Does Canton Have Room for Dwight Freeney?
Since Dwight Freeney joined the likes of Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, the Colts have been perennial AFC South Champions having won their division eight out of the last nine years, including a Super Bowl victory in ’06. Freeney, widely considered one of the NFL’s elite pass-rushing defensive ends, is reaching elite company having been selected to the Pro Bowl now six times in his career, making it each of the last three seasons. With his sixth selection, he ranks only behind quarterback Peyton Manning, an 11-time Pro Bowler, and wide receiver Marvin Harrison, an eight-time Pro Bowler, for the most times selected to the game as a member of the Indianapolis Colts. What makes Freeney so unstoppable is his teammate on the other side of the defensive line, Robert Mathis.
Since Mathis first played an extensive role in ’04, the two have combined for 140.5 sacks and 61 forced fumbles. In the last five years, Freeney and Mathis have emerged as one of the league’s top pass-rushing tandems, and became the first defensive end tandem named to the Pro Bowl together three consecutive seasons. Needless to say, if Freeney can withstand this high-level of play for the remainder of his career he is a definite lock for Canton. Dwight Freeney joined 105.7 the Fan in Baltimore to talk about how he would defense Peyton Manning if he were on another team, how Robert Mathis playing the other defensive end helps his game, what he thinks of the current CBA negotiations taking place and how he is going to feel about a work stoppage if that occurs.
What has been the secret to the Colts success against the Ravens:
“I really don’t know. I don’t know what it is. We have had tremendous success against them in the playoffs and in the regular season. I really couldn’t tell you. I don’t know if it is because we played in Baltimore, and we have some kind of lucky charm or something on our side or what, but we just go out there and play football and have a formula for winning, and we have been winning for a bunch of years now, consecutively, and we kind of stick to it and we don’t deviate from that. I don’t know if it is a good matchup or what. Unfortunately for you guys and fortunately for us, we are winning.”
How he would defense Peyton Manning if he were on another team:
“I don’t know. I mean I see this guy in practice and he does amazing things in practice. Trust me, we have enough problems stopping him in practice. We scream, I don’t know, confuse him, lineup with 12 guys on the field…”
Whether Peyton Manning is as competitive in practice as he is during gameday:
“Absolutely, absolutely. He takes everything seriously when he is out there working. He is out there trying to get better, trying to get his team better, trying to get himself better and I think that is a good thing trying to get himself better on a day-to-day basis…”
How Robert Mathis playing the other defensive end helps his game:
“He is a tremendous help, because what happens is when you play against team that like to load up protection to my side, what happens is it opens up to him and if they decide to load things up on his side it opens up for me, so you had to have a balanced protection attack, from their standpoint, what happens is now they have less receivers going out, less running backs and not enough options for their quarterback, so it kind of laments their gameplan. It is a tremendous help.”
What he thinks of the current CBA negotiations taking place and how he is going to feel about a work stoppage if that occurs:
“Obviously no one likes it but we understand this is a business and the owners, they want what they want. They want more of the pie and we are just going to hopefully come to somewhat of an agreement so we can all play football. That is what we are looking forward to. No one, I promise you, not them, no one wants a work stoppage.”