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John Simon Looks To Contribute To Defense's Continued Improvement In Return

Intro: Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker John Simon has returned to the practice field for the first time in five weeks and is looking forward to the challenge of facing the Tennessee Titans.



That was the no-frills response from hard-nosed outside linebacker John Simon at the end of his interview on Monday, when asked whether or not he'd be "good to go for Sunday" against the Tennessee Titans.

But make no mistake about it: Simon is ecstatic to make his return. As soon as he sees the field on Sunday, it will be the first game action for the former Ohio State Buckeye since suffering a stinger against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 27-0 loss at Lucas Oil Stadium five weeks ago.

Waiting for the remnants of the injury to go away has been annoying to Simon, who was very excited to have practiced with his teammates on Monday in preparation for this week's rematch against the Titans.

"This process has been a frustrating one, just trying to get back as quick as possible and not being out there with the guys," Simon said.

His initial reports from post-practice Monday were positive, saying he felt "really good" and that the bye week came at a good time for him and some of his teammates, especially with a tough stretch run, including games against all three AFC South rivals.

"[The bye week] came at the right time for a lot of us, not just myself," Simon said. "Helped us really regroup here for this last push we need to make going late into the season and every game is really counting for us."

Simon will look to build on his impressive start to the season, which includes three sacks and an interception of Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, which he returned 26-yards for a touchdown in the first meeting between the two during in their Week 6 matchup in Nashville.

The Colts dropped the game to Tennessee, 36-22, in large part because of an inability to close out the game in the second half, something that has haunted the team most of the season.

"They're a very good team that played us well last time we played them, and I know Marcus is a lot healthier out there so that's another challenge for us, but we have to play a full 60 minutes, and we didn't do that last time and it cost us," Simon said.

The fifth-year defender, who joined the Colts as a free agent this offseason after spending the past three seasons with the Houston Texans, has been able to see the issues closing out games now from on the field and from the sidelines. But he feels the Indy defense has been making notable progress, especially in the last few weeks, and with the return of himself as well as safety Clayton Geathers, who will likely play his first game in a full calendar year on Sunday, the unit should get a real shot in the arm.

"It's been a steady climb all season and getting better, and to get some guys back healthy is definitely going to help," Simon said.

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