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Defensive newcomers make an impact in Colts victory over Giants

Posted Aug 19, 2013

Intro: With turnovers and getting to the quarterback, the Colts defense made plays all night at MetLife Stadium. Many newcomers had productive evenings for the Colts defense as Indianapolis earned a 20-12 win over the Giants.


INDIANAPOLIS—When new Colts cornerback Greg Toler passes his fellow defensive backs in the hallways of the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center he has a message for them.

“Catch the ones that come to you.”

The seven-word phrase is in reference to the Colts hoping to improve on a 15-takeaways number that placed them near the bottom of the league in 2012.

Toler proved good on his word late in the first quarter on Sunday night.

With the Giants facing a third-and-one at their own 29-yard line, Toler under cut a route by Hakeem Nicks and picked off Eli Manning.

The interception set up a field goal and kept the secondary mantra going.

“We just feed off one another. One person makes a play, we all make a play,” Toler told Colts post game radio following the 2012 victory.

“Catch the ones that come to you. I know in the secondary that’s what we always tell one another in practice. Just be accountable and make the plays that come your way.”

 

Toler’s performance was one of several strong efforts out of new Colts defenders against the Giants.

Outside linebacker Erik Walden paced the defensive unit with a team-high six tackles and had the first of six sacks on the evening for the Colts.

Known for his presence in setting the edge during the run game, Walden showed off a pass rushing ability on the first play of the second quarter when he blew by Giants veteran tackle David Diehl for a sack of Manning.

Fellow outside linebacker Bjoern Werner made his NFL debut on Sunday night and played primarily in nickel packages with the first-team defense.

Werner had a tackle for loss and nearly had a sack of Eli Manning.

“I could have had a sack. I let him go,” Werner said after the game. “It was a lot of fun. I’m not going to lie. It was amazing just being out there. Being in such a nice stadium. I can’t wait for next week.”

The debut for Werner also marked the first time he was playing special teams.

“I thought (Werner) did a nice job,” Head Coach Chuck Pagano said. “He had an opportunity there early for a sack, the guy slipped through his hands. He made a play over on the edge over there, and I think got 25-30 snaps in, so for his first outing, I thought he, again without seeing the tape I couldn't tell you exactly, but I thought he was involved in some things, so I feel good about his start.”

Throw in a two-sack performance out of outside linebacker Caesar Rayford and the Colts defensive newcomers had a very productive second preseason game.

Guys like Toler, Walden, Werner and Rayford all come from various avenues but now are all donning the Horseshoe in an effort to help the Colts defense become elite.

With some defensive veterans exiting Sunday night’s game early, it was a welcoming sight to watch the new faces wreck havoc.

“You want to see all of the new faces, the acquisitions that we picked up in the offseason, step up and make plays,” defensive end Cory Redding said. “You want to see the young rookie who we invested in go out there and be productive. You want to see a defense that struggled last week, but bounced back this week.”

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