'Silly' season: Veteran Chargers pass rusher Dwight Freeney still capable of making offensive linemen look foolish

December 05, 2014 - 2:30 am
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[caption id="attachment_84813" align="alignright" width="350"]Dwight Freeney has been getting after Tom Brady for several seasons. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)Dwight Freeney has been getting after Tom Brady for several seasons. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)[/caption] When he retired in 2012, former Patriots left tackle Matt Light said the toughest guy he went up against on an annual basis was ex-Colts pass rusher Dwight Freeney. "He's a guy that I had a lot of respect for. It's not just the way he plays the game, it's how many different ways he can make you look silly out there, [of] which, there are plenty," Light said of the 6-foot-1, 268-pound former All-Pro who moved from Indy to San Diego prior to the start of the 2013 season. The 34-year-old Freeney, who has 110 sacks in the regular season over the course of his career, is no longer the elite-level pass rusher he was when he and Light knocked heads on a regular basis a few years ago, but he's still a good situational presence. In his second season with San Diego, Freeney has a pair of sacks while working at right outside linebacker, and has been a steady and consistent presence for a team in need of a pass rushing spark. "Freeney has been a pain in our butt for a long time," said quarterback Tom Brady. The Chargers don't have one overwhelming pass rushing presence -- they have 18 sacks as a team this year, 29th in the league -- but instead, have a number of players who are capable of getting pressure on the quarterback through aggression and scheme. "I think he's one of the guys that has that aggressive style," left tackle Nate Solder said of Freeney. "I think every year he's played, he's played hard and he's really put a great effort out there. I think it's going to be a challenge, certainly, to go against him, as well as all the guys that they put out there." And if you underestimate him, well, there's still the chance he'll make you look a little silly. "He's still a very good player," said tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. "We've got to be ready for him and everything he brings to the table on Sunday. Any of those reports that say he's lost it, we're not believing it. We can see it on film already. "Whatever he wants to do over his long career, he's pretty much had the liberty to do it," he added. "It comes in a bunch of different ways, but you've got to be ready for everything, speed, power, whatever it is. Whatever he brings -- which could be a lot. His toolbox is big."