Much has been made of the matchup between Cowboys left tackle Flozell Adams and Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, but Minnesota's Williams Wall (Kevin and Pat) has also occupied the thoughts and prayers of Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett this week. My colleague and pal Kevin Seifert of NFC North blogging fame pointed out earlier this afternoon that the Vikings have the No. 1 rush-up-the-middle defense in the league. Oh, and guess who has the best up-the-middle rushing attack in the NFL according to ESPN Stats and Information? That would be the Dallas Cowboys.
I can't recall a playoff meeting that has featured two teams that are so evenly matched. And since I've been fascinated by Seifert's accounts of the Williams Wall, I reached out to former Packers, Eagles, Jaguars and Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus (now with 103.3 ESPN in Dallas) to find out more. Here's what he said about Kevin Williams:
"[Kevin] Williams plays the 3 technique over the guard and is a real handful to deal with not only because of his power but his outstanding quickness. One of Williams' best moves is his spin move where he takes the blocker to one side then quickly works the other way, all the time moving up the field. Williams will line up on either side, but will most likely see more action over left guard Kyle Kosier because he doesn’t have the mass of right guard Leonard Davis. Kosier did have his struggles as a one-on-one blocker with the powerful Albert Haynesworth."
So each team has an All-Pro defensive tackle (Kevin Williams and Jay Ratliff) and pass-rusher (Jared Allen and DeMarcus Ware). This has to be one of the most intriguing divisional playoff games in years. And the Beast will be there to bring you all the action.
And by the way, here is Broaddus' scouting report on Allen: "Allen is an interesting rusher because he doesn’t give the tackles much of a hitting surface. Allen really does a nice job of getting the corner by getting his shoulder past the blocker, then relentlessly chasing the ball. When Allen does get in trouble is when he misses his rush and takes the blocker down the middle. Allen is not a powerful player and if Flozell Adams can consistently set to make him rush down the middle, he could have a very good day. Just a side note: In years past, Adams has struggled when you give him help. There has been times where he is not quite sure where his help was in relation to the block and it has given him problems."