INDIANAPOLIS --- Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano said Thursday team trainers were able to confirm the Achilles tendon injury to outside linebacker Robert Mathis and said he was informed Mathis was scheduled for surgery in Atlanta Thursday to repair the injury. Thursday was the first time Bjoern Werner spoke about having to replace Mathis for longer than the expected first four games of the season.
"It's like an honor," said Werner about his feelings stepping in long-term now this season for the Colts' all-time sack leader. "I can't replace Robert Mathis. I can just be that guy stepping in and try to create my own legacy."
For Werner, it is still a difficult situation to come to terms with though having lost a team leader on the field.
"It hurt everybody in this locker room. It's tough. It's the first time Robert Mathis is gone for awhile now," said Werner. "People have to adjust to it. Since I've been here, Robert Mathis was there for me."
Werner said he hopes Mathis will be back in the locker room in a few more weeks to be a player-coach for the outside linebackers and the rest of the team.
But it's not just Mathis that has been lost at outside linebacker. The Colts have also placed Cam Johnson on injured reserve, ending his season. That means Werner and Erik Walden have new back-ups at outside linebacker: 5th round rookie Jonathan Newsome and newly signed Chris Carter, who spent training camp with the Steelers. Coach Pagano also mentioned one other name.
"It's going to be a collaborative effort, if you will, to fill that spot" Coach Pagano answered when asked how the team will address the hole also left by Johnson's injury. "News(ome) can play the SAM or the Rush (linebacker). Andy Studebaker is playing inside some for us. He's played the Rush. He's played the SAM. We're certainly going to get him some work there, so he's up to speed on that."
"Everybody's got to step up, at this point. We all understand that. That's what's got to get done. So, it's going to get done," said Newsome, before being asked if he's looking forward to the opportunity of playing more snaps. "Definitely. I'm ready. Whenever my name is called, I'm going to be ready."
Their first test will be Monday night, against an Eagles offense that has averaged about 28 points per game under Philadelphia Head Coach Chip Kelly.