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ANDERSON – Dwight Freeney exited the Indianapolis Colts' early practice Monday with a smile and plenty of energy. He's OK being considered an old dog learning new tricks.
The Colts are switching to a 3-4 defense, which means there will be a slight change in Freeney's approach. Some plays, he'll be lined up at outside linebacker in a standing-up stance. It'll be an adjustment from the decade-long hand-down defensive end approach that made him the Colts all-time sacks leader.
“There's a little bit of both,” Freeney said. “They'll allow me to do a lot of what I've been doing. You'll see me in a stance, there'll be situations where I can't have my hand down, and that's fine. Most times, you're probably going to see my hand down. …If I'm only standing up 25 percent of the time and 75 percent I'm down, I'm basically doing the same thing.”
Freeney said the first few days of organized team activities were the biggest adjustment to his new role.
“The first day was rough in May,” Freeney said. “You've always been in Cover-2, that's all you know. That first day I remember the first package went in, we had about 15 blitzes, new terminology…But being out here and being in the fire, we learned quick and understand what we need to do. Now we're here and things are a lot better.”
Freeney and Robert Mathis both said there is a lot of energy with the new defense and new coaches. Freeney worked a lot on moving from an upright stance on his own during the offseason.
“I'm a perfectionist so I wanted to make sure I was comfortable and doing things the right way the whole time,” Freeney said. “I've done it before in my career. I did it in practice for 10 years. I'd turn around, stand-up, do different things.”
Freeney's not sure he's ready to be called an outside linebacker.
“You don't have to write that,” Freeney said. “Just write 'defensive end.' ”