INDIANAPOLIS —The Indianapolis Colts' offseason workout program begins on Monday, and Matthias Farley couldn't be more excited.
With most of his Colts teammates — both those returning from the 2017 roster and those new to the squad — reporting to the team's West 56th Street facility, there will naturally be a "back to school" vibe around the building.
But with a new head coach, Frank Reich, in place — with almost a completely new coaching staff — Farley anticipates, and looks forward to, a different feel than in years past.
"I think change is awesome," Farley told Colts.com's Matt Taylor this week. "I think it's oftentimes scary for a lot of people — myself included; there's always uncertainty to it. But I think when you buy in and you have somebody who's coming in who's going to change the culture, change the dynamic, I think when that happens it gives everybody a clean slate, from the top down."
Farley, a Notre Dame product, is coming off a season in which he started 15 of the Colts' 16 games at safety, easily establishing career-bests in tackles (95), tackles for loss (four), quarterback hits (three), interceptions (two), passes defensed (seven), while also forcing, and recovering, fumbles for the first time.
Despite such solid production, however, Farley isn't depending one bit on his 2017 performance moving forward, especially with a new coaching staff in place.
Farley — and everybody on the roster, for that matter — has to come in and earn their spots all over again, he said, which should create quite the competitive atmosphere from Day 1.
"My mentality is always you start from zero — whether the same coaches were here or not, you start from zero — every offseason," he said. "Because it's a new year, it's a new opportunity, there's going to be new people you're competing against inevitably, so I think having a new coaching staff accelerates that mindset of just like, 'OK, it doesn't matter what you've done.' And I think that's an incredible opportunity — it's a big challenge — but at the same time it's exciting, because if you can prove it, then you get another opportunity to do it. And I live for stuff like that, and I think that is true of everybody in the DB room and the defense and the entire team."
A new coaching staff also means new approaches to both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Reich, who will call plays with the help of new offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, has pledged a more up-tempo, aggressive style when the Colts have possession of the ball.
On defense, new coordinator Matt Eberflus is changing the team's base scheme from a 3-4 to a 4-3, which means more aggression up front.
In the back end, the Colts are expected to utilize more of a Tampa 2 coverage scheme, in which zone coverage is preferred over press coverage at the line of scrimmage.
For his part, Farley said he's not sweating all the changes that will be taking place defensively. The 4-3, Farley believes, "first the personnel we have, I think, really, really well."
"We've got some backers that will come downhill and smack you," Farley said. "D-line get upfield and just roll."
But, for now, Farley is simply looking forward to the opportunity to get back in the locker room with some familiar faces, as well as start to develop relationships with the new guys in town. After all, the start of the offseason workout program is when a team really begins to start forming its identity for the upcoming season.
"You learn and you become better teammates, you become better friends, and I think ultimately that makes you a better football team when you know more about each other," Farley said. "You're going to go that extra mile for someone."