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FREE AGENTS SPOTLIGHT: ERIK WALDEN

Posted Mar 18, 2013

Last year against the Colts, then Green Bay outside linebacker Erik Walden had one of his best games of the season. This year Walden will be on the opposite sideline, looking to become a household name around the NFL

INDIANAPOLIS – The time is now for Erik Walden.

 

Tired of spot-duty action and bouncing around NFL teams, Walden comes to Indianapolis craving an opportunity to become ‘the’ guy.

 

“I feel like it is definitely the perfect time,” Walden said of the transition to the Colts. “I felt like my role was a little held back in Green Bay, always was like a little tag along. Now, I’m walking taller where I can just take over and take charge and be the man. That’s what I plan on doing.”

 

For the last two and a half seasons, Walden has been opposite All-Pro outside linebacker Clay Matthews in Green Bay.

 

While Walden started 15 games in 2011, his starts dwindled to nine contests this past year after the Packers drafted USC’s Nick Perry in the first round last April.

 

Playing on the outside of 3-4 defenses is where Walden thrives and he knows what needs to follow every time he heads out onto the field.

 

“There’s really no room for you if you’re not productive and making game-changing plays,” Walden said.

 

So what exactly are Colts fans going to see when Walden makes his debut for the horseshoe?

 

“You’re getting an aggressive, high-motor guy that’s passionate and holds himself to a high standard,” Walden said.

 

“He’s going to make sure he’s prepared every week and be the best player he can be but also be productive and disruptive. Just week-in and week-out making plays, impact plays. Not just solid plays but impact plays, game-changing plays.”

 

Walden points to the ‘impact plays’ as a strong aspect of his game but Grigson chose to look at another vital aspect of a 3-4 outside linebacker.

 

‘Setting the edge’ is a term that Colts fans have heard Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano use frequently over the past year when describing edge players in the new defensive scheme.

 

“In a 3-4 that’s what your outside linebackers have to do and this guy (Walden) does it in the textbook way,” Grigson said. “He jolts people’s heads back on contact and he’s violent with his hands and he definitely knows how to set the edge. His motor never stops. So really excited about him.”

 

At the age of 27, Walden welcomes the extra attention he will undoubtedly receive as a free agent at the same position as the departing Dwight Freeney.

 

The scheme in Indianapolis is hoping to showcase the type of player Walden is and he relishes the chance to thrive in a new environment.

 

“That’s kind of the pressure and the accountability I’m putting on myself to just raise your level of play to be better, not just be complacent and satisfied, be the best player you can be week-in and week-out and make sure your production is there and you’re holding yourself accountable and not letting your teammates down,” Walden said.

 

“Being able to leave one great organization and come to another with a franchise quarterback and a first class organization, it’s kind of a no brainer for me.”

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