The pass rush was the biggest concern for the Indianapolis Colts entering the 2016 season, and you could argue it’s still their biggest concern five games into the season. And the guy they are counting on to be their primary pass rusher, Robert Mathis, has been nearly invisible.
Through five games, Mathis has recorded just two quarterback hits and no sacks. It is just the third time since his rookie season (a span of 167 games) in which he has gone five games without a sack (he’s never had a longer streak than that), something he did in 2008 and in 2015 as well. So far, the Colts’ all-time leading sacker hasn’t been able to get to the quarterback. Is Father Time finally catching up with the 35 year old?
He doesn’t believe so. On Tuesday, he appeared on The Robert Mathis Show with Jake Query and Derek Schultz and said he’s confident he’ll return to form and break out of this slump.
“Like the foot and the nagging things that I have now, it’s nothing compared to what I’ve been through,” Mathis said, according to Colts.com. “So I know that I will come out of this slump, and I’m fully confident that I will.”
The Colts have increasingly talked about Mathis’s nagging injuries that have been affecting him this season, so they’re trying to manage him and keep him fresh for gamedays. Whatever it takes to help him get to the quarterback, that’s what the Colts will do.
“We all want to see Rob do well,” head coach Chuck Pagano said this week. “Rob wants to see Rob do well. We will continue to figure out ways to make that happen. He still garners attention and things like that. It takes all 11 [players] to make the whole defense work. We will continue to work towards that.”
Defensive coordinator Ted Monachino said today that Mathis is “absolutely frustrated” but that once he gets that first sack and gets his confidence going, he sees multi-sack games down the road this year for Mathis.
There’s absolutely no doubt about it: the Colts have to get Robert Mathis going. With their pass rush already a major weakness, they can’t afford to watch their primary pass rusher struggle to get to the quarterback. Outside of Erik Walden the linebackers aren’t getting to the quarterback, and there’s not really a lot of reason for optimism regarding the unit turning it around. But the best hope the team has for improvement? Robert Mathis getting going. He’s confident it will happen and the team is confident it will happen, but we’ll just have to wait and see whether it really does.