Saturday, October 17, 2009
What to expect this weekend: AFC South QBs
By Paul Kuharsky
Posted by Scouts Inc.’s Matt Williamson
What to expect from AFC South QBs this weekend:
Jacksonville’s David Garrard: Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo is known for bringing pressure and frankly, St. Louis has nothing to lose. Garrard should expect a steady diet of blitzes. In turn, Mike Sims-Walker could draw single coverage, usually from Ron Bartell, who is one of the most underrated corners in the league. Chris Long is one player to watch. He has been far from spectacular since being selected No. 2 in the 2008 draft, but has a similar skill set to the Giants' Justin Tuck, Spagnuolo's wild-card player with his former team. Long could line up in a variety of spots on the defensive front.
Garrard was pummeled in Week 5 in Seattle. This isn't as tough of a matchup, but Jacksonville's rookie tackles could use some help. Draws and screen passes to Maurice Jones-Drew could be a good remedy. Garrard does certainly tend to play better at home and veteran wide receiver Torry Holt might have a little something extra for his former team, but Garrard's season has been a roller coaster thus far.
Tennessee’s Kerry Collins: Collins was taken out of Week 5's blowout loss to the Colts for Vince Young and that certainly could occur once again this week, although Jeff Fisher and the Tennessee decision-makers probably already know deep down that Young is not the long-term answer at quarterback. While Collins is in the game, the Patriots will probably stack the box on early downs in order to best defend the run. However, by doing so, the Patriots are vulnerable to the pass and this is a defense that has struggled against the pass over the last two weeks.
Thought of mostly as a 3-4 scheme, New England is also incorporating quite a bit of 4-3 this season. By doing so, they put two massive bodies in the middle of the field, allowing star-in-the-making middle linebacker Jarod Mayo a lot of room to run and hit. Collins' wide receivers should see plenty of one-on-one coverage on the perimeter, an area he could potentially exploit with his big arm. Also, New England is not an elite pass-rushing defense and the Titans' excellent pair of offensive tackles has a distinct advantage over the Patriots edge pass rushers. Collins might also find matchups to his liking against New England's heavier 3-4 linebackers against the dynamic Chris Johnson.
Johnson only touched the ball 11 times last week, which is criminal. But, most importantly, this all sounds favorable on paper, but this offense and this Titans' team as a whole simply are not executing to their capabilities. If Tom Brady and the Patriots passing game exploits Tennessee's awful pass defense and injury riddled secondary, Bill Belichick will have Collins right where he wants him.
Houston’s Matt Schaub: The Bengals have two former first-round selections in up-and-coming Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph. Hall has been exceptional against No. 1 wideouts this year. Both are very capable making big plays, but they also tend to play a lot of off coverage. When Schaub sees off coverage against Andre Johnson on early downs, he would be smart to audible into a one-step drop and get the ball out very quickly to his stud receiver. From there, Johnson should consistently put this offense in favorable down-and-distance situations and of course, there is also a chance of Johnson breaking a big play with his after-the-catch skills.
The Bengals have also allowed a plethora of long completions. But, Schaub should not expect a lot of help from his running game this week. Steve Slaton is struggling and the Bengals are more physical at the line of scrimmage. They boast a very good run defense. That should also eliminate the play-action game.
Also working against Schaub is Cincinnati's power run game led by Cedric Benson. Houston's defense also is at a physical disadvantage this week and I fully expect the Bengals to control the time-of-possession battle, which of course, keeps Schaub and Johnson on the sidelines.
Lastly, Antwan Odom could present problems as an edge pass rusher as well. He is playing at a high level this year and Schaub has questionable pocket presence and his ability to elude the rush is very average. Only three defenses have more sacks than the Bengals this year.