Dec 9 2012, Indianapolis, USA; Indianapolis Colts defensive linebacker Dwight Freeney (93) waits to be introduced during player introductions before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Dwight Freeney And The Chargers Defensive Scheme in 2013


We all heard it, Tom Telesco was able to get the deal done: Dwight Freeney will be a Charger for the next two years. As already reported here on BoltBeat yesterday, he signed a 2-year contract worth $8.75 million with a $4.6 million incentive package included.

So, Freeney got the deal he was asking for. I hoped Tom Telesco would´ve been able to get him in at a lower price tag, but as I mentioned in a previous piece, “desperate times call for desperate measures”. Dwight Freeney was the best option available at this point and our hard working General Manager was able to seal the deal on the 33-year old veteran.

But what kind of player do we get with Freeney?

Well, one thing is for sure – not an every-down player. The seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end will find his role mainly in passing situations. In nickel or dime packages, he´ll be allowed to put his hands in the dirt and show his famous spin moves to get to the quarterback. John Pagano will create a bunch of options to use Freeney´s skill set in the best way possible. He is not the man to play in a 2-point stance as his performances in the newly installed 3-4 scheme in Indianapolis showed last season; he only was able to record five sacks and 12 tackles in 2012. But according to Pro Football Focus, of his 466 pass rushes, Freeney had his hand on the ground for 402 (86.2 percent) of them. So the Colts were creating some plays giving him the opportunity to do what he does best, but he wasn´t able to repeat those incredible numbers from his past seasons. He was bothered by an ankle injury and I think this was probably the main reason for his decline lately.

So, we will experience a 3-4 base defense again in San Diego this season, but John Pagano will get creative and find ways to get the best out of the 3-time All-Pro and thus get off the field on third down more often. Although the defense, overall, did a solid job in 2012; getting off the field on third down had been an issue.

Speaking of 3-4 base defense…here are some interesting comments by Tony Dungy and Bill Polian on how Dwight Freeney will fit into the Chargers´ defensive scheme – via ESPN´s Chris Mortensen:

With Freeney being mainly used as pass rusher in 4-3 formations; who´ll get out there on first and second downs when Pagano switches back to the traditional 3-4 defense? Well, I guess this would be Larry English then; he will see significant playtime in 2013 – if he´s able to step on the field (we all know about his injury history).

So with that Freeney signing, Tom Telesco was able to address a big hole on the roster. It wasn´t cheap, but when considering that he started out asking for $8 million a year from the Denver Broncos some weeks ago, then $8.75 million over 2 years sounds like a pretty solid deal.

BoltFam, what do you expect from Dwight Freeney in 2013? Will we experience double digit sacks from the Colts’ all-time sack leader or do we need to lower our expectations on the aging veteran? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Thank you for reading!

BoltnRoll!

Tags: Featured Popular San Diego Chargers

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    Setting the bar low, so hopefully there is no disappointment. I don’t care if he gets 14 sacks, or 7 sacks, as long as they come on crucial game changing downs. And we win because of it! Also hope he is constantly effecting the QB’s decisions, getting in their face, making tackles, drawing double teams, and getting QB hits. That’s just as important to me.

    • the_fonz

      Petey, I couldn’t have said that better man. People are more worried about stats…..I am worried about plays to change the game. He could have more FFs than sacks and I would be content as long as we win the turnover battle. Just put the ball in Philip’s hands to win some games and hush the nay sayers

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        If you want to see Freeney putting some forced fumbles on the ground.. watch this.

        http://vimeo.com/m/4970998

        • Gunnar Martin

          Those are some pretty sweet highlights. Can’t wait until he’s gettin all those stripped sacks for us instead of against us. Will help us win a lot more games.

        • MC Boltman

          Yeah just watched this video via the link in the comments of your poll article. This vid really gets you hyped for next season. I know he doesn´t get any younger, but whatever – 33 years old or not – talent won´t disappear overnight #boltup

        • tubbs45

          Damn I actually felt bad for Cincinnati, Pittsburg, and Jacksonville… Pitt just picked up guy whimper, wow he in really not good at all!

