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For those who may not know—or simply just forgot—Josh Chapman is a nose tackle from the University of Alabama who missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL and meniscus. Apparently, he’s fully recovered and ready to compete for a starting position this offseason. I suspect he wins the job early.
Chapman had this to say, via Colts.com:
It has been a long time coming. I haven’t been away from the game this long ever in my life… it’s an anxious kind of feeling. Just being able to put the pads on again and feel that extra thump is good.
I understand the system very well. I kind of really understand my role, the more reps I get, the more I become confident with it.
Last year, I already studied the playbook, and it kind of came back to me like that (snaps fingers). You still can’t get enough study, though. You put that book down for a day or two and you lose a lot of stuff. I stay at it a lot and try to learn more than my position. I try to learn more to know what guys are doing around me.
Shoring up the middle of the defensive line may not come with eye-popping stats, but the value of a dominant anchor in a 3-4 front is critical. Chapman is perfect for that role, and he should make the Colts significantly better against the run this year.
Last year, the Colts gave up 5.1 yards per carry on the ground, which was the second-worst mark in the league. I predict Chapman will not only start at nose tackle, but he’ll help the defense improve toward giving up less than 4.5 yards per carry as a unit.