Last night on Indianapolis radio 1070 The Fan's show "The Heavyweights," Colts announcer Bob Lamey interviewed second year defensive tackle Fili Moala about how he felt going into the 2010 season. Here's Fili's response:
Honestly, I’m angry inside. I'm just kind of angry, but besides that I'm comfortable. Comfortable with my teammates. Comfortable with the organization. Not to comfortable to where I am unaware of things, but very aware within my skin.
Lamey went on to ask Fili what he has done differently this off-season as opposed to last year.
Honestly, I changed my attitude. I always knew I was physically capable. I just might not have shown it. But as we all know this game is about 98% mental. Other than that, I just changed my approach. And I never, never lost that nasty taste in my mouth in regards to how I played last year.
Last year was Fili's first as a professional football player. I understand that some say that, generally, a rookie is going to struggle playing defensive tackle in this league. I don't necessarily accept that as an excuse for poor play though. Ed Johnson was an undrafted rookie out of Penn State in 2007, and he played outstanding that season as a rookie starter on the d-line. If an undrafted player can excel his rookie year at DT, I kind of expect a second round pick like Moala to follow suit, especially on a team like the Colts who are always looking to upgrade the DT position. Last season Fili Moala was pretty bad despite being given a golden opportunity to contribute to a championship caliber team. He looked lost. He looked uncomfortable. He looked overwhelmed.
This year, the word out of OTAs was that Fili looked good. He seems to be working his butt off, and the mental aspect of the game is clearer for him.
As you may recall, I advocated the Colts drafting a defensive tackle early in the 2010 NFL Draft because I was not sold on Fili. In general, I'm not one of these people that buys into all this "let them develop" nonsense. Of course, with some guys you need to let them grow. But, in many cases, the player either has it, or he doesn't. And you can pick up pretty quickly whether someone is going to make it or not. With Fili last year, I just didn't get a good feel about him. And when I spoke to him at the Super Bowl, he just didn't strike me as the sharpest pencil in the box.
However, this off-season seems to have been very productive for Fili. He sounds like he gets it now. This isn't Pete Carrol's corrupt USC program anymore. This is the man's league, and this is a premiere organization in that league. You better show up and work, or you'll lose your job to someone like Daniel Muir.
2010 is a big season for Fili Moala. If he lays an egg this season, I don't think he'll last in Indy for very long.