The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports

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
Sports
  • SPT - HB0823 - Saints art Saints should provide barometer for ambitious Colts The last two meetings with the New Orleans Saints have ended in misery for the Indianapolis Colts.

    August 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Defending 1A champs drop Bulldogs Tim Miller knew when his Lapel Bulldogs took the field Friday night against Tri-Central it would be a difficult task. The third-year coach was correct in his assessment, as the Bulldogs were unable to dig out of an early four-touchdown deficit en route to a 40-18 season-opening loss to the defending Class 1A state champions.

    August 23, 2014

  • Third-ranked Scecina blitzes Elwood Life after Sammy Mireles officially began for Elwood's football program Friday night. The Panthers commenced their 2014 season against Class 2A third-ranked Scecina without the state's all-time leading rusher, who graduated after racking up 8,110 yards for his career. That, along with the Crusaders' depth and speed as well as the heat that delayed the kickoff 30 minutes, was too much for Elwood to overcome. Scecina ended up rolling, 37-12, and handed the Panthers their third straight opening-night setback.|ELWOOD — Life after Sammy Mireles officially began for Elwood's football program Friday night. The Panthers commenced their 2014 season against Class 2A third-ranked Scecina without the state's all-time leading rusher, who graduated after racking up

    August 23, 2014

  • Argylls can't hold on against rival Marion It was a tale of two halves Friday night as Madison-Grant hosted Marion to kickoff the high school football season. The Argylls put 22 points up in the first half, but Marion scored 25 in nine minutes in the second to pull out a 25-22 win over the hosts.

    August 23, 2014

  • SPT - HB0823 - APA frankton football - DH - 01 Eagles duo grounds Jets, 52-6

    Frankton's senior tandem of quarterback Brayden Ginder and receiver Austin Compton decided Friday night's season opener early. Ginder's first three passes went to Compton and all of them resulted in touchdowns as the Eagles went on to put away Anderson Preparatory Academy 52-6.

    August 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT - HB0823 - AHS football - DK - 258 Rough start to new era for Tribe The newest era of Anderson High School football did not get off to the best of starts Friday night. The Indians (0-1) turned the ball over six times and surrendered 47 first-half points en route to a 53-7 loss against Fort Wayne Wayne (1-0) at Collier Field.

    August 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT - HB0822 - AHS fb preview - JC 5 High school football preview: Indians prepare for season of intrigue with new head coach There's one conclusion Robert Brown is emphatically prepared to draw from his first three months as the head football coach at Anderson High School. "There's more talent here than what I thought," he said before a practice this week. "I knew that the cupboards weren't dry. I knew there was some talent here, but there's a lot more than what I thought coming in."

    August 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT - HB0821 - Shenandoah Elwood football - DH - 003 High School football preview: Raiders' unselfishness keeps Shenandoah rumbling on The Shenandoah football team does not rebuild. It reloads. And runs the ball over, around and — when necessary — through anything in its path.

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • teverbaugh column mug Rick Teverbaugh: Football, school start too early

    We are just one day away from the kickoff of the high school football season.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • bramwell mugshot Rick Bramwell: Squirrel good place for hunters to start

    A lot of kids, these days, go straight to deer hunting when introduced to the sport. A better specie for a young hunter to hone his or her skills on, is squirrel. Developing the stealth it takes to sneak within range of a squirrel will serve beginners well when they move up to big game.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

Latest Sports Photos


Click here to browse and buy photos from The Herald Bulletin

Latest Racing News