How much playing time do you give veterans? How much playing time do you give rookies? How much playing time do you give guys learning new positions?
Those are all questions running through the minds of coaches around the league this week as preseason football gets underway.
Sure, these games don’t count and the slate is wiped clean come September but even veteran Colts players know the need to play someone else with everything that has transpired this offseason.
“It’s very important. It’s not just a first preseason game,” defensive end Robert Mathis said. “It’s a first stepping stone to what we’re trying to get accomplished and that’s to go as far as we want to go. Hopefully, this Sunday we’ll take a step in the right direction.”
Mathis falls into the category of a player trying to learn a new position, and the transition to linebacker included an interception during one-on-one drills late last week.
“Better than expected, came in with an open mind and just being an empty vessel just trying to be filled up,” Mathis said of the switch. “It’s working, but it’s still a work in progress.”
This coming Sunday, Mathis will get to see his work against another team as the St. Louis Rams come to Indianapolis to begin the preseason.
For a 10-year veteran like Mathis, coming out of the preseason injury free is the most important factor, but even he admitted this year’s four-game slate is more significant than year’s past.
“Coach said we have ten home games this year, two preseason and eight regular and we’re trying to win them all,” Mathis said.
“It’s evaluations and reactions and just seeing how you stack up against other guys around the league. So it’s just way more than just a preseason game. It’s a stepping-stone, first stepping stone for us.”
Colts fans will get to witness all of the ‘new’ that has been brought in and installed this offseason.
From faces to schemes, almost everything the Colts have to offer will be on display on Sunday and Mathis hinted at what type of defense those fans will see.
“Physical, fast, and exciting, unpredictable. I say most of all, exciting. Exciting is the word I’m looking for.”
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