New Colts head coach Chuck Pagano tells fans not to worry about his plan to move defensive star Dwight Freeney to outside linebacker according to Will Brinson of CBSSportsline.com. Pagano plans to use Freeney like he used Terell Suggs in Baltimore.
“Suggs’ hand is in the dirt way more than he is standing up,” Pagano said. “I’d be crazy to have those guys dropping more than rushing. If I dropped Suggs too much, they probably would have fired me midseason.” It is not exactly in Pagano’s nature to use his most dangerous defensive weapon in a passive manner. All of Pagano’s press conferences frequently include the word “aggressive” and that is how his defenses play as seen in Baltimore.
There’s certainly some concern about Freeney adapting, but he and Suggs are relatively similar in build and skill. (Freeney’s 6’1″ to Suggs 6’3″ but bother are 260-ish in weight.) And other 4-3 defensive ends have made the switch successfully-Mario Williams appeared primed for a big season in 2011 in Wade Phillips 3-4 offense before getting injured.
The bottom line is Pagano’s a defensive-minded coach who’s going to use his best weapon in a manner that most effectively terrorizes quarterbacks. If that involves Freeney moving to outside linebacker, it’s probably worth trusting the guy who had big-time success with Suggs in 2011.