Colts need Adams to step up at safety

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson decided against looking outside the organization for a replacement for safety Antoine Bethea during the heart of the free-agency period in March. Grigson didn’t address the position through the draft, either.

The Colts felt like they had their replacement on the roster in Delano Howell. Then they signed veteran Mike Adams in June, which indicated they weren't convinced Howell was ready to be the starter.

A neck injury has put Howell’s season, and possibly career, in question. The pressure is on Adams to step in and help a defense that’s shown vast improvements in the preseason.

“Pressure, what’s that? As far as I know, pressure busts pipes,” Adams said. “I’m not worried about any pressure or anything. I wasn’t given the job. I was here to compete for a job.”

Grigson said Howell is seeing a specialist for his neck. His 2013 season was cut short due to a neck problem.

Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano say the competition to start alongside LaRon Landry at safety is up in the air still because Sergio Brown and Colt Anderson are also in the mix.

“All those guys have the traits that you’re looking for to play in our system and in our scheme,” Pagano said. “They can all play down in the box, they can all get guys on the ground. They’re athletic enough to cover and they’ve got good range in the back end when they have to play in the deep part of the secondary. I think we’ve got guys that are more than capable. The better off your front is, the easier the job is back there.”

The reality is the job is Adams’ to lose.

He’s the most experienced of the group, having started 73 games in his 10-year career. Adams joked the day after signing with the Colts in June that he may be 33 years old mentally, but he feels 26 years old physically.

The Colts hope that is true because they like their safeties to have cover skills and the ability to play in the box.

“Watch me, that’s all I have to say,” Adams said Tuesday. “Sometimes I run better than most second- and third-year players. I’m in great shape. I’m good.”