    • Nick in PB

      Hell yes… good call Peter. Game changing downs! It also goes without saying that his presence creates opportunities for others to get sacks. Freeney should, at the very least, occupy more than 1 blocker, hopefully opening up some lanes to the QB.

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        His effectiveness may be measured by how many sacks Reyes, Liuget, and Johnson get. Did I just say Johnson will get sacks? I must be going crazy…

    • RussinSactown

      I want him to get pressures more than sacks. Sacks are great but if QBs hear foot steps, they make mistakes.

      • MC Boltman

        Thats what I´m talking bout. Ask Rivers, he felt rushed even in the parking lot…

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        Agreed. Also, I just watched a highlight video someone left on the Poll article, and he was taking down big Ben like it was nothing! Very few can do that. There were shots of him putting the wood to almost every good QB in the league… Including Manning! So, these guys remember what it feels like to get blindsided by Freeney. Those kind of memories don’t go away real easy. Peyton probably knows better than anyone. Not to mention, I have never seen somebody put the ball on the ground so many times!

        • MC Boltman

          Yeh, guess why Peyton wanted Freeney on the Broncos roster – cause he fears he could feel his rush one day…at least I want believe that :)

    • MC Boltman

      Yeh, exactly. Sacks are a cool thing and nice defensive stats, but what really counts is that he´s able to rush the QB and forcing him to bad decisions on a regular basis. The QB has to feel rushed even if he may has time at a certain play (Rivers in 2012..:).
      We just simply have to get off the field on third down more often.

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        THAT little spin move he does just seems to get tackles and guards turned around! Then he is coming right at the QB fast!!! They start to panic and try to get rid of the ball, or they just have to take it like a man.. Tuck.. And go down.

        • MC Boltman

          Haha yes watched some of those moves too lately. Really awesome – but nothing “little” bout that lol

  • joerockt

    Yea when Freeney is on the field, shift to a 4-3 should be that simple. Seems to make sense anyway. Now you have an extra body in coverage as well as more options to blitz the middle. For Freeney, he gets in a 3 pt, pins his ears back and gets after it. I’m just wondering if they would leave Liuget in or sub in English as the DE and bring in someone else as the sam back. Or I guess they could take out Cam and leave Liuget in. I would prefer that actually.

    • IrishCarBomb

      so what would the lineup look like?

      Johnson – butler – teo

      Freeney – Cam – Lieuget -Reyes?

      • IrishCarBomb

        I think i would like this one more:

        Johnson – butler – te’o

        English – Lieuget – Reyes – Freeney

        Behind Freeney english may be our next best pass rush, we have johnson doing what he does best covering the flats behind English. Butler/Teo and the backfield could be used creatively to blitz

        • joerockt

          Yup, that line up. Though maybe Moulton for JJ in those 3rd down siches. That looks pretty solid to me.

        • Gunnar Martin

          Pretty sure JJ would play the end in a 4-3, with Luiget and Reyes playing at the two defensive tackle positions. Thomas and Geathers/Jerideou would back both of them up. Freeney would play the other end.

          The linebacker positions is where it gets confusing. Butler and Te’o would obviously be two out of the three starters, but the question is who would be the third? Mouton? Bird? English?

          If it were me making that decision, I would probably have DJ Smith be the man. Think he racked up over 80 tackles last season and didn’t even play the whole season. Or something like that. Don’t take my word for it. Anyways, that would make English/T. Williams rotating in with Freeney/Johnson at the end position. All of a sudden we have a pretty solid and deep lineup on D.

    • Cgoodness13

      Oh now people are ok with the 4-3, I mention it and I get hell no’s, you do and your a defensive genius…..MEH!!!!! Lol jk

      • joerockt

        I was saying the other day how I’m becoming less of a fan of the 3-4, so you didn’t get a hell no from me brudda!

