INDIANAPOLIS – Pat Angerer's rookie year in 2010 was one that had him on the move.
The second-round draft pick from Iowa opened 11 of 16 appearances, and he was just one of 18 Colts to play in every game in what was an injury-filled year for the club.
After subbing for the first five games, Angerer started the rest of the way. He opened seven games at the strongside position and four in the middle. It was a busy year for the 63rd overall choice as he had 75 tackles, 50 solo, one sack, one forced fumble. He also had a team-leading 16 special teams tackles.
Angerer's 11 starts in 2010 ranked second among Colts linebackers. It was just one start behind team captain Gary Brackett, who missed four outings. Those four outings (road games at Washington and New England and home dates with Cincinnati and San Diego) were the ones where Angerer moved inside.
Angerer had three outings in 2010 where he reached double digits in tackles, 12 at New England and 11 against Washington and San Diego.
He literally was in the middle of the fray in those games, and that is the position in which he is now.
On Wednesday, Indianapolis placed Brackett on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. The injury happened in the Houston opener and necessitated Angerer shifting inside at that time. Now, the move appears to be permanent, or as permanent as things can be in the NFL.
As for Angerer, where he plays is not a compelling issue, he just likes to be a part of the action. He does feel bad that Brackett will not be in the mix.
"I like playing middle, but I will play anywhere. I'm just going to do my best, try, hopefully, to fill Gary's shoes the best I can," said Angerer. "I know I'm not going to be able to, he's one of the best players out there."
Angerer had 13 tackles at the Texans, along with a fumble recovery after he moved inside for Brackett. The recovery and return helped provide the club's lone touchdown of the game.
Against Cleveland, Angerer had eight tackles, two quarterback pressures and one forced fumble.
It was another busy afternoon as the club battled into the fourth quarter in an eventual 27-19 setback.
This past week against Pittsburgh, he amassed 20 tackles, 11 solo, including one for a loss. His active day was one reason the club limited the Steelers to 67 rushing yards on 28 attempts. Head Coach Jim Caldwell lauded Angerer's play against Pittsburgh.
"(Pat Angerer) played well. Obviously when you get that many tackles, you're around the ball a lot," said Caldwell, a fellow Hawkeye. "In particular, in the situation where he wasn't dragging a whole lot of people down from behind, so he was holding them for minimal gains. He played well, tackled well, adjusted well. He flew around and made a lot of plays.
"One of the things is he's a very instinctive guy. He's all over the place, just in terms of his ability to run and tackle. He's a guy that has a very good feel for the run game, how to stop it, and getting in position to make tackles. I thought he did a real nice job."
Brackett praised the play of Angerer, too: "That's impressive by him. First of all, a credit to him for stepping in and playing the way he did. He's been playing really well, not just this game, but last game he had a good game as well. The kid's really been getting after it."
Cornerback Jerraud Powers had high praise for Angerer and claims there is something the linebacker brings to the line-up.
"Pat's a football player. He has that 'it.' He's always going to be around the ball making plays," Powers said. "Gary's out and he stepped right in and it's just like we're not missing a beat. He has a nose for the ball, hard-working guy. (He) might not say too much around the crowd but Pat knows how to play the game of football and he does it well."
The 20 tackles is one of the top single-game performances by a Colts defender in the team's Indianapolis era. As for Angerer, he had other thoughts on his night.
"Maybe in high school when I blitzed every play," Angerer said when asked if he ever had that many stops in one game. "It doesn't matter. I would rather have zero tackles and win every day."
Angerer is like a lot of young players who see a spike in performance during a second NFL season. He notices that to be the case this year, but it causes a person who always has had a critical eye to view things even more harshly in self-analysis.
"It is nice to be a little bit more comfortable, but it means I have a lot less patience with myself," he said. "I expect myself to play like a veteran. I have high expectations…As an athlete and a competitor, you don't think about the positive things. You always think of the things you can fix. Right now it's in the back of my head the stuff I need to fix.
"It has slowed down for me this year. You've had that experience and you want to play like a vet. Sometimes you have to remember you've only been here for a year, but still I definitely have less patience for my mistakes. When I make them, it bugs me a little bit more. Now when I watch tape, I know what I need to do better. I'm still making mistakes, but I'm improving."
Angerer sees nothing wrong and everything right with being a tough self-critic.
"In order to get better you have to take a long look at yourself in a mirror and know what you're good at and what you have to improve," he said.
