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way to Indianapolis by way of Cleveland where he established himself as a sure-tackler. He made 141 combined tackles in 2013. In tandem with Jerrell Freeman, linebacker could be an area of strength for the Colts. The defense will be tested early and often without their sack-leader as the team faces off against the Denver Broncos and former Colt Peyton Manning in the first week of the season. The man that will take the majority of the snaps in Mathis’ place will be last year’s top-pick Bjoern Werner. A lot will be placed on the second-year player out of Florida State, but if he succeeds he will find himself on the opposite side of Mathis when he returns from his suspension. The defensive backfield will also be feeling the loss of a longtime Colt as free safety Antoine Bethea left for San Francisco. This leaves last year’s free-agent acquisition LaRon Landry as the lone returning starting safety while the team determines who will be his counterpart in the back of the defense. Former Denver Bronco Mike Adams is one of those players that is competing for the other safety spot next to Landry. Over the last two years, Adams combined for 17 passes defensed while also having a hand in 144 tackles. He has also started 23 of a possible 32 games, but only 7 were last season. Even at 33, the Colts see a player that can still play in the NFL. In what capacity will be determined during training camp. Defensive Player to Watch Although the 33-year old hybrid linebacker will miss the team’s first four games of the season, how Mathis comes back into the fold will be crucial to the Colts’ front seven. As dynamic a player as he is—he is coming off of an All-Pro season in 2013—if Mathis comes back with rust from a lack of reps in practice, the defense will suffer all the more for it. But if he comes back rejuvenated from the added rest while teams are gearing up for the middle of the season, Mathis’ skills will make other areas of the defense look that much better, including a defensive backfield reeling from the loss of Bethea. Key Additions: DE Arthur Jones, WR Hakeem Nicks, LB D’Qwell Jackson Key Subtractions: RB Donald Brown, FS Antoine Bethea, OT Jeff Linkenbach, LB Kavell Conner, G Mike McGlynn, WR Darrius Heyward- Bey, CB Cassius Vaughn Rookies: T Jack Mewhort, WR Donte Moncrief, DE Jonathan Newsome, LB Andrew Jack, T Ulrick John SCOREBOARD Colts Special Teams Back to lead the kicking game is 41-year old Adam Vinatieri as the team brought him back on a two-year deal. The kicker, now entering his 19th season and ninth with the Colts, has shown no signs of slowing down as he converted 87.5 percent of his field goals last season with a long of 52 yards. With numbers like that, the Colts have one of the more consistent kickers in the game. The punt team will be led by Pat McAfee, who was also resigned this off-season to a five-year deal after he has averaged 45.6 yards per punt over the first five years of his career. Last season he averaged 46 yards per punt and had 27 downed inside the 20. Not only does he kick but he also likes to get his hands dirty as the kickoff specialist where he gets involved in the play when he can. Reggie Wayne Prediction MICHAEL HICKEY/GETTY IMAGES SPORT The Colts should be able to win the division as long as injuries aren’t much of a hindrance. How far they go will be determined by the offense. If the Colts can establish any sort of running game, it will allow Luck to look downfield longer with less pressure in his face. 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 Playoff Finish DIV WC - WC SB Regular Season W-L 11-5 11-5 2-14 10-6 14-2 Points Per Game 24.45 22.31 15.19 27.19 26 Points Allowed Per Game 21 24.19 26.88 24.25 19.19 Yards Per Game 341.75 362.44 286.81 380.75 363.06 Yards Allowed Per Game 357.06 374.25 370.94 341.56 339.19 Turnovers 13 25 29 24 23 Takeaways 27 15 17 21 25


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