Robert Mathis is one of the last classic Indianapolis Colts standing, one of the remnants of the Peyton Manning Era glory days. He doesn't always say much, but when he does, it's worth hearing.
Mathis talked to reporters this week about training camp and more. The Colts play the New York Giants at 7 tonight in East Rutherford, N.J.
Some highlights from Mathis' Q-and-A with reporters:
What are your thoughts on preseason so far?
“Unfortunately (the Buffalo Bills) came out with a little bit more sense of urgency than we did. We are working on that and we are going to right the ship. I've been around 11 years and preseason is about seeing who can play, who can play together as a unit. It's kind of crawl, walk, run kind of deal. Every week you get better and just put it together as one unit.”
How comfortable are you in Year Two of this defense and what is the emphasis on stopping the run?
“It's a greater point of emphasis. We are able to play a lot faster because we are in the second year of it. A lot of guys know what they're doing, what to expect from coaches, and coaches know what to expect from players. It's a little bit more of a comfort level.”
Where is your level of concern of the pass rush besides yourself?
“The guys they brought in, they brought them in for a reason. You just have to trust in it, trust that he's going to get the job done. Nobody is trying to replace anybody, just trying to come in and just do what you are brought in for.”
Do you anticipate, until somebody else steps up, that you're going to be the guy with the 'x' on his back?
“That's kind of the anticipation, but hey, it comes with the territory right?”
On the facemask thing, were you disappointed the league ruled against you?
“Kind of didn't see it coming, but I don't want to be a distraction so it's not that big of a deal to me right now.”
Where did you come up with that facemask? Did you somebody design it for you or how did that come about?
“No, I kind of got it from Ray Lewis. I saw it in a game, I liked it, and so I thought I'd give it a shot. It didn't work out.”
Is there a different vibe at practice this week?
“Yeah, it's more that we weren't satisfied with our performance last weekend, so we're making it a point of emphasis to just give a better showing and just hone in on the details and just improve on everything that we're learning in practice.”
You're on Twitter, did you see Jim Irsay's tweet about the 'crap performance'? What's your opinion?
“He's the keeper of the brand. He's the protector of the 'shoe' and that's his job. He's the boss and what are you going to say?”
Is there a place that you can point to right now that you feel better about than you did three weeks ago when you guys got here?
“Yeah, we feel like we're gelling as a unit. Unfortunately, we've had a lot of injuries, and so we're waiting to get a lot of guys back. But for the most part, we feel like we're coming together and we're going to make a lot of people proud of us.”
What's your role on the team?
“I've assumed a leadership position. I've been around 11 years, and a lot of guys, being a young team, are going to look up to me and just view me as one of the team captains, so I have to lead by example.”
Feel kind of strange that you've been here that long? It seems like you just got here.
“Right, I still remember my rookie year like it was yesterday. Unfortunately, it was not yesterday, it was 11 years ago. But it's still running around, having fun, and time still flies.”