Key Matchup: Raheem Brock vs. Todd Wade

In his first key matchup of the week, Greg Talmage compares the skills of the versatile Raheem Brock who will square off against the Texans' Todd Wade.

Last week the New England Patriots made the decision to focus extra blockers on DE Dwight Freeney and DT Corey Simon. As a result, LE Raheem Brock found himself in one-on-one situations all night. Brock took full advantage of the blocking situation and was in the backfield and Tom Brady's face frequently.

The Colts love Raheem Brock's versatility. He can play the base LDE on early downs and is a very good pass rusher when moved inside on passing downs. Brock is able to succeed at both DE and DT because of his goods hands and ability to adjust to blocking schemes. Specifically, he knows how to use his hands to keep blockers off his lower body and will make the necessary adjustments to counter the opposition's blocking strategies against him. Brock knows he is not going to outmuscle many offensive linemen, so he uses his speed and brains to beat them.

Like most of his teammates on the Colts defensive line, it's speed over size for Raheem. So he will struggle when offensive tackles are able to get their hands on him and drive. But if a team is going to run right at a Colts defensive end, it's actually wiser to run at Freeney instead of Brock. He keeps good leverage against the outside run and is less likely to run himself out of plays.

On Sunday when he lines up as the base LDE, Raheem Brock will find himself across from right tackle Todd Wade. At 6'8, Wade has an excellent frame for an OT, but will play very stiff at times. His stiffness causes him to get his shoulders turned and give up angles to the quarterback. This is'nt a good thing when lining up across from speed guys like Raheem Brock and Robert Mathis.

Wade also has a tendency to give too much ground to bull-rushers and as a result will get out-leveraged. He'll also make the mistake of taking too big of a wind-up on his initial punch, so he's slow to get adequate hand placement. Getting good hand placement is essential against Brock, because it's something he counters well. If Brock is able to keep Wade's hands off of him and doesn't permit the big OT from walling him off against the run, he should have another solid performance this week.

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