WESTFIELD, Ind. - Coming off a 2022 season where he set the new Colts' single-season tackle record (167), linebacker Zaire Franklin still sees big things for himself and the defense ahead of the new campaign.
Following Wednesday's joint practice with the Bears, he spoke with the hosts of Training Camp Daily about not only the potential of the defense but what he and fellow linebacker Shaquille Leonard can do together.
"It's just his understanding of the game," Franklin said. "Like I said, as a guy who's played so much ball, he's out there, he's calling plays out, I'm calling plays out. He's telling me to watch out for this, I'm telling him to watch out for this. It's like me and him – it's like two quarterbacks out there."
Listen to Zaire Franklin's full interview with Matt Taylor, Jeffrey Gorman and Casey Vallier as well as other takeaways from the first joint practice with the Chicago Bears on the Training Camp Daily Podcast, which you can listen to on:
Franklin's assertion comes from the dominance the pair has displayed when they are both healthy.
While Franklin has cemented himself as a tackling machine, Leonard has been one of the best players in the league when it comes to taking the ball away.
Through the first five seasons of his career, Leonard has forced 17 fumbles, recovered six and has picked off 12 passes.
"I told him if he punches it out, I'll scoop it [the ball] don't worry about it," Franklin said. "I already know it's coming. So, having a guy like that's just so dynamic at taking the ball away – so dynamic at just making plays and seeing plays before him. It's different things - I told him before, how he sees the game, we just see it in different ways."
The versatility that the pair share has made them some of the most entertaining players to watch throughout training camp practices.
Now if the two can keep that up once the regular season rolls around, Franklin said he thinks they can really make some waves.
"I think our games just complementing each other and constantly playing off each other, I think it just gives us – I think it's gonna be special," Franklin said. "I think we're going to be the best duo in the league, no question."