The Indianapolis Colts won’t have elite edge rusher Robert Mathis for the first four games of the season, as the 2013 DPOY candidate will have to serve a suspension for violating the league’s PED policy. It’s a great opportunity, though, for the Colts organization, because they are clearly the best team in the division and can survive without Mathis for the first four games. In cases like this, a team can get major benefits from seeing what a young player can do in a star player’s absence, since the star player, Mathis, will be back for the critical junctures of the season.
2013 first-round pick Bjoern Werner will be asked to start in his place for the first four games, and the talented Florida State Seminoles product could assert himself as a dangerous pass rusher in his second season in the league. It looks like Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is high on him, as the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder tweets that Pagano stated Werner has made a “huge” jump heading into the 2014 season.
Werner, 23, recorded just 18 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and three passes defended in limited playing time as a rotational rookie pass rusher. He has a chance to blossom, and this is the perfect opportunity for the athletic Werner to show what he can do. Werner can shine, since he already has the explosiveness and tools.