So, we wrote a little story yesterday about how Jerrell Freeman pretty much took Pat Angerer's job. While Angerer has been missing time since breaking his foot in August, Freeman (the first-year player out of Mary Hardin-Baylor) has quietly been the Colts defense's MVP, amassing 55 combined tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and an interception returned for a touchdown. Conversely, Freeman's partner at inside linebacker, Kavell Conner, has 31 combined tackles, a sack, and two passes defended on the year thus far.
However, with the return of Pat Angerer, it seems that Conner is the odd man out on defense.
During the Colts 17-13 win over the Browns, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky featured packages that had both Freeman and Angerer on the field together, with Angerer playing the MIKE position.
Going forward, it seems we will see more of this. Here's coach Bruce Arians discussing Angerer and Freeman playing more inside backer together:
I hope we see a lot of that. We purposely put Pat at the MIKE position so that they could get out there together. Not that Kavell did anything wrong, but we got double-digit tacklers out there at the same time who are extremely quick and showed up in crutch time in that ballgame.
It'll be interesting to see how the Colts pass rush, or pass defense overall, suffers as a result of Angerer and Freeman on the field at the expense of Conner. It does seem as kind of a diss to Conner to effectively bench him for Angerer, who has barely played this year, but that's life in the NFL.
Overall, having depth at linebacker is a very good problem to have. Look for Moise Fokou, who plays both inside and outside backer, to see more time along the outside.