Heading into Sunday’s highly anticipated road game with the New England Patriots, the Indianapolis Colts announced some major roster moves Monday afternoon.
First the good news. The Colts activated rookie nose tackle Josh Chapman off the team’s reserve/non-football injury list and added him to the team’s 53-player regular-season roster. Chapman is a 6-foot, 316-pound defensive lineman who was a fifth-round pick by Indianapolis in April.
A former All-Southeastern Conference and All-America performer at the University of Alabama, Chapman had been sidelined since undergoing knee surgery in January. He had been hurt in a game with the University of Florida last fall but opted to put off surgery until after the season was over.
The Hoover, Ala., native was unable to practice with the Colts last spring, in training camp or when the regular season began. Chapman had shown enough improvement through his rehabilitation process, however, to be cleared three weeks ago to begin limited on-the-field work.
Had Indianapolis officials opted not to activate Chapman to the roster this week, he would have been relegated to the reserve/non-football injury list for the remainder of the year.
His first National Football League game experience won’t be easy as he will face off against a veteran Patriots offensive line. But interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians thinks that Chapman will be able to contribute to the Colts’ defense.
“Yeah I think he could play in a limited role from what we’ve seen. We’re healthy at that position so there’s no forcing the issue,” Arians said.
Chapman can’t wait to get back to playing in a real game situation. He hasn’t played in a game since Alabama’s national championship game against LSU on Jan. 9.
“[The knee is feeling] way better than it has been. And the best way to find out [if the knee is back 100 percent] is to test it [in a game],” he said Monday, adding that stamina may be an issue at first.
“Every day gets better. I’m ready to get back in there. I feel like my mind’s ready to get back in there. I’ve been testing it in practice, so now it’s time to test it in a game. I’ve just been waiting for the medical staff and the coaching staff to make a decision. I’m very anxious, but at the same time you can’t let that anxiousness get in the way.”
n In other roster news — The Colts placed cornerback Jerraud Powers (toe) and defensive tackle Drake Nevis (hand) on injured reserve. Powers and Nevis will both miss the rest of the season. It’s the third straight year that Powers has ended up on injured reserve and the second straight for Nevis.
Powers was hurt against Miami two weeks ago. Nevis, meanwhile, was sidelined in the second quarter of last Thursday night’s game with Jacksonville.
The final player move announced Monday had tight end Kyle Miller being signed back to the active roster from the practice squad. Miller had been with the Colts during organized team activities and training camp.
n Injury list — Rookie tight end Coby Fleener (shoulder) and cornerback Vontae Davis (knee) did not take part in Monday’s practice session. Outside linebacker Robert Mathis (back) was able to return for the workout. Mathis injured his back against Miami and did not play in the Jacksonville game.
Interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said Monday that he hopes to know more about Fleener, Davis, center Samson Satele (back) and offensive tackle Winston Justice (knee) by Wednesday.
“Just the normal guys that were there [on the injury list] last week. We’ll know everything by Wednesday,” Arians said.
n Getting ready for New England — Arians knows that Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium with the Patriots will be a pretty good measuring stick for how far along Indianapolis has come this season.
New England and the Colts both have 6-3 records, but there are still a lot more questions about the Colts’ ability to win a big game away from Lucas Oil Stadium against a quality opponent.
Arians’ message to the team Monday was a rather simple one.
“The biggest thing is don’t change what you’re doing. What you’re doing is good enough. You don’t have to add or do anything different. Just respect the process of what we got done and know that we haven’t achieved anything other than put ourselves in position to achieve something,” he said.
“If we don’t stay to exactly what we’ve been doing, start letting outside influences creep in, any team on our schedule can beat us. We can beat anybody as long as we respect the process and get ourselves ready to play.”