Colts set up for good start


Rush linebacker Robert Mathis begins his 11th season with the Colts on Sunday. But the excitement of game one is fresh every year.

"Preseason's over," said Mathis. "It's for real now. We worked hard this offseason. Now it's time to put the pieces in place. I'm very anxious to see who we got this year, what we got going."

New Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw sat out the preseason as a precaution coming off foot surgery. Bradshaw played the last six seasons with the Giants. He ran for 1,015 yards and six TD's last year. Bradshaw is ready to bring some power to the running game.

"I'm healthy and this training staff has done a great job of getting me prepared and getting me confident on my foot," said Bradshaw. "I'm going to be ready to go and prove the doubters wrong."

Tight ends Dwayne Allen (foot) and Coby Fleener (knee) are healthy again after minor preseason injuries. If left tackle Anthony Castanzo (knee) is ready for the Raiders, the Colts offense should be at full strength for the season opener against the Oakland Raiders at 1:00 p.m. Sunday.

"Seems like the pieces are sort of all coming together now," said Luck. "We know Ahmad is going to be a great addition. He's tough as nails. Coby and Dwayne back running full speed is a great site to see."

The Colts defense expects to be one of the best in the league, with five new starters, like free safety LaRon Landry.

"I'm just an addition to a great defense they already had," said Landry. "It feels great to be amongst perfection and that's what we strive for."

The Colts have lost three consecutive season openers, including a 41-21 loss in Chicago last year. Head coach Chuck Pagano wants to end that streak.

"You don't want to open at home and chalk one up in the right-hand column," said Pagano, "so momentum, confidence, all those type of things."

Back-to-back home games to open the season give the Colts a good chance for a great start. The Raiders, then the Dolphins visit Lucas Oil Stadium. Both teams posted losing records a year ago.