NFL First Person: Week Five

By Antoine Bethea
Updated: October 7, 2006

NOTE: Last weekend, former Howard University defensive back Antoine Bethea, helped the Indianapolis Colts remain undefeated in their 31-28 win against the New York Jets last Sunday at the Meadowlands.

Each week, BASN will focus on the plight of the ex-Bison standout. Antoine will give our readers a brief glimpse of the NFL though the eyes of a rookie player. This week, he’ll talk about Indy’s win against the Jets and Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.

INDIANAPOLIS — We got out of New York with a win, but it was a bit of a struggle right up until the very end. Coach Dungy had warned us during the week to be ready for a great effort from the Jets.

Because of some penalties and some missteps, it really turned out to be a dogfight with them. But we kept fighting through it and eventually it led to us getting the win.

To be a good team in the NFL, you have to be able to win on the road. Playing and winning in New York twice this season has more than helped us with that so far this season.

The only real bad thing about this week was the fact that we’re going to lose defensive lineman Corey Simon for the season. We found out on Thursday that he was being placed on the non-football illness-injury list.

It’s going to a big loss, but everybody is just going to have to step up. We were all hoping to see him back on the field at some point this season. He had worked real hard in camp and had loss some weight as well.

We’ve had guys like Montae Reagor and Raheem Brock filling in for him (Simon) and they’ve done a good job. Coach Dungy said earlier this week that we’ll need to step it up as a team, especially now with Corey’s injury.

We already have two of the best defensive ends in the business with Dwight Freeney on one side and Robert Mathis on the other. I don’t think they get enough credit for being two of the best pass rushers in all of football.

This week, we’re back home at the dome and to face another division opponent in the Tennessee Titans. Vince Young made his first start last weekend when the Titans lost to the Cowboys.

While facing a mobile quarterback like him can offer some obstacles, we really didn’t make any major changes to our defensive game plan. There was more of an emphasis placed on tackling because of Young’s size (listed at 6-foot-4 and 233 pounds) and strength.

Vince is very a athletic player so when he starts to run, you really have to make sure your stops are true. The main thing is to keep him in front of you so you’re in position to make a good, hard tackle.

As good as Young is, as a defensive unit you don’t want to stray too far away from the basics. You have to be aware of him and what he can do, but we must also maintain our strengths on defense as well.

Our defensive coordinator Ron Meeks has us playing in a similar defensive scheme (the Cover 2) that was used when Coach Dungy was at Tampa Bay. It puts a heavy emphasis on being physical. The main philosophy is for everyone to run to the football and “punch your opponent in the mouth”.

Because many other teams in our division use a similar type of scheme, we look at all of our AFC South games as dogfights. We’re expecting the same thing from the Titans Sunday heading into the bye week.

I’m looking forward to that week off. I plan on going home to spend some time with my family. I know I’ll make a trip back up to Howard as well to see some friends.

I’ve been nursing a little cold over the last few days, so I want to use that time away from the game to relax a bit as well. Most importantly, we still want to be undefeated when this week off comes.

NOTE: The Colts will have a bye next weekend before returning to action on October 22nd when they host the Washington Redskins. NFL First Person with Antoine Bethea will return to BASN on that Sunday.