Josh Chapman just gets it.
As a nose tackle in a 3-4 defense, Chapman knows by occupying blockers, the accolades and stats won’t be coming his way and frankly, that’s just fine with him.
With the announcement on Wednesday of Chapman returning to the practice field, he can now show his teammates why he relishes the double teams and the ability to shut down an offense’s running game.
Chapman was a fifth round pick of the Colts in April’s NFL Draft and is coming off an ACL surgery in January.
Rehabilitation and mental reps have been the name of the game for Chapman and the 316-pound nose tackle admitted it hasn’t been easy watching from the sidelines.
“It’s been pretty hard,” Chapman said. “This is my first time ever really sitting down and watching people practice and play in the games. It makes me anxious, but at the same time I know that I have to get healthy. This week with me practicing, I’m ready to get out there.”
At the University of Alabama, Chapman was a two-time National Champion while starting 23 games over his final two seasons in Tuscaloosa.
During his senior season, Chapman tore his ACL in an Oct. 1, 2011 game against Florida but rather than opt to have surgery, he elected to play through the injury in hopes of earning a second National Title.
Chapman knew the injury might set him back a bit early in his professional career, but the chance to earn another National Championship was worth it.
After injuring his knee, Chapman missed just one game the rest of the season. Without Chapman in the middle, the Crimson Tide allowed a season-high 302 yards rushing despite leading the nation at 72.2 rushing yards allowed per game.
The time away from the gridiron has allowed Chapman to see the intricacies of what it takes to play at this level.
“You learn the different ways to how to be a pro, the different things pros do,” Chapman said. “Just by how people come to meetings, how they go and take care of their bodies, how they perform in practice and how that carries over into the game. I felt that has helped me.”
Moving forward, Chapman said getting his ‘confidence’ back will come now that he is ‘striking people with his pads’ and that will be the last hurdle in an attempt to return to the playing field this season.
The Colts will have up to three weeks to watch Chapman practice before deciding whether or not to elevate him to the active roster or keep him on the reserve/non-football injury list for the remainder of the season.
Arians said Chapman’s return is about where the staff expected it to come during the season.
“We want to take our time with him. If he’s ready to play, we’ll play him because he’s a great talent and he’ll give us a boost in there,” Arians said. “So we just have to find out. He’s got to play football. He played on one leg last year, learn to play on two and see how it feels. Give him hopefully a week or two and then we’ll reevaluate it.”
Stopping the run has been a topic of discussion extensively in the early part of the season for the Colts defense and Chapman’s eyes got a little bigger when asked about that on Wednesday.
“One thing I bring to the table is I love to stop the run. When people run the ball, my feel is that it’s on me because I’m the nose guard,” he said.
“Especially in this 3-4 defense, when you run the ball, the nose guard kind of takes it on himself like ‘Man, what can I do better to keep my linebackers clean?’ That’s one thing I’ve always preached to myself is ‘Keep my linebackers clean.’ That’s how I am.”
Tags: bruce arians, josh chapman
Posted in Colts Blog