After giving up 41 sacks last season, the Cleveland Browns made some wholesale changes to their offensive line. In the off-season, they signed free-agent guards Joe Andruzzi of New England and Cosey Coleman from Tampa Bay. And they added a third new starter to the offensive with the addition of left tackle LJ Shelton following his release from Arizona.
While that many changes at once can be a gamble, it's paid off as Cleveland has seen an immediate improvement. The Browns have not allowed a sack yet this season, and the last time they had back-to-back games without allowing a sack was 1992.
In their NFL season preview, Sports Illustrated said that there may not be a tougher guy in the league than Joe Andruzzi. Coming from New England, LG Joe Andruzzi is familiar with the Colts and the Colts are familiar with him. Andruzzi is a very disciplined workhorse. He will not get penalized often and finishes his blocks well.
Run-blocking is his strength. He knows how to use his lower body to get leverage and keep his legs driving. This gives him excellent push and movement in the
running game. He's more of a driver than a mauler though. He does not blow-up many opposing defensive linemen. As a pass blocker, he has good size and holds his ground, but lacks ideal initial quickness. So he will struggle at times against explosive one-gap defenders.
Given this information it will be interesting to watch how Andruzzi fares against Corey Simon as compared to Larry Tripplett (if available) or Raheem Brock when they rotate in.
Corey Simon is working himself back into game shape after missing training camp and the entire preseason. For Indianapolis, just the mere presence of Simon on the D-line has been a tremendous help, especially for whichever tackle is lining up next to him.
Case in point: Larry Tripplett (two sacks in Week 1) and Montae Reagor (three sacks last week) who both posted single-game career highs. Even though he's playing at his heaviest weight ever, Simon is still a much better athlete than he looks. He constantly keeps his feet moving and stays active. Opposing linemen must be careful not to let up against him. He also still moves and changes direction well in the short area. This combined with his excellent instincts gives him the ability to quickly locate the ball. The extra weight has slowed Simons initial quickness a bit, but Colt fans should start to see that again as he plays himself back into shape.
This is a battle of workhorses. Both are maximum effort guys with tremendous work ethic. Simon refuses to stop pushing and penetrating while Andruzzi keeps those legs driving. This should be a classic case of the unstoppable force versus the immovable object. Don't miss this match up.
Key Matchup: Corey Simon vs Joe Andruzzi
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