Indianapolis Colts' Pat Angerer Needs to Hit the Next Level
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Despite playing for the pitiable Larry Coyer, Angerer has managed to make a name for himself by racking up gaudy tackle numbers.
While tackles are a poor way of judging defensive value, in Angerer's case they do speak to a willingness and ability to be involved in a high volume of plays.
The Colts' middle linebacker has been respectable, even good in spurts, but if the team is going to turn around, they need him to take his game to the next level.
For Angerer, "the next level" would vault him to Pro Bowl status.
Here's what he needs to do get there:
When you study Angerer's game charting metrics, you don't have to look hard to find some standout games. Against the Steelers in 2011, he was dominant against the run. In one of the finest linebacker games I've ever witnessed, he was active and repeatedly made plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Other weeks he was lost, however. Because the Colts' scheme was so flawed, it's difficult to know if the low-impact games were truly his fault, or just the result of poor game-planning. For Angerer to hit the next level he needs cut down on the number of times per game and per year that he is rendered invisible.
Great games are exciting, but true stars show up every week. There were too many games when he would be blocked out of run plays or get lost in coverage. It wasn't a majority of the time, but it happened often enough to be noticeable.
Angerer ranked fourth in the NFL with 148 tackles in 2011, and while that's impressive, tackles made five yards downfield don't do much to help a team win. Despite the big-volume total, he only had nine tackles for loss, good for 27th in the league among linebackers. In two years, he has two sacks and one interception.
Every linebacker is going to have different responsibilities, and Angerer wasn't asked to blitz often in his first two years. That will naturally limit his sack numbers, but he should be compensating with big plays in other ways.
The Colts need Angerer to be more than just reliable. They need him to be an explosive playmaker in the middle of the field. That means more tackles for loss and more interceptions in coverage.
It's not fair to hang a single player for a lack of team success, but when it comes to linebackers hitting the next level, it has to be mentioned. Even if Angerer can only maintain his current level of play, doing it in the context of a competent defense will improve his league-wide esteem.
It's one thing to pick up 148 tackles in a terrible defense that is on the field all game. If he can post the same numbers for a respectable unit, they will mean much more.
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