ANDERSON - He's spent his time with the Indianapolis Colts playing in the secondary behind Pat Angerer, but the linebacker's contributions were still front and center.
At least that's how safety Jermale Hines sees it.
"Honestly, I don't think you can replace Pat," said Hines of the linebacker, who is out six weeks wit a fractured right foot. "The guy's a ball player, the guy's physical, the guy's a leader.
"In my heart, I don't think he can be replaced."
Despite the thought, the Colts will have to find a way to deal without their defensive leader for the rest of the preseason and early in the regular season. Angerer was the heart of the defense in 2011 making a team-high 148 tackles along with a sack.
This season the third-year player out of Iowa was expected to play a critical role in meshing a number of new defensive players in the team's 3-4 scheme. Now defensive coordinator Greg Manusky will look to a number of young players to fill the void in the middle."
“We got to pick it up across the board," said Manusky of replacing Angerer. "There are no back-up players on a team, that’s what I always say because any situation you can be in the game and that’s what they got to be.”
Expected to do so for the time being is Jerrell Freeman, who comes to the Colts from the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders. He saw significant time during the Colts preseason opener against the Rams after Angerer was injured in the first quarter, making four tackles.
Manusky expects Freeman to be on the first string for now while also looking at newly acquired linebackers Moise Fokou and Greg Lloyd to fill the role.
“I think they just got to play within the framework of the defense and play as one," said Manusky when asked what a linebacker will have to do to replace Angerer. "Across the board, we got to try to do that defensively from defensive ends to tackles to outside linebackers to safeties.
"Constant communication is the most important thing.”
Lloyd agrees with that, stressing how the substitute for Angerer must not be afraid to step up and take control.
"A lot of the pressure is on the MIKE linebacker but then again, you got guys who’ve been out there and know what’s going on," said Lloyd. "So in case you miss a beat or something or you’re not exactly sure, you’ve got 10 other guys out there on the field that kind of know what the deal is.
"So everybody is helping out everybody, but as a MIKE you need to be on top of everything.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun