Mike Adams has been a very important player for the Indianapolis Colts over the past two years. He has been a reliable starter, has made two straight Pro Bowls, and has provided a veteran presence on the defensive side of the football.
Now more than ever, that veteran presence is needed for the team's secondary, as they have several young safeties that the Colts are looking to develop. As such, Adams has had to step into an even bigger mentor role than he has in recent years.
“Great mentor, a ton of knowledge obviously and experience," head coach Chuck Pagano said on Tuesday of Adams. "He does a great job with those guys. We have the luxury because he’s got so many snaps and experience and time under his belt that we can take him out of there and kind of let him be another coach on the field and be a coach in the room and let those young guys continue to develop and get some extra reps. He’s a selfless guy. He spends a tremendous amount of time where other guys might hurry off to get here or get there. He’ll spend whatever time those guys want. We encourage a guy like T.J. (Green) and young safeties like (Stefan) McClure and Andrew Williamson that we got in here to get in that guy’s hip pocket. You ought to be his shadow. He’s going into year 13 I believe and I think he was a college free agent coming out. A little hard work, effort, attention to detail, focus and some passion – talent will get you here but your passion will keep you here. He does a great job with the young guys that way.”
T.J. Green, the team's second round pick in this year's NFL Draft, is one of those young players learning from the veteran Adams. “He’s been playing for a long time so just little things like disguising and when to disguise and when to mess with the quarterback,” Green said when asked what he's been picking up.
The Colts have a number of players at the safety position on their 90-man roster, but only one of them is proven in the NFL. Outside of Mike Adams (who is 35 years old), the oldest safety for the Colts is 26-year old Winston Guy. And Adams has made 102 career starts and played in 175 career games - starting 95 more games than the other six safeties on the roster combined (and playing in 109 more).
Clayton Geathers will step in to a starting role in place of Dwight Lowery (another veteran), who left in free agency after a very nice season in Indy last year. Geathers is a talented player, but he has just two career starts under his belt. T.J. Green is a developmental guy the Colts are excited to work with, but he's going to be sitting and learning at first (at least that's the plan). That leaves Mike Adams as the experienced veteran and the mentor, a role he's embracing as the Colts participate in OTAs.