Session breaking through
January, 7, 2010
By Paul Kuharsky | ESPN.com
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesClint Session emerged this season as one of the Colts' steadiest defenders, racking up 104 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble.It’s easy to be anonymous on the Colts' defense.
You’ve got pass-rushers extraordinaire Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. You’ve got oft-injured spark-plug strong safety Bob Sanders, who played in only two games this year and is on IR.
And to many folks, you’ve got everyone else.
It’s a star-studded team with Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Freeney, Mathis, Jeff Saturday and the clutch Adam Vinatieri, the kicker who’s been injured much of the season.
Perhaps that’s about the saturation point. And perhaps that’s a good thing when it comes to a player such as Clint Session, the third-year linebacker in his first season on the weak side.
In many ways, he’s a textbook Colt.
Indianapolis drafted him in the fourth round in 2007 out of Pitt and he was a guy that fit their linebacking mold: not especially big, but with the kind of speed to cover ground and run with a top tight end and with the physicality to deliver big pops.
Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. was assistant recruiting coordinator at Pitt while Session played for the Panthers.
“And I watched him in Miami as a high school player,” Williamson said. “Very intense, fast and extremely explosive. He is a perfect fit for Indy's run and hit defense. This year, I think he just adjusted to the speed of the NFL game and with reading his assignment.”
Sessions was so productive in the team’s road win at Houston and home win over Tennessee that the Colts brought him to the postgame interview podium.
He’s hardly a media darling. I wouldn’t call him shy. Although he's willing, he strikes me as more interested in doing his work than talking about it.
He ranks third on the Colts with 104 tackles and had two picks, a forced fumble and half a sack this season.
And he’s worked well with middle linebacker Gary Brackett and strongside 'backers Tyjuan Hagler and Philip Wheeler, a group that blitzed much more often this season under new defensive coordinator Larry Coyer.
His production was peaking as the regular season slowed for Indianapolis. In the five games before the Colts shut things down in the third quarter of the Week 16 game against the Jets, he had four games with double digit tackles and 57 tackles total.
An AFC personnel man I spoke to this week praised Session as a pass-rusher and coverage defender.
“I thought he really came on. He’s a heck of a young player,” the personnel man said. “He’s got good instincts. He’s physical. He’s a good blitzer, he times his blitzes out. He’s a short, compact guy.
“He and Brackett, you can barely see the guys they are so short and compact and quick and explosive. I think that tandem has really solidified their linebacking corps. He’s done a really good job for them.”
The Colts don’t play again until a week from Saturday night. If Session does in the playoffs what he did during the regular season, more recognition will come. The Colts’ roll call of stars could have no choice but to grow by one.
14:28 1st Qtr Cincinnati 0 Pittsburgh 0 Final Cleveland 10 Baltimore 20 Final Dallas 44 Washington 17 Final Indianapolis 27 Tennessee 10 Final Jacksonville 17 Houston 23 Final San Diego 7 Kansas City 19 Final New York 37 Miami 24 Final Chicago 9 Minnesota 13 Final Buffalo 17 New England 9 Final Philadelphia 34 New York 26 Final New Orleans 23 Tampa Bay 20 Final Carolina 34 Atlanta 3 Final Detroit 20 Green Bay 30 Final Oakland 14 Denver 47 Final Arizona 17 San Francisco 20 Final St. Louis 6 Seattle 20