Besides the fantastic special teams (note the sarcasm), the Colts did have some other bright spots in 2011. One of the fan favorites on a very poor defense was middle linebacker Pat Angerer.
While Angerer was overrated by many Colts fans, he has some very special talents, and a nose for the football. For these reasons, Angerer had the top performance by an 4-3 middle linebacker in 2011, according to Pro Football Focus:
1. Pat Angerer, Indianapolis Colts: Week 15 vs. Tennessee (+6.6)
While we were as sick as anyone being told Angerer was a top player because he made a lot of tackles (newsflash, the Colts allmade lots of tackles because their defense was on the field so often) we wouldn’t argue with how excellent he looked in Week 15. He ended up with seven defensive stops (including a tackle for a loss) while forcing a fumble, breaking up a pass, and hauling in an interception. A performance to excite a fan base who had little to get excited about in 2011."
I was planning on doing a larger post on this today, but the special teams disturbances distracted me for a while. I'll have a more detailed post up on Thursday about Angerer.
I'm very intrigued in Angerer's performance last year, how he improved, and how he fits into the new 3-4/hybrid defense. While Angerer doesn't have the prototypical size for a 3-4 linebacker, I don't think that's as big of a problem as some. I'm also wary of citing Angerer's coverage skills as a problem, as he was the Colts' best linebacker in coverage last season, at least, statistically. He's a good football player, so I'm not going to worry too much about the system.
I know this is a Colts blog, so I hope you will bear with me for just a moment...
Am I the only one that has noticed that Peyton has gone to a team that his best reciever is #88 (Thomas) and his #2 guy is #87 (Decker)?
I mean the coincidence of that just kinda freaks me out. (Sorry, I just had to share that, now we can return to our regularly scheduled Colts programming.)
I can't wait to see how you think Angerer will translate to the 3-4.
I'm not saying that Angerer is Ray Lewis, but he is one of those players that isn't just defined by forty times and size and weight. He is just a damn good football player.
Pat wasn't brilliant, but much better than others. 16 of 25 (66.7% completions) for 5.625 yards per attempt with 5 First Downs and 1 TD allowed (not to mention 1 INT and 2 Passes defended).
You compare that to Conner (23 of 29 - 79.3%, 10.589 YPA, 14 FDs, 1 TD) and Sims (31 of 40 - 77.5%, 7.975 YPA, 20 FDs, 0 TDs), and Angerer was head and shoulders above the weak-side/nickle LBs. Wheeler was 11 of 17 (64.7%) for 6.118 YPA and 5 FDs, so he was much more on Angerer's level but wasn't targeted as often.
@JakeSome of Pat's coverage numbers were top-5 in the league last year. There are some viable reasons for that ( I don't actually think Angerer is one of the top 5 coverage 'backers), but I'll have more on those on Thursday.