MAKING PROGRESS

Colts middle linebacker Pat Angerer made his first NFL start in a 27-24 victory over the Washington Redskins Sunday. 'He did fine - better than fine,' Colts President Bill Polian said.

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Colts Middle Linebacker Pat Angerer "Moving Forward" in First NFL Season

INDIANAPOLIS – Pat Angerer won't say his starting debut was perfect. Far from it.

That's not surprising, because the Colts rookie middle linebacker is often the toughest assessor of his own play. Still, he said when he looks at how he played this past Sunday against the Washington Redskins – and indeed, how he has played so far this season – it's easy to find flaws.

But Angerer said this, too:

While there were flaws last week and all season, there also has been progress – real progress – which he said is very much something on which he can build.

And he said that's a good start, a real good start.

"I've made mistakes," Angerer said this week during the Colts' 2010 bye week, "but I think I'm moving forward."

Angerer, with starter Gary Brackett out with a groin injury, made his first career start in a 27-24 victory over the Washington Redskins this past Sunday in Landover, Md., and more than that, he made a real impact.

Consider:

Angerer, a second-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft from the University of Iowa, not only tied for the team lead with 11 tackles against Washington, he also had his first career sack – an eight-yarder on Washington quarterback Donovan McNabb that helped force a first-quarter punt.

Angerer also had a tackle for a loss, a quarterback hurry and two passes defensed.

"I think he did fine – better than fine," Colts President Bill Polian said this week. "He was physical. He was assertive. He ran. He did everything you could expect him to do and more. He plays fast."

Brackett, too, said Angerer fared well – and not just because he played fast.

Throughout the game, Brackett said, when there were plays to be made – and at times, big, game-turning plays – Angerer at times made the plays and at other times helped put teammates in a position to have a chance to make them.

"He played hard," Brackett said. "Obviously, the sack was a huge play in the game. He had a tackle when he knocked the ball down. He was very active, and I thought he did a good job out there."

Brackett said while he talked to Angerer during the game – "It can be a little overwhelming out there," Brackett said – he said the backup did a solid job, particularly considering the challenge of making audibles and checks at the line of scrimmage in a player's first season.

"I wanted him to see what I said from the sidelines," Brackett said, adding that he told Angerer, "Don't second-guess yourself. Once you make a check, live with it. Say it loud. Communicate."

"I think he got that done," Brackett said.

Brackett was asked how long it took to be comfortable making calls at the line. He smiled.

"It's still a learning process," Brackett said. "Every week is a different animal. It's always a chess match. Some teams – for instance, when you play against our offense and the speed that they come up to the line of scrimmage with – it's tough.

"Every week, you have to expect something different. For me, I can rely on years of experience and what I've seen before, and have some calls already dialed up in my head if something does go correctly. So, I think it's tough. It's a learning process.

"Like I said, for the first time out, he did a pretty good job."

Angerer, who also this season has emerged as one of the Colts' top tacklers on special teams, said there was no questioning the value of his first start, and the experience he gained from it.

"I learned a lot," Angerer said. "Obviously, anytime you're on the field you're going to learn a ton. Just playing with everybody was fun. I made mistakes, and watching it on film, it's never as bad as you think it is. And it's never as good as you think it is, so, yeah, I learned a lot."

Angerer, a two-year starter at Iowa, said his style of self-assessment – while hardly given to quick praise or at times, any praise at all – comes naturally.

"Obviously, you want to your worst critic," Angerer said. "You don't want to be too positive with yourself. I'm always very hard on myself. I come from a family where everybody looks at themselves and sees what they can do better."

And while he said that was true of his first NFL action, a solid game in his first start isn't a bad way to well . . . start.

"It was a little bit faster," he said. "There were some misreads, and all that stuff, but I was happy. If we would have lost, I probably would have been very upset, but we won, so I was very happy with how it turned out."

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