Everyone knows that the Colts defense is a pushover. It is a foregone conclusion that they are a bunch of no-names who can barely hack it at the NFL level and are only treading water because of Andrew Luck’s brilliance. Everyone knows that.
Of course, no one bothered to tell Darius Leonard.
The rookie has two NFL games under his belt and already has earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week. His 18 tackle, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass breakup performance against the Washington Redskins put him on the map as a difference maker for this young Colts defense, and Colts fans don’t expect this is the last time they’ll hear his name.
Leonard has been a force through two games and currently leads the league in tackles with 27. His performance against the Redskins netted him the 5th highest in-house rating that defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus has given out in 23 years of coaching.
He also joins a pretty small group of Colts defensive players, just 4, to have earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors during their rookie seasons. DE Steve Emtman, DE Dwight Freeney, and OLB Jonathan Newsome are the other three.
Other notable Colts rookies to earn NFL Player of the Week recognitions:
- Marvin Harrison
- Peyton Manning
- Edgerrin James
- Joseph Addai
- Andrew Luck
- T.Y. Hilton
On the whole, pretty good company to find himself in. With any luck, the “Maniac” will be driving opposing offenses crazy for a long time to come.