INDIANAPOLIS — Matthias Farley is no stranger to being the next man up with the Indianapolis Colts.
The third-year safety may not always start out as Plan A, but he is fully prepared for the driver’s seat when that moment comes.
In 2017, the Colts were without starting safety Clayton Geathers for the first three months of the season, and then lost their other starter, rookie first-round pick Malik Hooker, seven games in for the remainder of the season.
He started 15-of-16 games for the Colts in 2017. The only game he didn’t start — Week 15 against the Denver Broncos — he still managed a career-high 11 tackles. In fact, Farley played more defensive snaps (928, 86.2 percent) than anyone on the Colts in 2017, and logged another 160 snaps on special teams.
Throughout 2017, Farley amassed 98 tackles (three for a loss), one forced fumble, one fumble recovered, two interceptions and seven pass breakups.
As a rookie in 2016, Farley was a preseason standout for the Arizona Cardinals but did not make the final cuts. The Colts claimed him off waivers and he appeared in all 16 games.
Farley is like the sixth man in basketball, who could easily be a starter but is just so good in his specific role. When he starts, it gives the Colts a quality safety. When he comes off the sideline, it frees him up for more special teams snaps — yet another area in which he excels.
With both Hooker and Geathers missing team practices this spring while rehabbing injuries, Farley once again filled in as a starter and saw crucial reps — especially considering the Colts are switching their defensive scheme from a 3-4 to a 4-3.
“Well, it’s huge. You’ve got to get the reps. You can’t simulate it,” Farley said during mandatory minicamp.
“Even now we don’t have pads on so it’s hard to fully simulate what it will really, really be like. But those reps are invaluable to be able to see things full speed, go against the offense full speed. It’s instilled a lot of confidence in myself and I think everyone else would echo the same thing... To go out there and actually put it on the field has been big for everybody.”
Colts head coach Frank Reich could provide an update on the status of both Hooker and Geathers when the Colts report to training camp in Westfield, Ind., on July 25. But whether both players are able to immediately return to practice or just one them — or neither of them — Farley will assuredly be ready to play his role, regardless.