Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Freeney Question

Right now the media is buzzing with Dwight Freeney stories, making the All Decade defensive end's ankle the biggest story of Super Bowl week.

Personally, I fully anticipate on Freeney participating in this Sunday's game, though it's impossible to expect him to be 100%. Some have called it a "miracle" if Freeney plays this week, but I wouldn't call it that. Freeney has done this before, he's done it this season. Dwight Freeney is a gamer, and he's going to make sure he can at least get in there a little bit.

If Freeney does sit, it would mean that the Saints would get a Colts defense without Marlin Jackson, Dwight Freeney, and Bob Sanders. If the Saints heard that in week one they would take it in a second.

What the Saints, and most football fans don't understand is that the Colts defense is now, and always has been, a deep pool of similar players. Bob Sanders goes out, Melvin Bullitt steps in and pulls off a great season. Marlin Jackson goes down, Jerraud Powers and Jacob Lacey step in and do great. If Dwight Freeney goes down, the Colts trust that Raheem Brock and company can get the job done. Robert Mathis would flip over to Freeney's side for create better matchups for Brock.

What I expect to happen is for Freeney to play, but on limited downs. That would make the Colts defense a pass rush by committee.

With or without Freeney the Colts will have their hands full. This season against offenses in a similar range as the Saints the Colts let up points. The Pats scored on the Colts, the Texans scored on the Colts. The Colts let up points. Perhaps the best display of effort the Colts put on this year was against the Cardinals in week 3. In order to win this week the Colts are going to have to replicate that 31 to 10 effort to prevent Manning and the offense from being pressured into putting up points on every down.

Either way though, the Colts coaching staff is probably smart enough to know that blitzing and getting to Brees isn't going to be the easiest thing to do on every down. In order to beat the Saints, strong play from the secondary and ball control is probably more important.

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