Key Matchup: Marlin Jackson vs. Braylon Edwards

These former teammates had to have this Sunday circled on their calendars. It will be an odd reunion for Marlin Jackson and Braylon Edwards as each sees their friend wearing the colors of the enemy in the RCA Dome.

?"We know each other like the back of our hands," Colts cornerback Marlin Jackson says at Colts.com about defending Braylon Edwards. "I know how he plays and he knows how I play."

I must say as a fan of Big 10 college football, this is the match-up I find the most intriguing this week. When Marlin Jackson steps to the line on Sunday and looks into the eyes of the man standing directly opposite him, he?ll be staring at his former college teammate and friend Braylon Edwards. From their days going head-to-head on the practice fields of the University of Michigan, more than just a bit familiarity exists between these two.

Marlin Jackson saw the field for the first time in a month when he played last week against Jacksonville. The Colts are breaking the rookie in slowly as their slot corner. Given Marlin?'s physical nature and mentality, putting him on the slot receiver makes sense. He?s a big, physical corner, who is not afraid to get in receivers? faces and bump at the line. He likes to use his hands to dictate routes and alter timing. He does, however, have a gambling nature, especially when in one-on-one coverage. But gambling one-on-one against Braylon Edwards is a risky proposition. Just ask Packers' corner Joey Thomas, who was burned for an 80 yard touchdown last week by him.

Braylon Edwards is also a big, physical type, who is at his best against man coverage. He gets off the line and down the field quick, boxes out opponents with his frame, and easily makes receptions in a crowd. Opposing corners must be careful when pressing Edwards. With his excellent combination of size, speed and strength, he can easily beat jams at the line of scrimmage. His size and his ability to use his body to create separation also makes him a terrific red-zone target.

Edwards has good acceleration in the open field and is not afraid to lower his shoulder to run over defensive backs. The knock on him is that he has a tendency to lose focus -- and as a result gets a little sloppy from time to time. The opportunity to line-up against his old college teammate, though, will likely keep him focused this week.

The Cleveland pass offense is predicated on the idea of getting the ball out quickly. So you will see a lot of quick 3 or 5 steps drops from quarterback Trent Dilfer. Given Edward's size and ability to get separation at the line, don't be surprised to see several of these quick passes thrown in his direction. Jackson needs to be careful here. Because if Braylon gets by you. He is by you.


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