|Don't fret, Freeney's still going to attack the quarterback, even at linebacker. (Getty Images)|
For those concerned about defensive end Dwight Freeney moving to outside linebacker in new Colts head coach Chuck Pagano's scheme, worry not: Pagano says the team will use him in a similar role to Terrell Suggs in Baltimore.
Pagano pointed out to Dan Pompei of National Football Post that Suggs wasn't exactly dropping into coverage all the time for Baltimore last year either.
"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."
Not to mention, it's not exactly in Pagano's nature to utilize his most dangerous defensive weapon in a passive manner; Pagano used the word "aggressive" about 50 times during his first few press conferences.
Freeney was originally thought to be on the trading block, but in late March (after getting no takers?) new Colts GM Ryan Grigson declared that Freeney was "a Colt, period."
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 it's not like "prototypical" 4-3 defensive ends haven't made the switch before -- 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.