By GEORGE BREMER
It had been more than 18 months since Josh Chapman had played in a football game before Sunday.
So even a 44-20 loss against the Buffalo Bills in the preseason opener had a silver lining for the Indianapolis Colts’ nose tackle.
“It felt pretty good,” Chapman said of his first action since helping Alabama beat LSU in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 9, 2012. “I got a little nervous about it, but at the same time when I got the first pop it was back to normal.”
Chapman was credited with four tackles, but his primary job is to soak up blockers and allow the linebackers behind him to make plays. He was particularly adept at that when the Bills ran their stretch-cut running game.
It’s a scheme the Colts will see again during the regular season against the Houston Texans, and Chapman’s play against it impressed defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
“Houston’s a little bit better and pronounced at doing it, but he did a good job of getting down the line,” Manusky said. “He’s a little sore, which is to be expected, but he did a fabulous job for us. I’m excited about what we’ve seen from him.”
With just two days remaining in training camp at Anderson University, Chapman wants to make sure that good work continues.
“Just getting after it a little bit, still trying to push it, trying to go overboard with the knee, trying to see everything I can do,” he said of his goals. “I want to contribute out here and make a great run defense.”