COLTS FRIDAY NOTEBOOK:
COLTS QUOTE-UNQUOTE: Jim Caldwell(on Peyton Manning being on the active roster)
"Simply because of the fact that there may be a possibility that he may recover soon enough to give us a little help somewhere down the road. Now, we're not certain of that, but that's the reason why. The same reason why we kept Bob Sanders on last year, and it's not something that's new in terms of what we're doing. It's a bit different. It's different than (Melvin) Bullitt and different than Gary Brackett, so don't try to draw those analogies. Those guys have surgeries that are, maybe, nine months or so (to recover). You have to be able to look at each situation differently, and then make an assessment from there." Caldwell(on losses of Melvin Bullitt and Gary Brackett) "It's not easy. Obviously, with those guys, they are two of our captains. So we certainly glean much from their leadership. They're individuals that are play-makers for us, and any time you lose play-makers there is a bit of a concern. We've had the philosophy around here for a long time of, 'Next Man Up.' Neither one of them played last week in the ballgame, and Pat Angerer stepped in there and did a nice job. He made a lot of tackles and performed well. We had two young guys playing safety, and we kind of split the position with David Caldwell and Joe Lefeged. Lefeged gets an interception, and there were a lot of good plays made. I think the guys understand that they just have to play well, and play well consistently. Some of them have to rise up just a little bit more." Caldwell(on acquiring bigger players, especially at DB) "Oftentimes, we try to look for the guy that fits within the context of our system. Who's the best one to fit into that slot at that particular time? In both cases, I think that held true. They do have qualities that we look for, and any time you can add a little bit, just in terms of size, it helps. But I always say, 'Bigger doesn't always mean better.' But it's a good thing when you can add a little bit of size." Caldwell(on Philip Wheeler) "Philip has really made great strides in just having a really good understanding of what he's doing out there on the field. He's a lot more comfortable. Oftentimes when you're thinking, it does indeed slow an individual down, and he can't play with what God gave him, his speed and ability. Philip is a heavy-handed guy that thumps you pretty well. Now, he's playing without a complete thought process in terms of what he's doing and where he's going. We've kept our system relatively simple to allow all of our guys that can run an opportunity to do so. I think Philip has benefited from that as well." Caldwell(on the 2003 comeback at Tampa Bay for OT win) "It's pretty rare, obviously. It shows you two things. Number one, it's rare, because usually when you get down by that number of points, you're down by 21 with five minutes and something to go, usually teams in this league will close the door on you. It also shows you that it's never over until the final whistle. Our guys stepped-up and made plays. We had a lot of play-makers that did a tremendous job, and they just never gave up. It was really a tremendous victory." Caldwell(on that win showing his current team not to give up) "I do think that there's no question about that (the message of not giving up), but that was quite a while ago. Guys have to rely on what's within themselves at this point in time, as opposed to something that happened with another group of guys. Except for maybe a few guys that are here, Reggie (Wayne), (Jeff) Saturday, (Ryan) Diem, Peyton (Manning) and some of those guys that were around during that time. But for the most part, obviously, I think it was great to be a part of it, but it's a little different era right now. We've got to find our own footing." Adam Vinatieri(on team mindset at 0-3) "I think we're playing better football every week, and that's a step in the right direction. Obviously, we didn't want to be 0-3 right now, and we're trying to get things going in the right direction. We still have our confidence. We still know that we can play well, and we're making strides in the right direction. We're minimizing our penalties. We're trying to make more big plays and not give up as many. Playing a good team last week, we showed that we still have a lot of drive and 'want,' and we're not giving up. The season is still long, and there is still plenty of football to be played. We're just going to try to do what we always do, and take them one game at a time. Try to get a win and get on a winning track." Dwight Freeney(on if team can draw from last year's injuries) "I guess that's a good thing. You don't want feel right to say it's a good thing when a guy gets hurt, but the fact we've had guys banged up before, those young guys coming in have some experience now because of last year. They're a little bit more comfortable with being out there. I'm a little more confident than I would have been in years past." Freeney(on the team's approach) "It (the approach) doesn't change. Fortunately for years around here, we've always won. It's always been, 'Who cares about what we did last week? It's always about this next challenge.' Now, we're 0-3, but it's the same thing. It's, 'Focus on the next opponent.' That's what is most important. That's what we're going to do. We'll add up the wins and losses at the end and see where we stand. It doesn't change, whether we're 3-0 or 0-3. We don't want to be 0-3, but it doesn't change. We can't win eight games (this week). We can only win one. Let's take that next step, and that's what we will try to do." Freeney(on Tampa Bay RB-LaGarrette Blount) "He's definitely a load. He runs the ball very well. He's a tough guy to get down. It's going to take a collective effort from everyone out there. It's not going to be one guy, it's going to have to be three or four guys." Pat Angerer(on Tampa Bay RB-LaGarrette Blount) "He's a big guy, kind of like (Cleveland's Peyton) Hillis. He runs hard. It takes a couple of guys to take him down. He's a good back. They have a good O-line. They work real well together. Their quarterback's (Josh Freeman) mobile. He's good, he has a great arm. If he doesn't see anyone open, he runs and makes plays. It's going to be tough. It will be a big challenge." Angerer(on if he cares about leading NFL in tackles) "I don't really care. We're 0-3. That's all that really matters. We need a win." Curtis Painter(on Peyton Manning's role in the press box last Sunday) "Peyton's the kind of guy who will be there for support…He was up there for suggestions. He called down to me (by phone) a few times and kind of talked (while Kerry Collins was playing). I don't think he wanted to be in Kerry's ear every minute either. (He was) just in communication about what's going on down on the field. A lot of times it was kind of what was going on offensively, not necessarily suggestions, just how things were running." A.J. Edds(on LB-Pat Angerer since two were four-year Iowa teammates) "Pat's a smart guy. I don't know how he is with you guys, but he's a smart guy. He's pretty cerebral, he sees a lot of things and he gets football. We were watching Jeopardy last night, and I was pleasantly surprised that he knew some of the stuff that was going on. Which I would have absolutely thought, 'No way.' Pat gets it as far as on the field, and he gets it off the field too. He's a good guy to have help catch me up a little bit, because, obviously, I haven't been here. Any extra effort or anything I need, he knows what I need to be doing as far as getting in the playbook and getting stuff figured out. The odds and ins and intricacies to figure out what my job is, and how I can do it the best way to help the team."
Jerraud Powers(on if it helps to play similar teams like Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay consecutively) "It kind of helps, but they're different teams. I would not say Tampa Bay is similar to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh probably has the more deeper threats at receiver than Tampa Bay does. I think they're a solid offense (that) does a great job at maintaining the game, controlling the clock. They have a great quarterback. They have some good receivers with (Mike) Williams and (Arrelious) Benn). Kellen Winslow at tight end is basically another receiver. It's going to be a tough challenge." Powers(on Tampa Bay QB-Josh Freeman) "He's a big, strong, physical quarterback. I watched some film on him today, and he's escaping the pocket, running down field and it's like he's refusing to slide. He's trying to take whatever shots defenders are trying to give him and run over guys. He's got a strong arm, a smart guy and you can see when you watch film that he's a tremendous leader out there. He's kind of similar to Big Ben (Roethlisberger). Now, I don't want to compare him and Big Ben, because (Ben has) two Super Bowls and all that. But (Josh Freeman) has the same size, and it's going to take more than one guy to bring him down. It's going to be a tough challenge." Powers(on perhaps becoming more vocal) "Since my rookie year, they've been calling me an 'old guy' for some reason. I think I definitely am going to have to start speaking up. I've always been a guy to try to lead by example, not a guy with too much to say. I think these younger guys are going to need me to say probably a little more, be more vocal, work more with them, just give them more confidence going into games. It will help out tremendously." Jeff Saturday(on team) "0-3 is not where this team expected to be after three games. We're disappointed where we are. The only way to fix it is go to work and get better. We have another game coming up this week and we have to get in the win category." Saturday(on QB-Curtis Painter after Pittsburgh game) "Curt did a good job, and he came in and played well. He put the ball where it needed to be a few times, and we had some good, consistent drives. We were running the ball well with him in there. I was happy to see he played well." Ryan Diem(on the offense) "We continue to improve in the passing game. The running game was pretty solid (against Pittsburgh). I have to review it on tape to fully see it, but we ran the ball well. Joe (Addai) did a great job. Delone (Carter) came in and mixed it up a little bit. As long as we can keep protecting the ball, we're going to move it down the field." Diem(on being comfortable with Curtis Painter or Kerry Collins) "Yes, with whoever's back there. We've felt comfortable with Curtis since he's been here. He jumped in there and had some pretty good drives that he put together after a little adversity. I was impressed with that. I feel comfortable with either one of them in there."