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Indianapolis Colts: Linebackers Are Hidden Gem on Season and for Success
Posted By Eddie Garrison On January 8, 2010 @ 2:49 pm In Colts News, Featured | No Comments
It’s very easy to get lost in the shuffle if you are a member of the Indianapolis Colts, with the likes of superstars Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark always in the headlines and doing countless interviews (and commercials in Manning’s case).
Even on the defensive side of the ball where the Colts in recent years have struggled, it is not so tough to get lost in the crowd. Playing with and behind perennial all pro Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, and often injured but highly touted Bob Sanders, one can even get lost on this side of the ball as well.
Maybe it’s a good thing for certain Colts’ players and maybe not. But the fact of the matter is the Colts’ linebacking corp was one of the hidden gems this season for Indy and one of the many reasons they finished the regular season 14-2 with a first round bye and home field advantage heading into the postseason.
With new defensive coordinator Larry Coyer at the helm, the Colts blitzed and utilized their linebackers more often than they have in recent years. Among the players to benefit from this was third-year man Clint Session.
Session, a fourth-round draft pick by the Colts out of Pitt in 2007, is a guy who, like most draft picks of the Colts, was not the conventional choice for linebacker, but fit their system to a “T”.
So far on the year Session leads the team in tackles with 103 (84 solo, 19 assists), albeit while being held out of the final two games against the Jets and Bills—another subject for another day.
Session, in his first year at the weakside position, is ahead of linebacking mate and defensive captain Gary Brackett in tackles, as Brackett currently has 99 tackles (80 solo, 19 assists) on the season.
Both players have thrived this year under the new leadership and system of Coyer, and that has not gone unnoticed by their teammates and others around the league.
“I watched him [Session] in Miami as a high school player,” Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said. “Very intense, fast and extremely explosive. He is a perfect fit for Indy’s run and hit defense.”
Both Brackett and Session are not the tallest trees in the forest either, mind you, but that stature often plays to their advantage. You can barely see them at times on the field, as they are both built similarly—short, compact and very explosive to the ball.
This explosiveness and new system instilled by Coyer have really played to both Session and Brackett’s advantage, as well as the Colts’, particularly their run D (spotty in past years), which has benefited from them both.
This linebacking tandem has really solidified the defense for the Colts this season, along with the play (before his injury) of Tyjuan Hagler and Phillip Wheeler; the Colts have a strong youthful future with their linebackers to build on.
All that remains to be seen is if that both Brackett and Session can remain with the Colts when the new free agency rules take effect in the NFL (Brackett is a free agent after this season). And it seems that in the past with the Colts, they have not been kind (financially) to linebackers. They have tendencies to let them walk for whatever reason.
One thing is for sure though. If they can retain both of these players after this season to long term deals, the Colt roster of stars will need to make room for two more players.
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