Before he forced and recovered a fumble in his NFL debut, JuJu Brents made his presence known to the Baltimore Ravens.
Wide receiver Zay Flowers caught a pass on the far sideline on third and six. Brents drove down on Flowers and thumped him, knocking the rookie back a few yards. Flowers was still given the first down, but on that play, it was clear: Brents came to play last weekend.
"You're gonna feel me for sure," Brents said on Thursday's episode of the Official Colts Podcast (listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube). You're gonna feel my presence. I'm gonna be aggressive. I'm gonna be in your face. And I'm gonna talk a little noise too."
Last weekend, Brents' physicality and confidence shined – the same traits that were part of why the Colts selected him in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft. But it's one thing to show that physicality in college; it's another to show it against guys in the NFL.
"Not all corners like to tackle," Colts defensive backs coach Ron Milus said. "I mean, that's just what it is. But he does bring that ability to make a tackle."
Milus pointed to two other aspects to Brents' physicality: First, that he can legitimately play bump-and-run press coverage, and second, that his willingness to tackle limits how many yards after the catch opposing players can get. Brents was targeted five times, with Ravens receivers catching three of those targets and generating minus-one yard after the catch.
"He's able to set the edge, he's able to use his God-given size and length to impose his will on the opponent," cornerback Kenny Moore II said. "As a defensive back, as a defensive player, you just gotta appreciate that from a teammate."
View the top photos as the Colts continue preparations to face the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Fellow cornerback Dallis Flowers echoed that sentiment.
"Fiery, chippy," Flowers said. "Ready to learn, ready to work. He played a great game. You felt his presence out there — big, long, fast, explosive. Felt good to have him out there with us."
Brents on Sunday will take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams in his first opportunity to play a regular season NFL game in his hometown. It'll be a special moment for Brents – but also an opportunity to make the story about his play on the field more than his Indianapolis roots.
"My whole life growing up a Colts fan, it's crazy – now I get to share the same Horseshoe," Brents said. "It's like a dream come true for a little kid."
Thursday's practice report: