Indianapolis Colts training camp does not start until July 26th. So, there will not be much news about the team until then. As a result, it is time to preview the Colts’ players who will play key roles in 2016. It is time to look at Robert Mathis.
Mathis is coming off a decent 2015 season. He recorded seven sacks and 20 combined tackles last season. These numbers are a bit low when comparing them to Mathis’ career averages. However, his below-average production is understandable.
It had been a while since Mathis had played in a football game. He missed the entire 2014 season due to a torn Achilles. As a result, he was still fighting to get back to full strength in 2015. For most of last season, Mathis was still recovering from the injury and shaking off the playing rust.
More from Indianapolis Colts
- The Indianapolis Colts Have a Brutal Road Schedule in 2019
- Who Could the Indianapolis Colts Target in Free Agency?
- Here is Where the Colts Will Pick in the First Round of the NFL Draft
- What’s Next For the Indianapolis Colts?
- Hey Kansas City, the Indianapolis Colts are Coming
Mathis is also 35 years old, which is well past his athletic prime. There are not many pass rushers who have continued to succeed past the age of 35.
In NFL history, only ten different players at least 35 years old have recorded at least 10 sacks in a season a total of 16 times. The Green Bay Packers’ Julius Peppers was the last player to do this. At 36 years old, Peppers had 10.5 sacks last season.
Earlier this offseason, Mathis said he listens to all the naysayers and wants to prove them wrong. He will be fighting against all the negative criticism and father time in 2016.
There are not many people expecting Mathis to surpass his 2015 numbers. However, Mathis has a good chance to prove these people wrong. Believe it or not, he has a few things going his way in 2016.
First of all, the Colts overhauled their defensive staff. New defensive coordinator Ted Monachino is now calling the plays defensively, and he has clearly expressed his desire to attack opposing quarterbacks.
Under former defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, the Colts’ defense often valued pass coverage over a decent pass rush. As a result, the Colts’ pass rushers often faced double-teams from offensive lines. With Monachino, pass rushers like Mathis should flourish more.
It sounds far-fetched to suggest Mathis can reach 10 sacks in 2016, but it is definitely an attainable goal for him. He does not have the speed he once had, but he is still a crafty veteran. Getting seven sacks in a season where he was not 100 percent shows his craftiness.
Barring any training camp injuries, Mathis will entire the 2016 season fully healthy and nearly two years removed from his Achilles injury. He may be 35 years old, but it seems like a sneaky good bet he will be the 11th different player who is at least 35 years old to achieve a 10+ sack season.
Everyone is expecting quarterback Andrew Luck to get the offense back on track in 2016. The main issue for the Colts has always been the defense. Any defensive turnaround for the Colts in 2016 will start band end with Mathis
Mathis has been one of the Indianapolis Colts’ key defensive players for multiple seasons. If the Colts want to succeed in 2016, they will need him to come up big for them again.