ColtPower Q&A: Tom Arth

ColtPower checked in with Colts quarterback Tom Arth this week for an update on how he's progressing this year.

Colts quarterback Tom Arth played in the final preseason game of the year against the Bengals, and played well enough to convince the coaches that he should at minimum be a member of the practice squad at the beginning of the 2005 season. ColtPower talked to him about that game and his experience on the practice squad as we near the midpoint of the Colts season.

ColtPower: How did it feel to finally get some substantial playing time in the preseason against the Bengals. And how do you think you did?

Tom Arth: Obviously I had some butterflies. But that's normal, that's good. The first and last drive we got down there pretty close. On the first drive I completed a pass on fourth down to Troy Walters and unfortunately we came up a couple of inches short. And that was disappointing, obviously. It would have been nice on the first drive to go out there, get a few first downs and score a touchdown. But I felt comfortable, we moved the ball...and in a normal situation it probably would have resulted in a field goal. But with the game the way it was, it was kind of like, 'What do we have to lose' so we ended up going for it.
The last drive we had a big play to Ben Utecht. We ran a similar play a couple of times before and Ben told me that his guy was playing him outside and he relayed that to the coaches. So we got a call where he ran a seam and we were able to hit it. And that was an exciting play, but unfortunately then we turned it over on a first down at the 1-yard line, which you really can't do. But it was exciting to be out there and playing again.

I was thinking that I played pretty well, and that there were obviously things I could have done better and that I need to improve on. But I feel like after getting out there really for the first time I did well and I was happy with what I did. And I was hoping that they (the coaches) were too.

CP: Were you nervous when you were out on the waiver wire for a day after the cuts were announced?

Tom: I wasn't too nervous. I was excited about the opportunity to be on the practice squad. With the limited time I had gotten in during the preseason, I thought the likelihood of getting picked up by another team was pretty minimal. I was thrilled with the opportunity to be on the practice squad with the Colts. I think it's a great opportunity with a great organization and great people. And I was thankful for that.

CP: What's your role at most practices as a member of the practice squad?

Tom: Our job is to run the other team's offense to give our defense a good picture of what they're going to see on Sunday. It's very important that we do that and make it look as close to what they're going to see on Sunday as possible.

You get to be the scout team quarterback. How do you prepare for that?

Tom: The defensive coaches will give us tips on what he does in certain situations -- this is the way he drops, this is who he looks at first, second, third. And we all watch football, we don't necessarily have to go in and watch film. unless it's something specific the coaches ask us to do. We've all seen these guys play, and know enough about them that we can try to give the best look we can.

CP: So this week you get be Tom Brady during those drills. What have you learned about him in trying to play that role?

Tom: He's a very accurate, smart football player who's not going to run around to much, but he's going to move in the pocket and avoid rushers that way. We'll go out and make our reads, find open receivers and hit them. He's been playing pretty well and I'll try to give the defense that look.

CP: Over the past two seasons you analyzed film for Peyton Manning. Are you still doing that?

Tom: Definitely. As a group we try to make sure we see every game the other team's played, including preseason games. We want to make sure we don't miss any blitzes or coverages. So yes, we're still breaking down game film outside of what we do in the meetings.

CP: With this opportunity on the practice squad, in what ways do you feel you're progressing?

Tom: It's been a great opportunity for me. I've been able to practice every day again, and against one of the best defenses in the NFL right now. I'm consistently trying to improve and pick up my speed to make quicker decisions and better decisions. I get to work on my game while also trying to prepare the defense for what they're going to see on the weekend.

CP: In the NFL, players like Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselback have emerged from the practice squad to become stars. But it does take a lot of patience, doesn't it?

Tom: Definitely. Especially playing quarterback. You've got to be patient. You've got to bide your time and realize that it's important to be there behind the scenes and learn. In some ways it's better to be able to sit back and watch, learn and get reps at practice and improve that way.

CP: Most quarterbacks as they're growing have some favorite quarterbacks. Do you have any that you've studied and admire? And if so, what is about them that you try to emulate?

Tom: Growing up for me, it was always Joe Montana -- by far my favorite quarterback ever. In 1989 is when it really hit me. I was watching the 49ers Super Bowl against the Bengals and that last two-minute drive where he hit John Taylor in the back of the end zone to win the game. From that point on I loved Joe Montana and wanted to be a quarterback in the NFL. It changed my life. I loved the way he played. He seemed to always be relaxed, always had fun and would just find ways to win at the end when it was most important.

CP: The Colts brought in quarterbacks Jeff Smoker and Casey Bramlett for tryouts over the past few weeks. Do you take that as them just doing their due diligence in evaluating talent, or did that concern you?

Tom: That's just a part of how this game is. They're constantly going to be bringing people in at all positions. They've obviously got to see what's out there. It does concern you, I guess. But you know that coming in that you're on the practice squad and I could be the first guy to go if there's injuries and they need to make moves at other places. You just have to understand that and go out every day and do your best and make yourself as valuable as you possibly can to the team.

CP:Were you glad for the opportunity to get away from it all during the bye week? Or would you have preferred to just keep on going?

Tom: You're always excited when you're going to get some time off and spend some time with your family. But at the same time, when you've been playing as well as we've been playing, going into the bye week 7-0 you do think that it'd be nice if you could just keep it going. While you're on a roll you want to keep going, keep playing. Sometimes that bye gives you a week off and you can come back not quite as sharp as usual. But it's good for us that we have a Monday night game, so we had an extra day to prepare. We had a chance to get back out on that first day and just get back into it a little bit. We were able to have a practice where we just went up against each other. We didn't prepare at all for the Patriots that first day. And that helped us get back into the groove.

CP: With the team coming back off the bye, what was the spirit of the group? How are they looking at this game with the Patriots?

Tom: There's definitely excitement. It's a big game, a Monday night game. It's an important game, but I wouldn't say it's any more important than the game two weeks ago against Houston. It's just another step we have to take. We're going to prepare in the same way that we prepare for anyone else and do all the things we normally do. And hopefully that'll be enough to win.


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