It was Ryan who praised Shawn Crable and Jamaal Westerman yesterday afternoon during his press conference, drawing attention to two little used members of the team for their emulation of Freeney and Mathis. The Colts duo are among the best pass rushers in the league and their blend of speed in closing in on the pocket and the ability to snuff out the run has made them perhaps the most feared defensive end tandem in the league. On Wednesday, Ryan admitted that Crable and Westerman are lining up in an offside position in practice to try and emulate the burst and speed of the Colts ends.
By being offside, Crable and Westerman are at a point similar to where Freeney and Mathis quickly end up when the ball is snapped. In the words of Crable, the simulation is simple – "Everything is just go – straight ahead."
Crable has been mimicking Mathis this week in practice, a player who is difficult to stop because of his ability to get low and bull rush past much slower left tackles. Going up against Jets left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson in practice, Crable said that the biggest adjustment for him in mirroring the play of Mathis has been in trying to get low and stay low. Picked up midseason off the New England roster, Crable has been taking this as valuable experience to show his playmaking ability in practice and hopefully solidify a roster spot for next year.
It's an ability to get noticed, he says, even if he is impressing from an offside position.
"I'm not lining up that far [offside]," Crable said with a laugh. "I'm pretty quick myself."
But one advantage of this experience for Crable has been to watch and observe the three-time Pro Bowl selection Mathis at work. Watching tape of the Colts defensive end, he's observed what makes him the player so great and effective.
If Crable had a genie to grant him one wish, he knows what skill he'd want to take from Mathis and add to his repertoire.
"The spin move," Crable said, who admits to trying it in practice. "But my stuff ain't quite working out the way his do."