Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano expects his linebackers and ultimately the entire defensive unit to step up while Robert Mathis sits out the first four games from his PED suspension.
After losing 13-10 on the road to the New York Jets in the preseason opener, Pagano praised the defensive effort. “Defensively there was a lot of good things to build on,” Pagano said in his post game press conference. “Other than a read option play that Geno ran that got out on us, I thought our run defense was good.”
Pagano didn’t seem too surprised that backup linebackers Bjoern Werner, Jonathan Newsome, Andy Studebaker, Cam Johnson, Jonathon Sharpe and leading tackler Henoc Muamba all played well in the ball game.
Muamba played 36 snaps at the ILB position finishing the contest with 11 total tackles and one forced fumble. The former Winnipeg Blue Bomber of the Canadian Football League flashed quickness and the ability to make plays from sideline to sideline.
In a post game interview, Muamba said there were some little things he could fix. “I thought there were a couple of times when I read some things and I felt like I needed to wait another second, and I did that. But there were other times I felt really good and I flowed with the game. It’s just a matter of reviewing the game, and be more aggressive next week.”
Muamba also gave credit to fellow linebackers D’Qwell Jackson, Jerrell Freeman and Kelvin Sheppard for their positive leadership and willingness to openly help him anytime he has a question.
The Colts have previously had good success signing linebacker talent, like Jerrell Freeman, from the CFL and Muamba appears eager to follow in his footsteps. Muamba takes pride in his work on special teams and it’s a major reason why over half of the NFL invited the former CFL All-Star for a visit. Once the 25-year old linebacker visited with the Colts, he knew exactly where he wanted to pursue his NFL dream.
His great performance versus the Jets on Thursday night was a giant step toward earning one of the coveted 53-man roster spots. More aggressiveness from Muamba next week against the Giants, and the Colts will be feeling pretty good about their depth at the linebacker position.