Robert Mathis sat at his locker on Monday afternoon and slowly shook his head while staring at the shirt he was about to put on.
In big, bold font the shirt indicated the Colts were chosen No. 32 in NFL power rankings chosen by media members.
Mathis cracked a wry smile when asked if he and his teammates are playing with a ‘chip’ on their shoulder this season.
“We’ll say it’s more than a chip. It’s a whole two-by-four wood block,” Mathis said. “We know what we got in this locker room. We know what we’ve been working hard towards all offseason so it’s time to put it on the field.”
According to many Colts players, those preseason predictions that indicate the Colts as the ‘worst team’ in the NFL is based solely off last season.
Cornerback Jerraud Powers addressed the issue of outside expectations and made it clear that this locker room is strictly focused on 2012.
“We’re not going to talk about what happened last year,” Powers said. “If we went 16-0 last year, we still wouldn’t be talking about that this year. This is a new season, new team, everything is new about the Colts.”
During the offseason, the Colts brought in a trio of veteran offensive lineman to combine with some talented skill positions taken in April’s NFL Draft.
On the other side of the ball, the Colts added players familiar with the new 3-4 hybrid defense to the Pro Bowl defenders already in Indianapolis.
It’s that combination that has the 53 players in the locker room itching to get on the field this Sunday.
“The people in this building believe in what we can do. We know what we have,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “The system that has been brought over has done a tremendous job in the past. Like we’ve been saying as players, if we just grasp onto the concept and buy in, we’ll be fine. As far as the naysayers are saying, you can’t be worried about that.”
The Colts will head into the 2012 season looking to continue an NFL trend that truly epitomizes the parity the league has seen over the last several years.
Since 2003, at least one team has gone from the bottom of their respective divisions the previous season to the top the following year.
Eighteen teams since 2001 have captured division titles the year following finishing fourth in that division.
The Colts are hoping to find their name on that list come January.
“Nobody has given us a chance. Power rankings had us at 32. Somebody else wrote that we would be 1-15,” head coach Chuck Pagano said. “You can just go on down the line. We use it as motivation. I know they are. I know our coaching staff is. We’ve all got something to prove.”
Tags: antoine bethea, chuck pagano, jerraud powers, robert mathis
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