      • Gunnar Martin

        Different players man, different players. Would still rather stay in the 3-4, but with Freeney here we’ll have to be a lot more diverse. Not that we never used different formations in previous years, but we’ll just have to use them even more now.

        • MC Boltman

          the 3-4 base will remain, pretty sure. But we´re gonna experience a lot of 4-3 formations too

      • Alter Ego

        Nice Cgoodness13, you have to pick your spot to jump on a bandwagon. It gets full very quickly. I do remember your 4-3 discussion…you get credit for that.

        • Cgoodness13

          Thanks scary clown in my nightmares, I appreciate that lol

          • MC Boltman

            haha..lol – hey the scary clown is on your side, you should be glad bout that :) (better than the other way round).

    • MC Boltman

      Yeah, get him in especially on third downs and get off the field on that down in order to give Rivers and his offense more chances to shine. English will see most of his playtime probably in the traditional 3-4 schemes, but if healthy he also could help in those 4-3 packages…but to be honest I don´t want to rely too much on him.

  • tubbs45

    I think he improves the teams sack totals. Lots of focus on him enabling either the other side or a CB/FS crasher to come in and clean up. Even though there will be a lot of double teams he could still see double digits sack totals!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Read in the dump this morning that only three pass rushers over the age of 33 have made it to 11 sacks since 2000.

      • tubbs45

        Well now there will be 4!!!

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          Freeney would be the guy capable of doing that ; )

      • tubbs45

        Hand in the dirt, bull dog!!! I’m not really sure what he’ll really be able to do but I am very hopeful that Pag’s will figure it out. Fortunately, we have some time to get it all planned out!!

        • MC Boltman

          Haha if the opposing QBs got that pic in mind when Freeney is on the field, then hell yeah…so be it :)

      • Rob Base

        Then he will be the 4th. I send this out into the universe and so it is!

        • MC Boltman

          Haha nice optimism. Would be great – but I´m fine with 7 sacks too if he´s able to get lots of pressures on the QB – this guy has to feel rushed constantly.

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          If English and some of the rookies can come on strong too… This could be wow… just wow!

          • Rob Base

            No doubt bro. Bi time WOW! Tourek, Keiser and Beltre with Freeney is going to insane! I hope Beltre makes the roster he’s a beast.

          • MC Boltman

            Yes, absolutely. I´ve become a fan of Beltre too…great 40 yard dash time btw (faster than 1st rounders Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree)

  • Rob Base

    He will get 10 sacks 22 tackles and 4 forced fumbles 30 QB hurries. That’s my prediction and so it is!

    • MC Boltman

      Hey would be fine with me…hope your clairvoyant abilities are for real cause I´ll take you up on that :)

      • Rob Base

        I get it from my wife she’s a life coach. She is big on law of attraction. It works too! :)

        • MC Boltman

          Oh yeah, hope you start talkin bout Superbowl wins soon :)

  • Nick in PB

    Hard to say… at age 33 it’s a bit of a risk. I really don’t like the idea of changing our entire defensive scheme to accommodate one person but it looks like we may have to. I would say he matches Philips sack total from last year. Anything beyond that would be awesome. Freeney is a veteran so he knows the game well enough to adjust and last season was a learning curve for him so I think he will grow from that.

    • MC Boltman

      Well they don´t have to change the entire defensive scheme. They gonna find situational solutions on passing downs. I don´t see too much probs with that. But this also means that we will have rely on English in traditional 3-4 schemes – mostly on 1st and 2nd downs.

  • FitzWilly

    Dwight “The Cat Norris” Freeney
    Bring it on Bitches :)

    • NativeSanDiegan

      Now that’s funny lol

  • FitzWilly

    I’m more excited about him taking Rey Kay under his wing
    Hopefully he will teach him the spin move :)
    Doesn’t get any better than D J Freeney as a mentor

    • MC Boltman

      Yes, our young guys will benefit from his presence out there on the field and in the locker room. I expect to see great things from “Rey Kay” next season. Freeney will be the one who´ll get double teamed…

      • FitzWilly

        That should be Kay Ray
        my bad
        that was the NyQuil talking lol

        • MC Boltman

          As long as we know who´s meant, then no prob :) #boltup

  • geapetto, florentini

    The presents of Freeney will demand teams to double him which gives Luiget and Reyes 1 on 1s which is awesome! Its a win win if teams dont double
    dwight.

    • MC Boltman

      Oh yes – double teams on Freeney! get it on. I see pretty cool stats for Luiget & Reyes too in 2013 (maybe also Johnson´s will look better, who knows)

  • Jason president

    Most defiantly. He has better help at the defensive line and he is a vet that is familiar with the scheme, Stays in shape to. Cox interception’s might go up to.

    • MC Boltman

      Yes…Freeney with his pressures will force the QB to make mistakes. Hope Cox can stay healthy – if so, then I see pretty good stats for him too. Sounds great!

  • nativesandiegan

    Oh yeah Bruddah, That’s what I was talkin’ about for the past few days. I admit, once Mel (ya think Melvin minds being called Mel?) went down I was thinking about copying Indy of 2 years ago, playing our younger guys, filling holes with UFA or young FA with potential, developing young guys, and essentially going after the top pick in 2014 draft.
    However, when the possibility of signing Freeney came along, I felt in my gut that we could get him (after June 1) & he would help in a number of ways; (where’s that joker-faced guy – Paul, who tried to shoot down all of my ideas). I realized that in a youth movement you NEED solid veteran leadership at all levels of O & D; preferably top quality players who can also model and teach tricks of the trade only learned over the years. Got to thinking this could also free up Reyes and Liuget to utilize their skills of penetration which I feel were being wasted by just occupying blockers. A hybrid system. It would also improve our pass blocking by going up against Freeney every day in practice. Some of you agreed to idea of hybrid IF we got Freeney but felt we’d never get him. Others ( joker-face) narrow mindedly shot down idea for various reasons.
    I thought we’d need to wait until June, but TT outdid me by loading incentives.
    Gotta go

    • MC Boltman

      Yes! I´ve to admit I wasn´t sure if TT will talk Freeney into being a Charger in 2013. But he did it! And thats awesome! And I agree with that vet presence. It will help Reyes & Liuget tremendously. I feel pretty good when thinking about next season…we´re not a contender, but we will be able to surprise…and we will surprise!

    • Alter Ego

      Hey native, I think you have a solid opinion. I didn’t believe we would be able to sign Freeney without letting Clary go. I also thought we would only be getting Freeney for only one year – I don’t think I’m narrow minded… I just didn’t agree with you-as we throw our thoughts out here on the blog – agree or disagree we are all still Bolt Fans. I think we will finally see the dividends from English. I’m not against Freeney – I am for the Bolts across the board (big picture). I’m completely amazed that Telesco was able to pull this off. It is impressive. As for my opinion (which is out there on several posts for all to see) – I own it and believe in it. I just started posting on this site(followed it for years though) – if you prefer, I won’t post anything else – I did think that my view point made others at least consider a different tact.

      • MC Boltman

        Well, Freeney wanted a multiple contract right away. He´d never signed a 1-year deal I guess (no matter where). And great u decided to post your thoughts here on this site…keep doing it, they are welcomed! :) #boltup

      • nativesandiegan

        No, keep on postin’. Read more of your other posts and most were positive. I’ve been a huge supporter of TT since before we even hired him and given his history with Dwight I had a gut feeling that we’d sign him. There will still be plenty of P/T for English and all the young guys to prove themselves(English), & to grow & develop. I really think the OLB/DE out of Stanford will surprise in a good way, & his versatility will really keep offenses guessing.
        Don’t sweat the stuff in my post; I’ve just been overprotective of TT because I know in my gut he’s a perfct fit for us but he’s had a number of naysayers since he signed on with us. He is very highly respected around the league and he deserves a fair chance. He’s already had some tough bumps in the road and he’s responded both quickly and knowledgeably. The more I see of him, the more impressed I am.
        Hang Loose Bruddah. We all want the same thing (I hope), The Super Bowl VICTORY

  • Gunnar Martin

    Nicknames for the new guy? We need a good one for him, not just a combination of his initials and number.

