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!