ANDERSON — There’s a scene in the original “Jurassic Park” where a wrangler goes into the jungle in search of a few escaped raptors.
After a cautious exploration of the immediate area, he finally spots one of his targets. But, in almost the same instant, he comes to the sudden realization he’s fallen into a trap.
The attack isn’t coming from the raptor he’s just found, but from others hiding in the foliage on either side.
The goal of the Indianapolis Colts defense in 2012 is to put opposing quarterbacks in the role of the wrangler. And seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney will take a lead role as a raptor.
Early on in training camp at Anderson University, Freeney said he didn’t really like being designated as an outside linebacker. On the first depth chart released this week, his position has been labeled as “rush.”
“I love it,” he said. “We, actually, as (defensive) linemen for the last 10 years, we breakdown our little huddle when we get together as rush-men.
We say ‘1, 2, 3, rush-men.’ Never d-linemen. So, for me, it’s pretty much the same.”
Much has been made about the transition Freeney is making this summer in head coach Chuck Pagano’s and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky’s hybrid 3-4 scheme. And there’s no denying the aesthetic differences.
Freeney has been lining up all over the practice field. Sometimes he’s standing up as an outside linebacker on the right side. Other times he’s got his hand in the ground as a defensive end on the left. And, on at least one occasion, he’s lined up in the middle of the defensive line as a nose tackle.
It’ll be up to opposing quarterbacks, and their offensive lines, to determine exactly where Freeney is and the nature of his intentions on each and every play.
And even once they spot Freeney, they’ll have to decide whether he’s causing the most immediate danger or the true attackers are lying in the wings.
From the outside, it all looks very complex. But Freeney told the media Friday at Anderson University it has a familiar feel.
“For me, it’s going to be pretty much doing the same thing,” he said. “Where’s the quarterback? OK, go get him. I mean, I’m going to be movingand doing different things, which is going to give me more opportunities to make plays, which is good for me. But there’s a little take where I actually have to drop back in coverage a little more than I would like, but that’s just because I’ve been a defensive lineman all my life. But it’s OK, I’ll get used to it.”
The question is, will opponents ever get used to it.
The Colts’ offense has seen these schemes countless times since organized team activities began in the spring. On Sunday, Freeney and his defensive mates get to test it for the first time against players wearing different colored helmets.
It’ll be up to the St. Louis Rams to try and survive in the jungle.
“How effective is it going to be against someone who doesn’t know anything about it?,” Freeney said. “It’s different when every day ... The first day we go against the offense we’re doing all types of things and everything works, but by the 20th time they’re going to catch on. It’s going to be interesting to see, I’m excited.”