INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s no secret the pressure players such as quarterback Andrew Luck and linebacker Robert Mathis are under to be at their best every week for the Indianapolis Colts. But you don’t have to wonder if those players will show up to play on a week-to-week basis.
The same can’t be said about some other players on the roster.
With the start of training camp less than two weeks away, we’re going to take a look at a number of players who are under pressure to step up this season.
Time to step up: Cornerback Greg Toler
Why he needs to step up: Toler joins safety LaRon Landry and linebacker Erik Walden as free agents signed by general manager Ryan Grigson in 2013 who underachieved last season. Toler’s reason is different than Landry and Walden’s: a hamstring injury kept Toler on the sidelines. The secondary fed off Toler’s play when he was on the field -- when he was aggressive, the rest of the secondary followed. It started in training camp and continued into the first part of the season. But Toler went down with an injury and the secondary seemed to go down with him. He missed seven weeks after injuring his hamstring in the Colts’ Week 7 victory over the Denver Broncos.
What he has to do: Stay healthy and continue to be a trendsetter for the secondary. Seems simple, right? Not for Toler. He’s yet to play a full season in his five-year career. He even missed the entire 2011 season. Toler tried to return to the lineup late last season, but he was nowhere close to being 100 percent. The Colts finally shut him down for the season after he re-injured his hamstring in their wildcard playoff win against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Outlook: Of all the secondary players, Toler (yes, Greg Toler) was the only one of the four possible starters -- the others being Vontae Davis, Delano Howell and Landry -- to take part in mandatory minicamp. The others missed the camp with injuries. So that’s a start for Toler. Now he has to remain healthy during the regular season. Everybody is waiting on that to happen.
Quotable: “Sometimes you ask why you have to go through situations. It only made me stronger. I have a lot to prove this year. I know my 16-game stack will stack up to any 16-game stack. I just have to be healthy. That’s the biggest thing.” -- Toler