He’s neither young, nor cheap, nor really a linebacker at all.
But the early returns are good on Dwight Freeney’s transition in Colts camp.
As coach Chuck Pagano switches them from a 4-3 to a 3-4 hybrid system, defensive ends Freeney and Robert Mathis are no longer able to simply get down into a stance and speed-rush, as they have for years.
That’s a challenge for the 32-year-old Freeney, who sounds like he’s embracing it.
“Listen, when you’ve been doing the same thing every single day, you get real good at it, but this is exciting, something fresh and new, and possibilities are endless,” Freeney told Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star. “It’s a proven defense. San Francisco, the Steelers, the Ravens, they’re always in the top five in defense. The proof is there.
“I dropped back in coverage a bit my first couple of years, so it’s not completely unfamiliar. The last six, seven years, I haven’t dropped back at all, so it’s just a matter of remembering what I used to do.”
Freeney will make just over $14 million this season, the final year of his contract. There was trade speculation this offseason, but nothing came of it.
While it’s unlikely they’ll make another such commitment to an old player at a new position, his acceptance of the new role is another sign the Colts new attitude is catching on.