    • http://www.signonsandiego.com/ Ambitoos

      Freaky

      • Gunnar Martin

        Haha Dwight Freakey. I like

    • MC Boltman

      Spin move messiah … little bit long, but that was my first idea :)

      • Rob Base

        SMM spin messiah master?

        • Gunnar Martin

          Spin move master? These are all great btw. Totally gonna use these ;)

  • Rob Base

    I just read this The Eagles are expected to waive UDFA RB Miguel Maysonet Certainly a surprise.
    Bolts should go after him for RB competition and depth.

    • Gunnar Martin

      Between him and Hill we’d definitely know we had a solid third string RB. Pretty similar backs that could both have some success at the pro level.

    • MC Boltman

      Oh yes! RB competition and talent is highly welcome! Hill seems to be promising (heard he had 14 offers from other teams), but young talented blood at that position is very welcomed – TT is such a workhorse, guess he already has his eyes on him.

  • 619chargers4life

    does anyone know when the ticket office is going to close at the stadium tomorrow ?

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    Great article MC! Or, should I say another one.. lol.

    • MC Boltman

      Hey thanx bro! Really appreciate such comments. But needless to say your stuff is rockin´..uhm..boltin´ as hell too…you keep bolting towards excellence – your words :) #boltup

  • Ronnie G

    Colts fan here. Freeney is far from being done. I HATED to see him go but he doesn’t fit what we do on D anymore. He was definitely slowed down by the season long ankle injury but he was still able to get constant pressure. The key to his success will be whether or not someone else on your dline can demand a double team. Freeney was constantly double an triple teamed because of our lack of inside pressure. However, he would still penetrate enough to make the qb move off of his spot. Over the last couple years freeney has started to perfect his bullrush. On he gets that LT committed to stopping him from speed rushin the edge he switches it up an completely pancakes them with a bullrush…an on top of it all, almost every freeney sack comes with an insane strip that damn near breaks the QB’s arm. I wish him nothing but the best except for when he’s playing my colts.

    • MC Boltman

      Thanx for this comment! Cool to hear that from a Colts fan! Yeh, we have talented young guys up there in front, but Freeney will be double teamed also here in San Diego. Good to hear you think that it was his ankle injury that slowed him down last year. I can´t wait to see that spin move and that bullrush you´ve been talking about. Thanx for stopping by!

  • thegorn

    Use Freeney like Bill Walsh used Fred Dean: situational pash rusher. He could put up some serious sack numbers doing that.

  • nativesandiegan

    Late but…I expect Freeney to get about 7-10 sacks with at least 3-4 fumbles, and a ton of hurries. Hurries causing errant throws & int’s. Also forcing qb’s to step away from Freeney right into the arms of another Charger. Looking ahead to next year, how about a front 4 (in nickel, dime, & hybrid) of Freeney, Liuget, Reyes, & M-I. That would be a DL that could get after the passer, have quite a few TFL, & fast enough to ruin screens. Throw in the occasional blitz ( lb, cb, or Safety) & you’ve got a very potent pass-rush. Insert extra nickel or dime db & turn them loose. Now you’ve really got a tough unit to pass against.

    • NativeSanDiegan

      Well forget about M-I (Melvin) knee. LE: Thomas Keiser, Jarius Wynn, Tourak, or English; DT: English, Reyes, Wynn, or Cam Thomas; RE: Freeney, Wynn, Keiser, or Tourak (With Alternatives because I believe in flexibility)