All Manning Era Team: Linebackers

All Manning Era Team: We take a look at the greatest single seasons by position in the Peyton Manning Era (1998-2011).  Today, we look at the:

 Linebackers:

 Again, just as with the defensive line, I am using a 4-3 defense for this list, as that is what the Colts ran for much of the Manning era.  Therefore, 3 linebackers made this list.

I initially had Pat Angerer’s 2011 season as part of this team.  But I did not know whether to include that season or not, but it ended up being a non-issue.  I found 3 other seasons that were clearly better.

 The first was Mike Peterson in 2000.  Peterson was a very consistent contributor to Manning’s early Colts teams, and in 2000 he was simply spectacular.  He notched 159 tackles, forced 1 fumble, picked off 2 passes and batted down 5 passes.  He was all over the field and on a team that was not great defensively, he was great.

 The second season on this list is David Thornton’s 2003 season. Thornton was another great linebacker in Indy for years and his 2003 season was the best. Thornton made 145 tackles, got a sack and 2 picks to go along with 5 pass deflections. 

 Another member ofThornton’s defense during the mid-2000’s was Cato June.  In 2006, June’s final with the Colts and their super bowl championship, June was the leader of the Colts defense (Thornton had left after the 2005 season).  He had 143 tackles, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions and 4 pass deflections.  

These three men were arguably the three greatest linebackers of the Peyton Manning Era, and they had the three greatest seasons during the span as well.

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About Josh Wilson
Follow Josh on twitter @jwilsonWL, on Facebook at the Operation: Freedom page, or you can reach him by email at operation.freedom@yahoo.com.

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