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Zbikowski sees same old Pagano, but in a different role

Posted by Kevin Bowen on July 31, 2012 – 12:43 pm

It wasn’t your typical move for new Colts safety Tom Zbikowski.

After playing his first four NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Zbikowski followed a system he knew, a coach he was familiar with, and now has an opportunity to see his role expand with a new organization.

“Now that I’ve gotten to know the organization from top to bottom the, I’m very happy with the decision, because they care about their Colts here and they care about succeeding,” Zbikowski said.

Zbikowski is one of three former Ravens defenders who came over to the Colts during the offseason allowing for a bit of familiarity between some of the current players learning a new defense.

Although he feels as though he’s a veteran in this defensive system, Zbikowski said the leadership role tends to gravitate to him in a locker room filled with guys looking and wanting to lead.

“I grew up in this system, the philosophy of practice, how we approach things, and to be honest the players in this organization they’ve been successful for a long time and there’s a reason for that,” Zbikowski said.

“They draft high character guys that are willing to work and love football. It’s pretty easy to be a leader. I feel like pretty much everyone on this team has some sort of a leadership role.”

In his four seasons with Baltimore, Zbikowski has started 14 games and now is expected to play a much larger role with the Colts defense.

His relationship with Pagano extends back to Zbikowski’s first day in the league. Zbikowski played under Pagano as a position coach during his first three seasons and had him as his defensive coordinator last year.

“He’s still just as personable as he was as a defensive back coach, as a defensive coordinator, ¬†(and he) really gets to know all of his players,” Zbikowski said. “The guys that came from other teams, that was one thing that was brought up on that (other players) might not have had conversations with their other head coach.”

“He’s a player’s coach. It’s still going to be intense. It’s all about fundamentals, sound football, and playing hard. It’s personal to him and that’s the way it should be.”

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