Dwight Freeney thinks Peter King should do more research

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07: Dwight Freeney #93 of the Indianapolis Colts warms up on the field prior to the start of Super Bowl XLIV between the against the New Orleans Saints on February 7, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Dwight Freeney is a little hacked off at SI.com’s Peter King, who released a “five most fearsome pass rushers for 2010 and beyond” and left Freeney’s name off the list.

From the Indianapolis Star:

“When you put Brian Orakpo — and nothing against the guy, he is 24 — but mention him over me, that hurts your credibility as an analyst,” Freeney said. “I know who Peter King is. But to mention (Orakpo) over me? For him not to mention me in the top five, that is an insult.”

The list included the context, “They’ll chase and drop quarterbacks for the next half decade.” DeMarcus Ware of Dallas was No. 1, Minnesota’s Jared Allen second and Houston’s Mario Williams third.

Perhaps Freeney got edged out because he’s 30. But it still didn’t sit well with him.

“So I guess it’s over?” he said, shaking his head.

Freeney is curious to know who NFL foes would prefer to face, him or Orakpo? “Would you rather see him or would you rather see me?”

“What he needs to do is ask the people around the league in a poll, all of the offensive coordinators and all of the offensive tackles. Ask them: ‘Give me the top five pass rushers.’ If I’m not mentioned in the top five by almost all of those guys, then I’m wrong.”

“Tell (King) to do more research and ask around before he publishes that,” Freeney said. “He should be better than that.”

Ah, is there anything more clichéd then telling a sports writer to do more research? If I had a nickel…

In fairness to King, most defensive ends suffer a decline by the time they reach 31 and older. So if King’s piece was centered on the next wave of pass-rushers, he has reason to omit Freeney based on trends and history when it comes to the defensive end position.

That said, if offensive linemen (and quarterbacks for that matter) do think Freeney is in the top 5, then the Colts’ DE has every right to complain about King “not doing his research.” After all, the opinions of offensive linemen and quarterbacks should be the only ones that matter here unless King was doing an opinion piece entitled, “the next generation of pass rushers.”

In this case, the devil is in the details (of a sports title).

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What a difference a week makes for Colts, who crush sloppy Giants

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) greets his brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning after their NFL football game in Indianapolis September 19, 2010.  REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

One of the most maddening aspects of the NFL is how teams can play like pure, unfiltered garbage one week and the next resemble a completely different unit.

We knew the Colts weren’t going to play as poorly as they did last Sunday all season. But this was a team that gave up 257 rushing yards a week ago in a lopsided 34-24 loss to Houston and also looked out of sync offensively. And with the Giants coming to town on Sunday night, Indy had cause for concern that its weaknesses would once again be exposed.

But in their 38-14 thrashing of the Giants in Week 2, the Colts resembled the team that played in the Super Bowl seven months ago. They were balanced offensively, they forced three turnovers and they ran the ball with conviction. Their run defense was still a bit of an issue (New York gained 120 yards on the ground), but Indy built such a big lead that the Giants had to scrap the run by halftime.

Speaking of the Giants, Tom Coughlin has to be concerned that his team has now turned the ball over seven times in two games. David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie didn’t do Eli Manning (13-of-24, 161 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) any favors, as they allowed Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney VIP access into New York’s pocket on damn near every play. Eli also lost a fumble right before halftime that led to a Colts’ touchdown and while he did throw for two scores, he spent most of the night looking completely befuddled on the sidelines.

Of course, he still had a better evening than Brandon Jacobs, who continues to watch his role in the Giants’ offense diminish and who somehow threw his helmet into the stands at one point during the game. According to ESPN sideline report Andrea Kramer, Jacobs was trying to throw his helmet either on the ground or into the Giants’ bench, yet somehow it wound up landing five rows into the stands. So either Jacobs intended to throw it that far or his helmet was made at NASA and can literally fly on its own.

The G-Men might be 1-1 on the new year, but it’s already time for Coughlin to tighten the reins. Dumb mistakes are killing this team and with the Cowboys off to a brutal start, they can’t be shooting themselves in the foot right now. Losing to the Colts is nothing to be ashamed of, but the Giants were never in it from the start. With a pissed off Titans team coming to town next week, New York better get their affairs in order quickly.

Should the Colts be concerned about their defensive tackles?

HOUSTON - NOVEMBER 29: Defensive lineman Daniel Muir #90 of the Indianapolis Colts on the bench in the game against the Houston Texans on November 29, 2009 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Colts won 35-27. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Merry training camp season, everyone. It’s been a long offseason, but football is finally gearing up again and to celebrate I’m rolling out a new series on TSR entitled “2010 NFL Question Marks,” where I discuss one or two of the biggest concerns that teams have heading into the new season. Granted, some teams have more issues than others, but I’ll primarily be focusing on the biggest problem areas. Today I’ll be discussing the Colts and their potential issues at defensive tackle.

Same story, different year for the Colts.

Until Peyton Manning has to enlist the aid of walker to get onto the field on Sundays, the Colts will compete for a playoff berth every season. Their strength is their dynamic offense and the speed of their defense, but even a team with as many division titles as Indy has over the last decade has at least one weakness.

It’s seems like every year we’re talking about the Colts’ issues at the defensive tackle position. That’s because the team refuses to upgrade those spots and they decided to ignore the positions once again this offseason.

The projected starters this year are Daniel Muir and Antonio Johnson. On most teams, the duo would be fringe starters or excellent backups. On the Colts, they’re counted on to anchor a defense that primarily relies on speed and the pass-rush that Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis generate from their end positions.

The 25-year-old Johnson was a restricted free agent this past offseason and was brought back on a one-year, $1.684 million salary. He’s athletic for being 6’3 and 310 pounds, but he can be pushed backwards at the point of attack and he’s not consistent against the run.

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Freeney shows his toughness in Super Bowl

One player that will be overlooked in the Colts’ crushing 31-17 loss to the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV is Dwight Freeney, who played the entire game despite having a tear in his right ankle.

Freeney missed two weeks of practice in hopes that his ankle would be completely healed by kickoff and while he wasn’t 100%, he gutted the pain out and turned in a banner first half. In fact, he made one of the best plays of the half when he sacked Drew Brees and forced the Saints to settle for a field goal attempt when they were driving deep into Indianapolis territory in the second quarter.

But following the game, Freeney admitted that the long layoff for halftime hampered his ability to play in the second half. He said his ankle stiffened up and despite his best efforts to loosen up on the sidelines, he just wasn’t the same player that he was in the first half.

Regardless, his teammates respected his effort.

From ESPN.com:

“He worked is tail off, three, four times a day,” Colts safety Melvin Bullitt said. “I knew he was going to play. There was no doubt in my mind he wouldn’t. That’s just the type of person Dwight is. It’s hard we couldn’t get the win for him with him coming back so soon off an injury like that. It’s very disappointing. He came up with a big play at a crucial time for us.”

We could play the “what if” game until we’re blue in the face. But had Freeney been healthy and played the entire game at 100%, there’s a possibility that Brees wouldn’t have completed 32-of-39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns.

Of course, none of that matters to Freeney or the Colts but considering many people (myself included) thought he wouldn’t be effective, what he did in the first half was impressive.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Super Bowl XLIV Prediction

I wrote a longer version of this article in my rough draft, but I’m going to do everyone a favor and just skip the foreplay. By now, your well aware of all the storylines centered around Super Bowl XLIV because it’s been shoved down your throat the past two weeks.

So let’s just get naked and do this thing already.

With everyone focused on Peyton Manning’s brilliance, Dwight Freeney’s injury and the Saints’ “destiny,” fans and analysts alike aren’t paying much attention to something that could be the difference in the end.

Whether it’s pounding it up the middle with Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell or testing the edge with Reggie Bush, the Saints can run the ball. In fact, they can run the ball better than people give them credit for.

What’s one of the best ways to beat Manning? If you said “with pressure” then you’d be right, but that’s easier said than done. The Saints battered Kurt Warner and Brett Favre into mistakes in their last two games, but Manning excels at reading a defense at the line of scrimmage, recognizing the coverage and getting the ball out of his hands quickly. Chances are that New Orleans won’t get to Manning consistently enough for it to play a huge factor in the outcome.

No, the best way to beat Manning is to keep him on the sidelines. The Saints can accomplish that by controlling the line of scrimmage and pounding the rock. Once they’ve done that, then the passing game will open up and due to Freeney’s injury, the Colts won’t be able to generate enough pressure with their front four to slow Brees down. If they blitz, Brees can burn them by throwing away from their coverage, which is something he specializes in.

While Brees, Bush, Jeremy Shockey, Darren Sharper and a host of other Saints will certainly play a key role tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pierre Thomas takes on the MVP award tonight. He could wind up being the backbone of the Saints’ offense and the key to keeping Manning on the sidelines.

The Saints win this game with their ground game, and I’m willing to bet that it’ll be a lower scoring game than people think.

Saints 24, Colts 23.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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