Colts S Silva Wants to Play More Instinctively In Second Season
INDIANAPOLIS – Jamie Silva has given the NFL a bit of thought.
And having done so, he said he knows what he has to do in his second season to improve on his rookie season, and that's to give things as little thought as possible.
Silva, a second-year safety for the Colts who made the roster as an undrafted free agent last season, said recently he expects to improve this season, and said doing so is about knowing the playbook and knowing what to expect on the field – sometimes before it happens.
Silva said that happens when he can play naturally. And that means playing without thinking.
"Most of the guys who come up and sign with teams are good enough to play," Silva said during the Colts' recent offseason conditioning program at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
"It's how quick can you pick up the system and get out there and not have to think. If you're thinking out there, then you're playing slow. If you can read and react to what you know, then you can play fast. I think this year, right from the start, I'll be able to play a lot faster and just play football. My strong thing is football, not the testing or the Combine.
"I think this year I'll be able to show it even more."
Silva, who played collegiately at Boston College, showed his potential last season as a backup safety, but his most prominent role was on special teams.
After spending the first two games of the regular season on the practice squad, Silva signed to Indianapolis' active roster before the third game of the season: a home loss to Jacksonville. He spent the rest of the season on the 53-man roster, playing in 11 games as a reserve.
He made five tackles on defense – all in a victory over Tennessee in the regular-season finale – and he also finished the season as the team's seventh-leading tackler on special teams with 12 tackles, including nine solos.
In Silva's case, the transition to NFL special teams player wasn't a transition at all.
"In high school, I was playing offense and defense, but I was still doing special teams," Silva said. "I liked doing it. I liked running down on kickoffs. I was the punter for my high school team and the kicker. I just enjoy playing football.
"In college, I had to ask the coaches to stay on special teams. They wanted to put the younger guys on special teams, but I asked them if I could stay out there. I've always enjoyed special teams.
"I think it's a lot of fun."
Silva said as much as he enjoys special teams, he considers himself a safety first, and it was developing at that position – one of the deepest on the Colts' roster – that he focused upon this offseason.
"The more comfortable you are with the defense, the more you can just go out and play – read and react to what you see as opposed to thinking, 'Where should I be? What should I be doing?'' Silva said. "I feel like they're going to see a big improvement with me from Year One to Year Two."
Silva hardly is the first undrafted rookie free agent to make the Colts' roster, and he's hardly the first to make an impact with such beginnings.
Dominic Rhodes. Gary Brackett. Melvin Bullitt. Josh Thomas.
Those players are among many undrafted rookies who have made the Colts' roster, with Brackett, Rhodes and Thomas playing in Super Bowl XLI and Bullitt leading the team in interceptions a year ago. Silva said the Colts' reputation for giving free agents a fair opunity drew him to Indianapolis, and now his goal is to prove he belongs to stay there.
"You're really hoping to get drafted, obviously," Silva said. "When it didn't happen, you know what you have to do. You have to get on a team. There were some teams with interest and I thought the Colts would be a great team to come to. It was a good decision for me.
"I got here and I knew right then I would have to work extremely hard and earn my spot."