San Diego Chargers Willing to Custom Fit Defense for Dwight Freeney
As I had pointed out previously, the San Diego Chargers’ flirtation with Dwight Freeney now that Melvin Ingram is out for the year with a torn ACL just doesn’t make sense unless the team is going to cater the defense to Freeney’s strengths. His struggles in the 3-4 alignment last season with the Indianapolis Colts showed that he just isn’t cut out to be an outside linebacker asked to drop into coverage every now and then defensively.
It seems like the team may be willing to heed my advice as there is word that the Bolts are so enamored with the veteran pass rusher that they would be “willing to tweak the defense” in order to bring him in. There is no doubt in my mind that defensive coordinator John Pagano could make things work with Freeney. His performance last season with a defense that many thought would be suspect by turning it into a top 10 unit shows his prowess as a defensive mind.
107.5 career sacks in the NFL usually speaks for itself, but at just 6’1” 268lbs. Freeney has always had to rely on his burst and agility to get to the opposing quarterback. His career with the Colts was phenomenal as he pinned his ears back on a weekly basis and often times ballerina-ed his way past offensive linemen. Freeney’s patented spin move has always been his calling card, and the Chargers have to think that type of pass rush ability would look good in San Diego during the 2013 season.
Money could be problem in these negotiations as that was reportedly what prevented Freeney from landing with the Denver Broncos earlier in free agency. After being such a highly paid player for the better part of the last decade, it has to be tough for the veteran to swallow his pride and realize his best days are behind him. At 33 years of age, it’s unlikely the Bolts would be willing to break the bank for Freeney, but an incentive laden deal may be just what he needs as a motivator to return to form in 2013.
There’s no doubt the Bolts will miss Ingram in this upcoming season, but a few compromises could turn lemons into lemonade before you know it. If Pagano can again work his magic on an injury-riddled defensive unit, the Chargers could flourish with Freeney in town.