Allen ‘totally different' than Freeney

Dwight Freeney may have helped establish the parameters of Jared Allen's contract with the Vikings, but Minnesota's defensive end says he is a completely different player than Freeney. See what Allen and others had to say about it, as well finding out just how good Indianapolis is in the opening month, injuries for both teams and discipline for a Colts starter, among other topics.

Despite Dwight Freeney setting a salary benchmark for Pro Bowl defensive ends when the Vikings were trying to trade for Jared Allen, Minnesota's new prized possession on the defensive line said his style of play is nothing like that of Freeney's.

"Totally different. I'm more of a leverage technique guy. He's a spinner. He's a speed rusher and spinner," Allen said. "He's a great player and I've got a lot of respect for him and I look forward to the challenge of matching whatever he can do and hopefully one-upping him."

The comparisons likely will flow this week with the Colts traveling to Minnesota to play the Vikings on Sunday. Both players are especially effective in getting to the quarterback for sacks. Allen led the league in sacks last year with 15 ½. Freeney, the Colts' franchise record holder with 61 career sacks, has been among the best in the league since entering the NFL in 2002, with his high-water mark of 13 in 2004.

Despite the differing styles, Colts head coach Tony Dungy sees some similarities.

"They are similar in a lot of ways. (They are both) high motor, high energy, great quickness off the ball. They are both disruptive and you have to have a plan to block them. They don't get single-blocked a whole lot. They are very similar," he said, and he said when Freeney's not in the game, offenses approach them differently.

"No question about it. It's just a fact of life when you've got a great player at any position you have to plan for that, and you have to tailor your attack, whether it is an offensive or defensive attack to how you are going to handle it. And Dwight was a guy that dictated a lot of things by our opponents and that helps."

Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards agreed with that the two are different players, but that's not stopping Edwards from learning and stealing moves from Freeney.

"He's a smaller guy than Jared," Edwards said of Freeney. "He's like 6-1, but he's a more compact guy, got a lot of power. He's got built-in leverage, I call it. He has a great first step, a great spin move and he just knows how to read off the ball real well.

"I definitely takes what he does, just try to read the tackle, how he uses his leverage, how sets certain guys up with moves. I just see how he does and put that into my game."

But Allen, who is 6-6, 270 pounds, said Freeney's moves don't work for him.

"I've looked at what Freeney does, but what Freeney does doesn't work for me," he said. "He's got a hell of a get-off. I try and take that, but Dwight has a different style. He's explosive, he's actually got a really good bulrush. He's a hell of a player, but our styles are different. I take things from players that I can see that work for me. I'm not trying to be Dwight Freeney, I'm just trying to be myself."

According to Freeney, Allen is a big-effort player.

"He is a high-motor guy, a guy that is long – has long arms and a long body. He makes a lot of plays based on his length and his pursuit of the ball and his hard work. Everybody has their own style as a defensive end. You have some guys that are fast, speedy guys. You got guys that are big, strong guys. You got guys that are high-motor guys. Everybody has their own style. So he has great style," Freeney said. "I think I'm probably a little quicker. I'm more of a speed guy that likes to catch you off balance sometimes using my speed and quickness to my advantage. For him, I think he uses his length and his size to his advantage."

BEST OPENING MONTHS

Throughout last week, the Vikings were talking about Monday night's opener against the Green Bay Packers counting like 1½ games because of the divisional aspect. But how important is a strong start in September? According to the NFL, in the past 10 years, 17 teams have a combined record of .500 or better through the season's first month. Those 17 clubs have combined for 81 playoff appearances in those years, and accounted for all 10 Super Bowl championships over that period.

The Vikings are ninth on that list, going 19-15 in the opening month over the last 10 years, but their opponent on Sunday is even better – tops in the league, in fact. The Colts, who lost to Chicago on Sunday night, entered the season with a 24-9-0 record in the opening month over the last 10 years.

Green Bay is fifth in that designation, with a 22-13 record over the last 10 years in the opening month of the season.

Here are the top 10 teams:

Team: Record (Pct.)
Indianapolis: 24-9-0 (.727)
Seattle: 23-11 (.676)
Denver : 23-12 (.657)
Jacksonville: 21-12 (.647)
Green Bay: 22-13 (.629)
New England: 20-12 (.625)
Dallas: 18-14 (.563)
Miami: 18-14 (.563)
Minnesota: 19-15 (.559)
N.Y. Giants: 19-15-0 (.559)

RUNNING GAME GETS EASIER?

Adrian Peterson opened the season with a 103-yard performance against the Green Bay Packer while the Indianapolis Colts gave up 183 yards rushing to the Chicago Bears. Now the Colts will be without defensive tackle Ed Johnson, who has started every game of his career.

Colt general manager Bill Polian said Johnson "was arrested between midnight and 1 a.m. (Wednesday morning) and charged with speeding and possession of marijuana. Those charges have been filed, it is my understanding, and we are in the process right now of determining what course of action to take in respect to discipline. There will be discipline, the question is, ‘What is it?' We want to gather all the facts to make sure that what we're doing is correct within the confines of the NFL rules, the CBA and our own particular club rules."

"Ed will not play this week, for sure, so we'll make some plans and figure out what we're going to do," Colts coach Tony Dungy said a few hours before the Colts made the decision to release Johnson, which is expected to become official Thursday.

Johnson had seven tackles in Sunday's 29-13 loss to Chicago. It's not clear who will replace him in the lineup, but candidates include Darrell Reid, undrafted rookie Eric Foster, or Daniel Muir, who has only been with the team for 10 days. Muir was inactive for Sunday's game against the Bears. DE Raheem Brock could also move inside to take Johnson's spot, according to ColtPower.com.

NOTES

  • Green Bay punt returner Will Blackmon was honored as the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after his 76-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter of Monday night's win over the Vikings. That touchdown gave the Packers a 17-6 lead in their eventual 24-19 win.

    The touchdown was the third of Blackmon's career and his second on a punt return. Blackmon's previous two touchdowns came last year versus Oakland (Dec. 9, 2007) when he recovered a fumble in the end zone and returned a punt 57 yards for a score. It is Blackmon's second career Player of the Week Award. He was honored in Week 14 of last year for his two-touchdown performance against Oakland.

  • Besides Madieu Williams, all players were accounted for at the start of Wednesday's practice.

  • Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson continued to wear his knee brace for practice on Wednesday and, once again, was adjusting it before the team drills even started. But Jackson looked solid planting his foot and throwing during individual drills and fully participated in practice.

  • Running back Maurice Hicks was back at practice and didn't show many signs of his sprained foot while doing light work. He was limited in his practice participation.

  • Left tackle Artis Hicks was at practice but doing work on the side, lightly tapping a blocking bag and testing his elbow, which was supported by a brace and wrap. He was limited in practice.

  • Colts TE Dallas Clark (knee) did not practice on Wednesday, but he told the Indianapolis Star that he's still holding out hope for playing. DE Dwight Freeney (rested), WR Roy Hall (knee), Johnson (disciplinary) and G Mike Pollack (knee) did not practice. DB Kevlin Hayden (hamstring), DT Daniel Muir and TE Jacob Tamme were limited in practice. Center Jeff Saturday (knee) had full participation.


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