INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s not a position that leads the team in tackles.
Meet Colts nose tackle Josh Chapman.
“My main thing is that I want to be that wrecking ball in the middle,” Chapman said. “I need to hold up double teams, but also defeating double teams and knocking them back. That’s my job description.”
Chapman’s first NFL start is against the team that led the league in scoring last season. Allowing Manning time in the pocket often leads to disaster for defenses. That’s why Chapman’s fellow defensive linemen and linebackers are hoping that he can force the center to need help blocking the 6-foot, 340-pound nose tackle.
“He doesn’t need to be a super speedy pass-rush guy,” defensive lineman Cory Redding said. “He doesn’t need to cover everybody out of the backfield. What we need is for him to eat up two guys. Get that double team. Be that anchor. He loves it.
“If he plays 50 plays in a game and 48 of them are double teams, he’s done a great job because he required two people every single play. That means one of the defensive players is free to do what they need to do.”
The road to being the Colts’ starting nose tackle hasn’t been an easy one for Chapman.
Chapman, a fifth-round draft pick in 2012, spent his rookie season on injured reserve because of a knee injury that occurred while he was at the University of Alabama.
“That first year was a grind with the injury,” Chapman said. “My mind was messed up then. I knew what I could contribute but I couldn’t because of my knee.”
Chapman backed up Aubrayo Franklin last season where he slowly started carving out a niche in the defense. He finished with 18 tackles in 13 games.
Chapman’s moment came in a game against Cincinnati in early December. He broke free and tackled Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis behind the line of scrimmage on fourth down in what appeared to be a momentum-shifting play for the Colts. Officials said Green-Ellis wasn’t down, giving Cincinnati a touchdown. It was later determined that the officials made a mistake in reversing the call.
“Man, that was a tough one to swallow,” Chapman said. “I thought I made a play, but the officials thought otherwise.”
But that play showed the Colts what Chapman is capable of doing.
“You need two guys on him every time or it’s disrespectful,” defensive lineman Art Jones said. “He does a great job of staying in his gap, playing with leverage. He’s strong as an ox. There’s no reason why our linebackers shouldn’t have a field day with him. As a guy next to him, you love to have a guy who commands two guys. It frees me up a little bit.”