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Delano Howell makes a name for himself in first NFL start

Intro: With LaRon Landry sidelined on Sunday, second-year safety Delano Howell made his first career NFL start. Howell had one career tackle coming into Sunday but his impact against the 49ers helped earn a win against his former college coaches.





INDIANAPOLIS – Delano Howell might be the youngest player in the Colts secondary but he sounded like a wily veteran on Wednesday afternoon.

On Sunday, Howell made his first career NFL start and received high remarks from his head coach following the safety's four-tackle, two-pass breakup performance.

The safety made it clear that Sunday was over and he's eager for his next chance to impress.

"I'm not even thinking about that anymore," Howell said on Wednesday. "I'm just thinking about this next game so ultimately all I care about is preparing myself to make sure I'm ready for the Jaguars."

Howell speaks like a veteran and that should not come as a surprise considering he's yet another 2012 Stanford product for the Colts.

Undrafted in 2012, Howell started 33 games during his career at Stanford before the Buffalo Bills signed him as a free agent.

The Colts plucked Howell off the Bills practice squad last November and he played in six games for Indianapolis last season.

When the Colts signed LaRon Landry in the offseason it became apparent that Howell would be fighting for one of the backup safety positions.

However when Landry went down early in training camp, Howell "made himself necessary" when he started in the preseason opener and played 99% of the team's defensive snaps.

"We saw what (Howell) can do in the preseason and he earned that start by doing the things that he's done since he's been here," head coach Chuck Pagano said of the 49ers game.

"He's always in the right spot. He's one of those guys that's first in, last to leave. Takes a lot of pride in his game, studies, prepares, and again that's why he was able to go out and play at a high level."

Howell's four tackles and a pair of critical pass break ups on Sunday was apart of a high-level afternoon for the Colts secondary.

The play of Howell might have a received a bit of a boost after his head coach got done with the CBS production meetings on Saturday night.

Earlier this week, Pagano told the story of what Jim Nantz and Phil Simms reactions were when he told them Howell would be starting for Landry.

"They were like 'Who?' I said Delano Howell is starting at safety," Pagano says recalling the story.

"I made sure I told Delano that before the game started. Just watch the preseason, right? He was as productive a player as anybody in the preseason.

"He's one of those guys that comes to work every day, works at his craft, studies the game. He's hard-nosed, he's tough, he's a team player and he prepares and took full advantage of his opportunity."

On Sunday, Howell was joining a veteran Colts secondary and one particular member had a little extra to play for against the 49ers.

Vontae Davis was playing against his brother's team and in order to get bragging rights over Vernon, Vontae needed Howell to play at a high level.

"He came in as if he's been there before and that's because he approaches every week like a game," Davis said of Howell.

"I didn't see any nerves from him. He looked like a seasoned vet."

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