Entering Third NFL Season, Colts Safety Jamie Silva Knows Improvement is Necessary
INDIANAPOLIS – Jamie Silva said he was never not confident, exactly.
Silva, a safety for the Colts, said he believed he could play in the NFL from the time he entered the
league as an undrafted free agent shortly following the 2008 NFL Draft, but along those lines, he said something imant happened in the last two years.
He actually played. And did so extensively.
That, he said, solidified the confidence he already had.
"There's a confidence factor that builds each year that you're here," Silva said during the Colts' recent organized team activities sessions, four weeks of on-field, team-oriented work that concluded June 11 at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. "I'm enjoying it, sure, but I still have a lot of room to improve.
"Hopefully, I can show that I can continue to do that."
Silva (5-feet-11, 204 pounds) has shown improvement throughout his Colts career.
And he has done so not only by playing a role on defense, but on special teams as well.
Silva, who played collegiately at Boston College, has played in 25 regular-season games through two Colts seasons, starting his rookie season on the Colts' practice squad.
He signed to the Colts' active roster in September of that season. He played in 11 games that season, becoming a valued member of the Colts' special teams and finishing with 12 special teams tackles and five tackles on defense.
He entered this past season with the goal of becoming more integral to the defense, which he did while also remaining critical to the special teams.
He played in 14 games, finishing the season with 17 tackles on defense and ranked second on the team with 15 special teams tackles.
Playing dual roles, Silva said, is a challenge and said he approaches special teams with equal focus and work as he does defense. But he also said to make no mistake:
While he does value special teams, he wants to contribute more defensively.
Still, Silva said the reality is that the Colts have three elite-level safeties – 2007 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year Bob Sanders, two-time Pro Bowl selection Antoine Bethea and fourth-year veteran Melvin Bullitt – and that moving into a more extensive role isn't guaranteed or easy.
"I think that I'm a football player," Silva said. "I know that I can contribute on defense. I also know we have some great safeties on the roster, so if they only want to use me for special teams, that's fine with me. As long as I'm contributing and helping the team win, I'm happy."
Silva paused and smiled.
"But if they want to put me out on defense, I'll be happy to make some plays and make some things happen," Silva said.
Silva, a first-team All-America selection and Thorpe Award finalist as a senior, finished his Boston College career with 312 tackles, 200 solo, and also had 15 tackles for losses with 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, seven passes defensed and 14 interceptions. Silva said having been in the NFL two seasons, and having the experience of playing one year in Colts defensive coordinator Larry Coyer's attacking scheme, could benefit him next season.
"I know that I have to improve on certain aspects, learning the defense even more to get more comfortable out there," Silva said. "That will come with being out there and getting reps and all of that. Hopefully this year, I can play even more on defense and continue to play special teams and continue to help this team be a championship team."
Which, Silva said, is a goal that extends beyond himself. The Colts made a second Super Bowl in four seasons a year ago, and Silva said returning is just one of the team's goals.
"Were all looking forward to having a great season and getting to the Super Bowl again," Silva said. "That's our goal – not only to get there, but to win it. That's going to be what drives us all year. I think if we approach it like we did last year, and finish it off this time, it will be a much happier ending."
Silva said he very much wants to be a part of that objective, but he said it's just as true that he knows he's guaranteed nothing. And he said just as he made the team as a free agent rookie in 2008 and again last season that the process of making the team again is his top priority.
That, Silva said, has been his motivation for the past two seasons and he said that remains true.
"There's never a comfortable feeling," Silva said. "I still want to go out there every day and fight and prove I belong. It's even ground with everybody here. There's seven or eight safeties and I want to earn my spot and show them I deserve to be out there and show they need me out there."