Several teams started their offseason programs yesterday, but for the Colts (and several other teams with new head coaches) they got a two week head start. The team is touting "100% participation" in these voluntary workouts, and one person present at the facility is new Colts safety Tom Zbikowski.
Colts.com (which has become leaps and bounds better since the Polian Regime was run outta Dodge) has a recent interview posted featuring Zbikowski. I have to say, after watching it, it is hard not to like the guy. Not only is he a complete f*cking badass as both an NFL safety and a professional boxer (4-0 lifetime record), but he comes off as an intelligent, thoughtful, and interesting person who is genuinely excited about playing for the Indianapolis Colts.
It's good to be back in Indiana. It was kind of my adopted home for a while since I left for college [editor's note: Notre Dame]. It smells right. It feels right. It's kind of one of those things that feels like home, even before I signed here. You know, going through the whole free agency negotiating, it just felt, even before I signed, even before a price came up, this is where I want to play.
Zbikowski also talked about his relationship with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who was his defensive coordinator last year in Baltimore and, prior to that, his position coach. Pagano's presence in Indy is likely the primary reason Zbikowski signed, which is something I find rather interesting.
You see, the Ravens benched Zbikowski last season after he started the 2011 regular season as the team's strong safety. Bernard Pollard was inserted as the team's new strong safety. I don't know if there is anything more demeaning for a safety than getting benched in favor of Bernard Pollard. Pollard couldn't cover your grandmother if she ran a wheel route.
Still, despite this, Zbikowski seems to have tremendous loyalty and respect for Pagano (which suggests the decision to bench Zbikowski for Pollard was not Pagano's).
I've said this before, and I'm going to continue to stick with it, I think [Pagano] is going to be a better head coach than he was a coordinator or a position coach. That's not knocking what he did as a position coach and coordinator because, I think, he was great at both of them.
Zbikowski also spoke about how this new defense will be about energy and "creating chaos."
It's a unit. We're as strong as the weakest link. I know it's cheesy, and whatever it is, but that's the way this defense is. It's communication. It's everyone being on the same page.
Finally, it's not a stretch to suggest Zbikowski is REALLY excited about the 2012 season:
Just being [here] three days with the guys that are here, I'm more excited just to strap it up with them than anything. I'd play in the street [with them] just by the couple of days meeting with these guys and the coaching staff. I'd play parking lot football with these guys. I'm more excited about putting on the Colts uniform and playing with these guys than anything.
Ultimately, Zbikowski will be judged by how much production and stability he will bring to the safety position, a position that has lacked both for quite some time. However, right now it is tough to dislike this newest Colt. His addition is one of the reasons I'm personally excited to see this defense play in 2012, whether that play be on a football field, practice field, or parking lot.