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JOSH CHAPMAN RUNNING WITH GREG MANUSKY’S FIRST UNIT

Posted May 15, 2013

The talk of the offseason has centered around the plethora of quality defensive additions the Colts have brought to Indianapolis. But, it’s the name of Josh Chapman that stole the show last week when defensive coordinator Greg Manusky talked about his defense.



INDIANAPOLIS – His name might not resonate like Andrew Luck or Reggie Wayne but mention Josh Chapman’s name around Colts fans and the questions arise quickly.

Chapman did not see a minute of playing time during his rookie season last year as he recovered from ACL surgery from January 2012.

The rehab of Chapman, a prototypical 3-4 nose tackle, has been monitored closely and all ears were tuned in when defensive coordinator Greg Manusky mentioned the Alabama nose tackle’s name.

“Josh has been working with the first unit and getting some quality reps,” Manusky said over the weekend.

Yes, it is only May and any depth chart should always have an eraser near by, but there is no denying that a healthy Chapman will fortify the Colts rush defense.

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM OTA PRACTICE THIS WEEK

Another body that Manusky is very familiar with up front and will aid the Colts rush defense is Ricky Jean-Francois.

This marks Jean-Francois’ fourth season in the NFL and he played under Manusky (then the 49ers defensive coordinator) during his first two years in the NFL.

Jean-Francois was an important piece of the 49ers run to the Super Bowl last season and Manusky is glad to be reunited with him.

“That’s why we picked him up,” Manusky said of Jean Francois production last year. “He kept on getting better and better and better. He’s ready to shine right now.”

 

It has been accustomed for edge rushers in Indianapolis to garner much attention and that was once again the case this offseason with the Colts first making a splash in the free agent market when they acquired Erik Walden.

 

Manusky calls Walden “a firm, set the edge type of linebacker” who will pair with Bjoern Werner to give Indianapolis two quality options opposite Robert Mathis.

 

At this past weekend’s rookie minicamp, Manusky got a first-hand look at his newest toy in Werner and came away impressed.

 

“Coming from college, (Werner) made the transition already just standing up in one day probably the best I’ve seen in a number of years,” Manusky said.

 

“Usually the hardest thing is once they stand up, they don’t shoot their hands but he seems like he’s doing a pretty good job of it right now.”

One area that might come as a surprise to some Colts fans is the notion that Manusky said he could envision times where both Werner and Walden are on the field together together.

“I think you’ve got to try and find a situation where they are both in that situation where we can get them out on the field,” Manusky said. “The more pass rushers you have, the better off you are going to be in a 34 defense.”

 

A frantic pass rush will only enhance the playmaking abilities of new Pro Bowl safety LaRon Landry.

 

“When you get a guy with that guy’s speed, mentality, a striker, a hitter, it’s always good to have those guys back there,” Manusky said of Landry.

 

At every level of the defense, additions have been made this offseason in a variety of ways.

 

Up front, it’s Jean-Francois and veteran nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin joining a healthy Chapman.

 

Behind them, comes Walden and Werner on the outside with inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard and his 25 NFL starts heading to Indianapolis.

 

Lastly, in the secondary, Greg Toler (15 starts) and Landry are joining Vontae Davis and Antoine Bethea.

 

The names are starting to fill in on the defensive side of the football and that explains the jovial mood Manusky was in when discussing in the prospects of this year’s defense.

 

“We are starting to fit those pieces of the puzzle together based on what that 34 defense is supposed to look like,” Manusky said. “It’s good to get additions across the board, d-line, linebackers and the secondary.”

 


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