Linebacker Burning Questions Heading Into OTAs

Intro: Players return for work on Monday, April 17 with the start of the Colts offseason program. What are the burning questions at linebacker going into the 2017 offseason?

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INDIANAPOLIS –We are less than a week away from players flocking back to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center for work.

The Colts will start their nine-week offseason program on Monday, April 17.

Over the next week, Colts.com will take a look at the "Burning Questions" for all remaining position groups going into the 2017 offseason.

Here's a look at the linebacker burning questions heading into the team's offseason program:

**Where will the pass rushing come from in 2017?

**The Colts had 33 sacks in 2016, good for the 19th most in the NFL.

Of those 33.0 sacks, the Colts have just 11.5 coming back this season.

The names of the guys that compiled those 11.5 sacks are David Parry, T.Y. McGill, Akeem Ayers, Edwin Jackson, Hassan Ridgeway and Lavar Edwards.

Hence, the question above.

Even though the Colts weren't one of the better sacking teams in 2016, they still must replace 65 percent of their sack total from last year.

Jabaal Sheard (36.0 career sacks) and John Simon (10.0 career sacks) are the two most likely guys handling the edge rushing responsibility in 2017. These two could very well be starting together on their new team.

Defensive lineman Kendall Langford (7.0 sacks in 2015) and Henry Anderson (1.0 sack in 2015) should not be forgotten either as they return from injury plagued 2016 seasons.

The draft could also lend to the Colts adding a pure pass rusher, but Sheard and Simon will get the bulk of those passing down looks as expected full-time starters.

STAT TO NOTE: The Colts lost 21.5 of their 33.0 sacks from last season.**

How will the inside linebacker rotation look for the Colts this fall?**

Of all the position groups on the roster, this one might be the most up in the air heading into the offseason program.

D'Qwell Jackson, the team's signal caller for the last three seasons, is gone.

The Colts have a returning starter in Edwin Jackson (8 career starts). Antonio Morrison, a fourth-round pick from last year, took over when D'Qwell Jackson was suspended last December and got four starts to end the year. Morrison is also back.

In free agency, the Colts went out and signed Sean Spence. Known for his sideline-to-sideline speed and propensity to play on passing downs, Spence has started 19 games over the last three years.

At last month's League Meetings, Chuck Pagano acknowledged the wide-open look of the inside linebacker position right now.

How much the Colts use two natural inside linebackers is another storyline.

Remember, Clayton Geathers is a very attractive option to move down to the ILB-level when the Colts want more speed on the field.

STAT TO NOTE: Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison have combined for 12 career starts. Neither had started an NFL game before last season.**

Should a linebacker starter come from the 2017 Draft?**

This question applies to both the outside and inside spots.

Inside linebacker is probably the position with the better chance to find a Week One starter.

At outside, the Colts could spend a high draft pick but still use that player more situationally (i.e. as a third-down pass rusher).

The inside linebacker draft pick could crack the starting lineup before a combination of Spence/Geathers slide into the ILB spots when sub packages are used.

This position group has been totally revamped, with four 30-plus year old linebackers out the door from last season.

A youth infusion is occurring at linebacker and both the outside and inside spots might see that grow after the draft.

STAT TO NOTE: The Colts have signed four linebackers this offseason. [*

ICYMI: Quarterback Burning Questions*](http://www.colts.com/news/article-burningquestions/Quarterback-Burning-Questions-Heading-Into-OTAs/af458382-a8fc-4721-9bd4-73fe16dafc45)

The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.*

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