There’s a confidence in Colts camp that pass-rushers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will make a smooth transition from 4-3 defensive ends to 3-4 outside linebackers.
But they might not be ready quite yet.
“It feels good,” Mathis told Phillip Wilson of the Indianapolis Star. “I wouldn’t say comfortable right now because it’s a whole different world. It feels pretty good because I’m learning what I’m doing now.”
Asking old dogs to learn new tricks always comes with some degree of risk. And when they’re as good at their existing tricks as Freeney and Mathis are (with 184 combined sacks), you wonder if it’s the best idea.
The Colts allowed a league-record 71.2 percent completions last year, so they’re looking to generate more pressure. That will keep Freeney and Mathis looking forward more often than dropping back, but that’s still part of the job description.
“Those guys are doing good,” inside linebacker Pat Angerer said. “They’ll do good anywhere. You put them on the field and those guys are unbelievable.”
That talent’s going to make them a matchup problem, but it will fascinating to watch the pair make the adjustment, after a combined 19 years with their hands in the dirt.