did for him when he was young.

“When I came in, it was Chad Bratzke,” Mathis said. “He was here, and he helped me a lot. I’m that guy. He was 10 years (in the NFL) my rookie year. I’m 11 years Werner’s first year. I’ll be the old guy, the angel watching over him, and guide him and advise him any way I can.”

And about those stories of a young Werner playing Madden as Mathis?

Despite the generational gap, Mathis is confident the two will find common ground.

“He’s a fellow quarterback-hater,” Mathis said. “So he’s all right with me.”

1
Text Only
Colts
  • SPT-HB0725-ColtsCamp-080.jpg Comfortable Richardson looking for production

    Last year Trent Richardson must have felt like the lead character in Robert A. Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land."

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0725 - Colts Camp - 272 Colts fans come from all over Indiana for training camp

    Under bright skies and mild temperatures, Indianapolis Colts fans turned out in droves to witness the first of this year's public practices at Anderson University's campus on Thursday.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT-HB0725-ColtsCamp-128.jpg Luck plans to use preseason time wisely

    Managing the situations that crop up during a football game is at the top of Andrew Luck's to-do list. But his more immediate concern is maximizing every snap of training camp at Anderson University.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts Camp Football_Brem.jpg Colts Camp Blog: Reggie returns and other musings

    News and notes of interest from Colts Training Camp in Anderson.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - hb0725 - colts - jc - 4.jpg Colts Camp 2014: Day 1

    VIDEO: The Colts hit the field for their first practice of training camp Thursday, and spirited competition at several positions -- including running back -- is expected.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • MDU1.jpg Colts Camp Day 1: Midday Update

    VIDEO: Herald Bulletin sports reporter George Bremer checks in from Anderson University, where the Colts held a morning walk-through in preparation for the first open practice of training camp.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0725 - Newsome - JC - 1 Former BSU star Newsome ready to prove his worth

    Jonathan Newsome knows what it feels like to be a spectator at the Indianapolis Colts' training camp. He spent one day in each of the past two summers watching practice alongside his Ball State teammates. When the first public practice of 2014 begins today at 1:50 p.m., Newsome — a fifth-round pick in May's draft — will be on the other side of the fence as a rookie outside linebacker earning his stripes.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS - HB0715 - Chuck Pagano Pagano breakfast sold out A breakfast with Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is sold out, organizers said Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0725 - Getting healthy - JC - 3 Colts getting healthy as training camp opens Reggie Wayne's arrival Wednesday in an IndyCar driven by two-time Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Ed Carpenter drew national attention. But the most important news coming out of reporting day for the Indianapolis Colts concerned the wide receiver's health.

    July 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • HB0724 _ Teverbaugh mug Rick Teverbaugh: Finding Anderson no mystery for Luck

    Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck might find sleep hard to come by the night before training camp opens, but finding his way to Anderson is no source of anxiety.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Colts Video
Twitter Updates
Reader Photos From Camp


Share your camp photos with us.

Colts Camp Webcast Archive