Colts Holdovers Adongo and Johnson Hopeful for Opportunity at OLB
The Indianapolis Colts are seemingly loaded at the outside linebacker position. Having signed veteran pass rusher Trent Cole and with the return of Robert Mathis, the spot figures to be crowded for both reps and playing time, with both being incredibly hard to come by.
As of now though, two holdovers from last season at outside linebacker in both Daniel Adongo and Cam Johnson are looking to make the most of their opportunity after each player was placed on season-ending injured reserve early last season.
The Colts are currently holding out some of their outside linebackers atop the depth chart like Robert Mathis, Erik Walden, and Bjoern Werner because of injury precautions, and players lower on the depth chart like Adongo and Johnson are currently taking advantage.
Adongo, the former 6’5″, 270 pound, South African Rugby star, has been trying to learn the intricacies of professional football, as well as playing the outside linebacker position after spending a year’s crash course on the Colts practice squad in 2013. If Adongo doesn’t make the Colts roster, it won’t be because of a lack of athleticism and physical ability, it’s simply whether he can put it all together and stay healthy.
According to his head coach in Chuck Pagano at OTA’s, Adongo is further along than he’s ever been:
"“He’s a lot further ahead than he was since any time he’s been here,” said Chuck Pagano after Wednesday’s OTA practice. “He’s healthy obviously. He’s missed significant time because of injury, but he’s healthy and in good shape. I think he obviously has a much better understanding of the defense than he ever has. He’s out there competing with the rest of the guys. We’ve got a bunch of guys at that outside spot.”“Some guys aren’t taking reps for obvious reasons because of injuries and things like that so he’s taken advantage of his opportunity right now to get some reps with [Erik] Walden being held out a little bit,” added Pagano. “We’re erring on the side of caution with him, and Bjoern [Werner], and obviously Robert [Mathis] out, so things like that. He’s getting a few more reps than he normally would.”“He’s got to play the game, he’s got to play, and again it’s tough because we’re just in helmets and wearing shorts, and so from a fundamental standpoint, technique standpoint, calls, getting lined up, assignment, technique, and all of that stuff, he can’t get enough of that.”"
Not to forget Cam Johnson, who the Colts liked enough to acquire from the San Francisco 49ers in a September of 2013 trade. The former 49ers 7th round pick out of Virginia has shown initial promise in practices, but like Adongo, his Colts career has so far been cut short because of injury:
The 6’3″, 260 pound Johnson played in 12 games for the Colts in 2013, and if he can stay healthy, figures to provide the team with additional pass rushing and special teams depth lower on the outside linebacker depth chart.
Both Johnson and Adongo are currently making the most of their opportunity in the team’s OTA’s, and will look to hopefully keep that momentum going for the next few weeks and heading into training camp.
Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Cam Johnson (59) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
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