After being selected in the second round of the 2010 draft to be MLB Gary Brackett's heir apparent, Colts LB Pat Angerer expected to spend his rookie season backing up Brackett and becoming a key special-teams contributor.
Angerer certainly made his presence felt on kick coverage units, leading the Colts in special-teams tackles with 16.
But he also started the final 10 games of the season — seeing action at both "Mike" and "Sam" LB spots — en route to being named a member of PFW/PFWA's All-Rookie team.
With Brackett inactive in Week Six, Angerer made his first career start against the Redskins on "Sunday Night Football," piling up 11 tackles, one sack and two passes defensed.
"If I was going to mess up, I wanted to mess up going fast," Angerer told PFW on April 28 after wrapping up a workout in Iowa City.
"Gary came up to me before the game and said, 'You're here because you belong and you can do this.' That meant a lot and kind of eased my tensions a little bit, and I was able to go out there and have fun and be accountable to the rest of the guys."
Angerer impressed the Colts so much that they decided to insert him into the starting lineup on the strong side the following week — a position brand new to him.
And as expected, there was a learning curve. "It took me a while to learn that it's a team game and you have to spill the ball to the right person and you're not going to make every tackle — you need to play sound defense," he said.
Although he figures to be in the mix for the starting "Sam" job in '11, he says his goal for next season is to eliminate mental errors and be able to help the team at all three LB spots.
"The key to playing football is to play without thinking. Toward the beginning of the year when I was playing 'Sam,' I was thinking a lot instead of just reacting. But once I got to the point where I could just react and play, I think it showed and it helped out a lot."