INDIANAPOLIS --- There's no doubt who the leader of the Colts defensive line is, considering Kendall Langford has at least four more years experience than every other player in the room.
Langford is in his 8th NFL season. Every other Colts defensive lineman is in their first or second year in the league, except Billy Winn, who is in his 4th.
"We make a joke. We call it 'Kendall and Kids', since he's the oldest one in the room," said second-year defensive lineman Zach Kerr. "We're all so young. That's the big bro right there."
Langford has been working overtime with the kids this week, as three (Billy Winn, Zach Kerr, and T.Y. McGill) are getting ready to help absorb the snaps left behind by rookie Henry Anderson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last game against Denver.
"There's not more stress this week than last week," said Winn. "We take great pride in making sure we're set, and we're sound."
"We're like a sponge. That's all we've been doing is trying to soak up as much of the defense, as much technique as we can learn from the guys that we watch on film," said Kerr. "Kendall probably helps me the most mentally...there's only so much somebody can really tell you, but getting you to understand what they're trying to tell you. That's what Kendall does a good job of, and like I said, I'm glad to have him around."
Kerr and the others are glad to have Langford around this week in particular, not just with more playing time on the horizon, but with the NFL's leader in scrimmage yards per game coming as the first test for Anderson's replacements. Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is averaging 126.8 yards from scrimmage per game.
"He runs hard," said rookie nose tackle David Parry. "He's really shifty. He's always looking for the hole. He gets up field, puts his foot in the ground and gets vertical."
Freeman is 3rd in the NFL in rushing yards with 721, behind only Vikings RB Adrian Peterson and Cardinals RB Chris Johnson. That's on pace to finish with 1282 yards rushing this season.
"He's just an explosive player," said Winn, who was on the same team as Atlanta's offensive coordinator during his time in Cleveland. "We had (offensive coordinator) Kyle Shanahan out there in Cleveland. I know a little what he's about and what he likes to do...We have our hands full for sure."
So what is it about Shanahan's system that is so conducive to a successful running game? Freeman is just his latest running back to emerge onto the NFL scene. Before Freeman, there was Arian Foster in Houston and Alfred Morris in Washington, an undrafted player and 6th round pick, respectively, who were even less touted than Freeman, who was picked in the 4th round in 2014.
"Kyle's offense, he just has so many different sets and options that he's able to throw at you," said Winn. "He's got an abundant amount of plays in his playbook. It's just a great arsenal that he has for him. It makes defenses think for sure. Once you get a defense thinking, that's when they start making mistakes."
So what's the goal Sunday?
"As long as we stay squared away and everybody knows their assignment and job, it'll definitely be a good game," said Winn
The kids (and Kendall) are ready.