Feature matchups in Week 2 (part 1-2)

<u>Chargers Lead Blockers vs. the Texans 4-3 Defense</u><br></br> It is the job of the 5 offensive linemen to block the 3 linemen and 2 of the linebackers that come in on a rushing play. The TE will then take the other linebacker and the FB or another TE gets the last LB.

The problem here is disguised coverage. 3 linemen will rush the point of attack, but depending on the down and package the defense has sent in, up to 4 linebackers could push the point of attack. This leads to mismatches and blown coverages by the offensive line.

Jamie Sharper is poised to emerge from the shadows of Ray Lewis and the key to this defense. Sharper played 5 seasons with Baltimore before coming to Houston. Last year he posted career highs in tackles (134) and sacks (6) but was not retained by the Ravens. He is emerging into one of the elite linebackers in the game. Last week vs. the Cowboys he led the Houston LBs in tackles and was a dominant force on the field. Since Sharper is the MLB he gets to roam and will look to shoot the gaps created by the Defensive Linemen in front of him. That leaves either a slow Offensive Linemen or the FB to take him out of the play. Sharper is extremely quick and can shed blocks or tackle in the midst of being blocked. How well he can be contained will go a along way in determining the fate of the Charger running game. Ladainian Tomlinson has the job of seeing holes and attacking but if the lead blockers fail to seal that hole Sharper could be in for a career game.

Another factor here is Seth Payne who plays right over the center as the nose guard. Cory Raymer is used to not having a defensive linemen right over him, meaning he can choose to block to the right or left depending on the run scheme. Now Raymer is forced to block Payne most of the game. Occasionally he will pull to run a sweep but if the guard does not get over in time, Payne can quickly shoot the hole created and disrupt the play before it develops. Payne led the Texans team in tackles with 12 last week against the Cowboys.

Not many teams deploy the 4-3 defense and most plays are designed against the 3-4. Cam Cameron will have to disguise his offensive packages to have success much as Dom Capers will disguise his defensive coverages. The offensive line will have to play with the same intensity as it did last week to have another successful game.

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