Jerrell Freeman had a great game last Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs and was a major factor in the Colts' win, and for his performance he was rewarded with the AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Freeman recorded 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery, and also picked off a pass. Originally, he was credited with 2 interceptions but later Robert Mathis was awarded a strip sack instead of batted pass (which was the correct call) and that took a pick away from Freeman and gave him a recovered fumble instead. Regardless of what the ruling was on that play, however, the fact remains that Freeman was brilliant last week and was deserving of the player of the week honors.
Freeman is having a great year again in his second season in the league after racking up 145 tackles in his first season where he came out of nowhere and played great after being signed from the Canadian Football League by Ryan Grigson. This year, he has started all 15 games and has recorded 118 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 picks, and 4 pass deflections. He has really emerged as one of the Colts best players and a very good inside linebacker. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and outside linebacker Robert Mathis both raved about Freeman's play:
What kind of development have you seen from Jerrell Freeman in pass coverage? Has he developed there?
"Yeah, yeah all those guys have. And again, Coach (Jeff) FitzGerald does a great job with them. He's a great teacher for those guys and they really understand the concept of the defense. And then Jeff does a great job of preparing those guys and getting them ready for what they're going to see. When you know ahead of time based on formation, down and distance, personnel group, formation, all those things, when you can whittle it down to a couple plays and you got them in your mind based on film study, that's when you can take some chances, get a jump on some things. But he's finishing plays. And I've seen a lot of guys go up there and drop those, those ‘gimmies' in the air too. So our motto is if you catch the ones they throw to you, you're going to lead the league in interceptions every year. So he's doing a nice job."
Are you impressed with the way Freeman has been able to add to his game over the last two years?
"Yeah, again, just like everybody else, he's playing with a great deal of confidence. He's flying around. He's having fun. He's making plays. He's a versatile guy, he can do a lot. He's great against the run. He's doing real good against the pass. You blitz him, he comes around and gets a strip-sack, force the fumble on the quarterback. He's doing great things right now. He's an athletic guy and he's got the ability, obviously, to make those plays. It's a good time for him to get hot."
"I don't think, I know. He's a Pro Bowler. If he's not in the Pro Bowl, it's a crime. Recount or whatever you need to do, he definitely needs to be there."
Freeman also talked about receiving the AFC Defensive Player of the Week honor:
"It's a great feeling. But like I said before, that honor's not just about me, man. It took a lot of guys doing their job. I just made the play when it came to me, man."
It's a well-deserved honor, and I agree with Mathis - Freeman should be in the Pro Bowl. I know that I certainly voted for him.