Dwight Freeney was a recent call-in guest for NFL Network's 32 teams in 32 days special. On the show, he discussed why the Colts defense was, for all intents and purposes, a big bag full of suck for much of last year (not Freeney's words, but when you hear players talk about 'inconsistency,' that's code for 'we sucked'):
We weren't where we wanted to be last year. We weren't horrible, you know. I think, at the beginning of the year, we had a problem getting teams to third down because on first and second down there were getting so much yardage either rushing or play-action pass. I think, towards the end of the year, defensively we started turning that around.
We wrote about this 'turnaround' last season. It happened when Daniel Muir was, essentially, benched in favor of Antonio Johnson at the defensive tackle spot. Muir supposedly was injured, but I personally don't know if I buy that excuse. Prior to the second Jaguars game in 2010, the Colts surrendered an appalling 141 rushing yards a game. After Muir was 'injured' and Mookie started at DT, the Colts defense allowed just 66 rushing yards a game.
When Muir returned to the starting lineup during the playoffs, once again the Colts rushing defense woes returned. The Jets ran all over Indy, and defeated them largely because of that rushing attack.
More from Freeney:
"I know this, we have to get back to playing consistent football, night in and night out," Freeney said. "Every practice we have to make sure we’re doing what we need to do. I think we were a little too inconsistent. We would have great games, and then the next game we would play bad. The next game we would play good. The year that we played real good and we ended up in the Super Bowl, we were a great road team. You knew what to expect, and we were winning those games. Last year was too up and down."
Freeney also spoke honestly about how much longer he thinks he has left in the NFL:
I've been thinking about that. When you hit 30, you start thinking about those things. How much longer can I keep doing this? I really take it year by year, to be honest with you.
According to Pro Football Focus, Freeney is the second most prolific pass rusher from 2008-2010 behind only John Abraham of the Falcons. Truthfully, outside of Freeney and Robert Mathis, the Colts simply have no pass rush.
Thus, if Dwight is truly thinking year-to-year with his career, then the Colts defense is on borrowed time.