INDIANAPOLIS -- The potential has been on display at times during training camp and preseason games.
But no matter how good -- or bad for that matter -- the Indianapolis Colts have looked on defense during different moments, you couldn’t overact because some key pieces have been missing from the unit.
Those pieces -- linebacker Pat Angerer and safety LaRon Landry -- are expected to be on the field for the first time with the rest of the defensive starters when the Colts take on the Cleveland Browns on Saturday.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano plans to play his starters into the third quarter.
“I think that’s the big thing,” Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. “You always want to play together as a team and I know throughout the year you’re going to have some injuries and we’re going to be filling guys in like we did last year. But at the start of it, and especially this third preseason game, you want to see them gel a little bit better together and to see them working with one another.”
The Colts know what they’re getting out of Angerer because he played in Pagano’s scheme last season.
The anticipation is seeing Landry on the field.
“It’s been a long time,” said Landry, who had been sidelined for two weeks with a knee problem. “Just coming in from OTA’s, missed that, just coming into training camp and gelling with the team, missing a little bit of training camp because of the knee. Quite anxious. Hopefully I won’t overdo it when I get out there.”
The Colts aren’t worried about Landry getting caught up to speed on their schemes because he played in a similar system with the New York Jets.
“From a terminology standpoint, scheme standpoint, coverage’s, fronts, blitzes, things like that, he’s very familiar,” Pagano said. “It’ll take him a minute being out just like anybody else to knock the rust off and get back into playing mode. ...The (missed) practice (time) is what hurts you. I think we can get him caught up as quick as possible and he’ll be OK.”
Manusky has options when it comes to determining the best way to use Landry, who had 113 tackles, four forced fumbles and two interceptions last season.
“With LaRon, I saw tape when he was with the Jets, but I’m saying, ‘How can he benefit us? Is it pressuring him more? Is it sending him more? Is it him covering? All those things,” Manusky said. “In the post, is it him being a drop-down safety? So all those things come into factor when you’re around a guy and you see him actually live rather than on tape.”