ANDERSON, Ind. —
The Colts are hoping to see a lot of successful moves from Mathis this year. He's the only proven pass rusher on the roster, and opponents are sure to put special emphasis on him in their game plans.
"That's kind of the anticipation," he said, "but, hey, it comes with the territory, right?"
After 10 years of lining up on the opposite side of Dwight Freeney, Mathis likely will start the season across from free-agent addition Erik Walden. Indianapolis also drafted former Florida State star Bjoern Werner in the first round to learn from Mathis and aid the pass rush on third down.
A beefed-up defensive line is expected to help collapse the pocket and keep blockers off the linebackers, but it's unclear where consistent pressure will come from if not from Mathis.
"The guys they brought in, they brought them in for a reason," Mathis said. "You have to trust in it, trust that he's going to get the job done. Nobody is trying to replace anybody, just trying to come in and just do what you are brought in for."
The first team defense spent little time on the field in the preseason opener against Buffalo. The Colts allowed two big runs by C.J. Spiller on the first two plays then forced a punt on the first possession. The Bills' second drive ended very early when Spiller couldn't tuck away a handoff and the fumble was recovered by nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin.
Indianapolis led 13-6 midway through the second quarter, but Buffalo outscored the Colts' reserves 38-7 the rest of the way.
"Unfortunately they came out with a little bit more sense of urgency than we did," Mathis said. "We are working on that, and we are going to right the ship. I've been around 11 years and preseason is about seeing who can play, who can play together as a unit. It's kind of a crawl, walk, run kind of deal. Every week you get better and just put it together as one unit."