Key Matchup: Ryan Diem vs Willie McGinest

Greg Talmage points out why -- based on the play call -- both right offensive tackle Ryan Diem and outside linebacker Willie McGinest are likely to win some and lose some in their key matchup on Monday night.

Most observers agree that Ryan Diem is a far better run blocker than pass blocker. This has been highlighted recently when Diem struggled with the savvy veteran Leonard Little in the Monday Night contest against St. Louis. And he even had some pass-blocking lapses against Houston's zone blitzing 3-4 scheme. 

The task doesn't get any easier this weekend for the Colts' right tackle. New England outside linebacker Willie McGinest is a pass-rushing linebacker who will frequently drop down from his linebacker spot to the left side of the D-line to rush the passer.

Ryan Diem does get a good knee bend, plays with a sound base, and rarely gives ground to bull-rushers when in pass protection. When shielding his quarterback, the key to success for Diem is to use his size to latch on and fully engulf. The rushing linemen with good double moves and the ability to work outside-in have the most success against him. Players like Willie McGinest.

The Patriots will want to avoid putting McGinest on the line when the Colts run the ball. Here, Diem will have a huge advantage. McGinest isn't able to assume the role of a stout, every-down defensive end and appears to be most uncomfortable when opposing teams run right at him. Diem is a massive road-grader, who has the upper body strength to maintain separation. He takes excellent angles to his blocks, plays with a good motor and is impossible to move once he's in position.

McGinest features outstanding recognition skills and can turn and run with a back or drop into a zone. He plays with excellent leverage and has great short-area explosiveness. He sheds at the point of attack well and does a fine job of stretching out a play and letting the pursuit of the defense catch up while protecting his ground. He rarely gets fooled on reverses and screens.

So while McGinest is at his best as a pass rusher and struggles as a run-stopper, Diem is a far better run blocker than pass blocker. This contrast should make for an intriguing match-up on Monday Night.

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