Different positions. Same postseason.
After an offseason of fielding question after question regarding the switch from defensive end to outside linebacker, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are back in a familiar spot of playing in January.
Not only has the Colts pass rushing duo adjusted to new positions but they have also accepted another challenge upon the departure of many veterans in the offseason.
“This year is special because we have such a young team,” Mathis said. “I would say this year is more so of a leadership role for myself. A few of us kind of had that hat put on us to be the leaders and just lead the guys, just to lead by example and by your work on the field.”
Last season at this time, the Pro Bowl pair watched the playoffs from home for the first time in their NFL careers, making this year’s run that much more enjoyable.
“It’s very satisfying,” Freeney said. “Obviously we’re not done yet in our minds. But coming from a 2-14 season to winning 11 games, that definitely means a lot.”
The leadership role that Freeney and Mathis have embraced this year has continued this week in addressing what the atmosphere will be like come Sunday afternoon.
Both were on the field for the Colts 2006 AFC Divisional victory in Baltimore and have had a message for the young players making their playoff debut.
“Don’t really change anything that you’ve done to get you to this point because it has got you to the playoffs. Whatever you have been doing, keep doing it but just do it at a higher level,” Mathis said.
“The good thing about our young guys is that they listen. They are very humble and very attentive. So whatever we pretty much say, they take it to heart and they roll with it.”
With Freeney (11) and Mathis (10) both reaching the double-digit total in NFL experience, opportunities like this weekend are numbered.
Both realize that and are ready to make the most out of a chance Sunday afternoon.
“Obviously we’re doing tremendous things with a lot of young guys. I don’t know if there’s a record or what to that, how many wins with so many young guys on one team, I have no idea,” Freeney said.
“But we set goals at the beginning of the year. It wasn’t just to get to this point and that’s it. Our goals are to win the Super Bowl. This just happens to be the next challenge.”
Tags: Dwight Freeney, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog