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Indianapolis Colts


Second-year defensive tackle Fili Moala contributes, teammates confident in safety Melvin Bullitt and Sunday providing a chance to improve.



Second-year defensive tackle Fili Moala started his second regular season game in last Sunday's season opener at Houston. Moala's first start came late last season in Buffalo as Indianapolis rested many players as they prepared for the playoffs.

But simply getting on the field in any capacity to help the team was first and foremost to the former second-round selection.

"Whether it's coming off the bench, being in a starting role or running down on kickoff, whatever it is, I just wanted to be a part of the team and feel like I was contributing," Moala said. "I feel like I am kind of on my way."

Moala recorded five tackles against Houston Sunday and tied defensive end Robert Mathis for the most of any defensive lineman, but the overall defensive performance, especially against the run, left the 6-foot-4, 303-pound lineman dissatisfied.

"It is always about stopping the run," Moala said. "You always want to make a team one-dimensional, and as a team we did not do that. So it is back to the drawing board and back to work."

And Moala said the perfect time to do that is this week heading into Sunday prime-time home opener against the New York Giants.

"Anytime you can be back home in front of your home crowd it is always a little extra motivation," Moala said. "I look forward to this Sunday and putting a better product on the field. Honestly, every football game we play, no matter if it's one in the morning or one in the afternoon, we just have to win."

While Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell was unable to update the status of safety Bob Sanders' injured elbow on Monday, many Colts players tried to focus on the positive, that of having Melvin Bullitt.

Bullitt has started 21 of 45 career games since 2007 while filling in for Sanders, and the fourth-year veteran safety's teammates have the utmost confidence in him.

"He is a guy that is no stranger to being out there on the field," defensive captain Gary Brackett said. "He knows what we demand of him and does a great job of coming in and playing some positive reps for us."

Defensive back Kelvin Hayden also gave a ringing endorsement of Bullitt and his abilities if he is called upon to play significant minutes.

"He has been in there long enough and you could say he is a two-year starter in some way or form," Hayden said. "(Melvin) is one of those guys who is ready to respond when his number is called. He is a true professional, and you can only tip your hat to a guy like that."

In 2009, Bullitt started 12 of 14 games and recorded a career-high 82 tackles, 55 solo, and a forced fumble. During his 2008 campaign, the safety had a team-leading four interceptions, 69 tackles and a forced fumble.

As is their custom after any game, Caldwell and Colts players began putting the Houston game behind them on Monday and started to focus on their next opponent, the New York Giants.

Indianapolis hosts the Giants in its 2010 home opener Sunday in its first of four games against an NFC East opponent this year. The Colts also will face Dallas at home and Philadelphia and Washington on the road later this season.

Caldwell spoke about the opener on Monday afternoon, but acknowledged the home-field advantage does not necessarily assure the team an easier path.

"It gives (us) a chance to play in a little bit more familiar territory, but it doesn't present any guarantees for us," Caldwell said. "We still have to work and work extremely hard, but it will be great to certainly play in front of our fans for the first time in 2010, obviously in a regular season game. We are all looking forward to that."

For some players, like defensive back Kelvin Hayden, the Colts will look to improve this week and put the disappointing season opener behind them.

"(The season) is 16 rounds and every week you want to get better, win or lose," Hayden said. "That is our mindset with a loss and our mindset with a win. There is always going to be room for improvement and we just want to continue to improve."

"We have about six days to go out there and redeem ourselves, and that's what we'll focus on," Brackett said. "Sunday night we will have a new task at hand and have another chance to go out and prove ourselves all over again."

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