The Indianapolis Colts head into the 2016 season with questions regarding the team’s pass rush. Can an aging Robert Mathis still be a viable piece along the defense?
The Indianapolis Colts have been a little over a month into their organized team activities. While many things are clear with training camp and the start of the regular season approaching, some things are not.
One of the biggest question marks regarding the Colts’ roster is the team’s talent in the pass rushing department, and whether or not they will be able to effectively get to the quarterback this upcoming season.
One of the Colts’ most effective players on defense for over a decade now faces questions as he reaches his mid-30’s. That player would be Robert Mathis.
Mathis tallied seven sacks for the Colts in 2015, appearing in 15 games and starting 10 of those games.
He missed all of the 2014 campaign due to a torn achilles — just one year removed from a 2013 season in which he recorded a league-leading 19.5 sacks after starting all 16 games for the Colts.
Despite being 34-years-old in 2015, Mathis was still able to produce and be a top pass rusher amongst a team that ranked in the bottom-tier in the NFL in overall defense.
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Even if he isn’t fully effective in 2016, Mathis could serve as a mentor to the Colts’ younger players on the defensive line — something Mathis himself has embraced and been willing to do.
Mathis teaching the younger guys such as Henry Anderson, David Parry and rookie Hassan Ridgeway could be beneficial to the development of their games over the course of the 2016 season and in future seasons.
Ridgeway appeared in 30 games for the Texas Longhorns through three seasons. During those three seasons, he totaled 108 tackles, 9.5 sacks and two recovered fumbles.
Anderson and Parry on the other hand showed flashes of their potential for the Colts in 2015 as rookies. Anderson’s season was cut short after nine weeks due to a torn ACL — but he had started all nine of those games and had given Colts fans a glimpse of what he could provide moving forward.
Going back to Mathis, 2016 could be a crucial season for the aging pass rusher as the Colts desperately search for an answer to get to opposing quarterbacks — a flaw that could come back to haunt the team moving forward.
With an improved AFC South, division wins will no longer come easy for the Colts as they have in years prior. The Colts will have to lean on their defense and pass rush at times for crucial plays, and getting a good deal of production from Mathis will be critical to that success.