Peter King sat down with Dwight Freeney, one of the most feared pass rushers of the last decade (most notably with the Colts, and more recently with the Chargers), to talk about his mental approach to the position for today's installment of Monday Morning Quarterback.
The full piece by King is a must read for defensive line coaches, and really coaches everywhere. Just being able to get a glimpse at how a guy that has been on top of his game for so long as a potent pass rusher (he's in his 13th season) approaches the game from a mental standpoint is nothing short of fascinating.
Freeney lays everything out on the table in the article from what goes through his mind as the offense approaches the ball, to keeping film of every offensive lineman he's ever taken a snap against over the years and he can pull that film up on any given week. But most interesting to me is the way that Freeney breaks things down to illustrate "the game inside of the game" that offensive and defensive lineman grapple with every snap.
“It’s not all about the sack. It’s a very misleading stat. I’ve always said it. I could get my ass kicked and get a sack. The game is watched from a different perspective, but not really from a defensive line versus offensive line perspective."
"The camera is always on the QB. It’s always on the high-profile stars. The dirty work—it takes a real student of the game to sit there and watch what’s going on."
Read the whole thing here. I highly recommend it for coaches, and also as something worth sharing with your players.