INDIANAPOLIS – When the NFL schedule came out in April, the eyes were drawn to this stretch for the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts knew going into 2015 they were going to be playing some of the game's finest signal callers.
Little did they know, almost all of them would come in consecutive weeks.
Tom Brady in Week Six? Check.
Drew Brees in Week Seven? Check.
Cam Newton in Week Eight? Check.
Peyton Manning in Week Nine? Check.
Then how about a bye week sprinkled in before road trips to face Matt Ryan and the Falcons, before another contest away from home against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers?
How's that for a quarterback gauntlet?
"You play in this league, you want to play against the best," cornerback Darius Butler says.
"When you get opportunities like we have, you want to take advantage of them. You want to step up to the plate. It's going to be a huge task but I think we'll be ready for it."
Obviously, the opposing quarterback impacts every level of a defense with the greatest emphasis being on the secondary.
No position on the Colts roster has been hit harder due to injury this season than the cornerback spot.
So far in 2015, the Colts have had 10 different cornerbacks on their active roster.
Just for good measure, the secondary was tested even further last Sunday with Mike Adams, and his NFL-leading nine interceptions since 2014, sidelined.
Adams is back this week, and the challenge for him and the Colts defense is the rare "create a player on Madden" type quarterback---Cam Newton.
Newton's listed as a quarterback, but he is the size of a tight end (6-5 and 245 pounds) and runs like a running back (4.5-second 40-yard dash).
No quarterback in NFL history, not named Cam Newton, has started his career with four straight seasons of 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards.
Since 2011, Newton's 37 rushing touchdowns is the second most in the NFL, for any player. The 37 career rushing touchdowns are just six short of the most ever for a quarterback in league history (Steve Young-43).
All the numbers above are why Newton presents the most unique quarterback challenge of any in the NFL.
As the weeks move on in the Colts 2015 journey, there's no let up from what this defense is seeing from the position all eyes are on.
"To face elite quarterbacks you have to be really sharp, really on top of what you're doing on defense, your own personal game plan going into the game," Colts safety Dwight Lowery says.
"Those are the type of guys that take advantage of very intricate, situational football. You've got to be aware of that because I think that's what separates elite quarterbacks from others—when it's situational football that's when they come alive."
A great way to put a name with a face!