One of the most pleasant surprises of the 2014 season for the Colts was the emergence of fifth round pick Jonathan Newsome, who ended up leading the team with 6.5 sacks in his rookie season. For a team as desperate for pass rush as the Colts were, it was an incredibly welcome development, and now it will be exciting to see how Newsome continues to develop.
For his part, he's expecting a big season in 2015. "I'm really ready to eat now," Newsome told ESPN's Mike Wells. "I've got a year under my belt, so I don't have as steep of a learning curve. I can just come out of the gate this year."
Last year was a lot of learning and adjusting for the rookie pass rusher, and Newsome knows it. "I missed like four or five sacks last season," he told Wells. "I looked at the film and I could have had double digits. That comes with time. I'm still learning, but I definitely have a better grasp of the playbook now. I can just go out and play fast."
Newsome notes that he's still learning but feels like he's in a position to be able to contribute right away and try to take advantage of those opportunities that are there. In 19 games for the Colts last year (including postsesaon), Newsome started two of them and recorded 33 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles. He was the only true pass rusher that they had for much of that time, and he stepped up as the season went on.
Entering the 2015 season, the Colts' pass rush figures to be improved. They signed veteran Trent Cole in free agency and, according to Robert Mathis, he'll be back on the field by September. Both have produced in their careers, with Cole having 85.5 sacks and 19 forced fumbles and Mathis having 111 sacks and 48 forced fumbles in their respective careers, combining for nine different seasons in which they recorded double-digit sacks. With the two veterans, the Colts pass rush looks to be much better this year, but Jonathan Newsome is the young guy in the mix and should certainly get opportunities as well. "Whenever they call my number, I'll be ready," he told Wells.
With Newsome entering his second year and Trent Cole and Robert Mathis added to the picture, there's little doubt that the Colts' pass rush should be improved. One of the most interesting aspects of the pass rush, however, will be the improvement of Jonathan Newsome, who feels that he's poised for a bigger sophomore season.