It has been brought up that the colts may be changing their philosophy, moving away form "smaller faster" LB's and replacing them with "larger slower" LB's. The addition of, FA Adam Seward and the drafting of Phillip Wheeler, two players that are at least 10lbs. heavier then the other LB's on the roster; have lit a spark, amongst the passionate colts fans that has them thinking the BP will be looking for "big slow" guys opposed to "fast small" guys in the up coming draft.
One of the suggested reasons to go big is that the coaches will be blitzing the LB’s more this year. Larry Coyer has blitz the LB's in the past, but, I think that was only way he could get pressure on the QB. With the DE's he has he won't have to blitz the LB's to get pressure on the Passer. In college both Seward and Wheeler have shown the ability to get to the QB. I do think the LB’s will blitz a little more this year, but they will not be known as blitzing LBers. Their main job on passing downs, is going to be dropping back into zone coverage just like they always have.
In years past a coaches or GM have to chosen between ’big and slow’ or ‘small and fast’. On most skill levels college, high school, this trade off is true. In the NFL you have arguably some of the best athletes in the world, you can have big and fast. That’s the direction that a couple of the LB spots are heading. The Colts have added some size with out sacrificing any speed. The change in hilosophy isn’t going away from speed it’s actually adding size to that speed. The new philosophy is speed is good, but speed and size are better. I like it.
The links below are a look at some of the numbers of the LB’s on the current roster and on last years roster. Of the 4 LB’s added since last year, only two are noticeably larger then the other LB’s on the list. The other guys added alexzander and Okwo fall right in line with the size of LB’s the Colts have had for a number of years.
Clint Session 6’0” 235lbs. 4.57 40 time
Philip Wheeler 6’2” 240lbs. 4.67 40 time
Jorden Seen, 5’11” 224lbs. Couldn’t find much info on Seen, Walter had him listed as a safety with a projected 4.52, 40 time.
Adam Seward 6’3” 250lbs. 4.60
Gary Brackett 5’11” 235lbs, NA an undrafted free agent from 7 yrs ago, just not much info on him.
Rufus Alexzander 6’1” 232lbs, 4.69 – 4.79 40 time
Michael Okwo 6’0” 225lbs. 4.65 – 4.75 40 time
Some of last years LB's that are no longer with the team.
TYJUAN HAGLER 6’0” 236lbs. ran between 4.56 and 4.63 in the 40, while leading his group in the bench press with 35 reps of 225 pounds.
Freddy Keiaho 5’11” 226lbs. 4.65 40 time
Buster Davis, 5’9” 239lbs, 4.64 40 time
Next years starting LB line up looks like it will be bigger and more physical then in past years, and still be solid in coverage. Session is 10lbs. heavier then Keiaho and faster then Keiaho, I expect him to be a major up grade over Freddy. Brackett is still solid at the MIKE. Wheeler should be fine at the SAM, if he cracks the starting line up. He is a little heavier, and not as fast as Session, but, that isn’t as important at the SAM. That is a big reason Session is moving from SAM because the cover-2 demands that your most athletic LB play at the WILL and that is, with out a doubt, Sessions. Wheeler will provide sure tackling, an occasional blitz to keep the O line honest and should be fine in coverage on the SAM side.
If the BP and the coaches are able to sure up the middle of the D-line, it should be a good year for the LB’s and the D as a whole.