The cornerstone of Jacksonville's defense are the two beasts in the middle of their defensive
line -- Marcus Stroud and John Henderson. While LDT Marcus Stroud has been bothered by lingering injuries, he is getting healthier every week and should require plenty of double-team attention from
right guard Jake Scott and center Jeff Saturday. If that happens, RDT John Henderson will have the opportunity to become a disruptive force in his one-on-one match-up against
left guard Ryan Lilja.
This is Jacksonville's goal. They want one of their defensive tackles to consume two blockers, so that the other one can exploit a one-on-one matchup. Moreover, if the Colts are forced to keep Jeff Saturday back to help with either Stroud or Henderson, it also means that he isn't getting up to block linebackers at the 2nd level. This in turn gives their linebackers move space and freedom to make plays sideline to sideline.
Jake Scott is a tall offensive lineman with solid size potential, but he currently has a very lean frame and lacks the bulk to consistently hold up inside. His feet and quickness are his greatest strength. He gets off the snap well, shows solid quickness in-line and gets into defenders quickly. He shows solid lateral mobility and range. He can slide his feet and protect his edges well against quicker defensive tackles. However, his biggest weakness is his overall play strength. The guy sometimes will still get tossed around by big stronger opponents and pushed back into his quarterback. It is the Marcus Stroud type of defensive tackles that give him the most trouble. That's why we will likely see him get plenty of help from Jeff Saturday.
Marcus Stroud has developed into a Pro-Bowl defensive tackle. He uses his quickness to get into blockers, shoots gaps in a disruptive fashion, is stout against the run and can consistently hold up at the point of attack against double teams. Offensive lineman struggle to consistently keep him under control because he sheds well and shows the flexibility to split double teams. And while he is a dominating player, the knock on him is that he has an inconsistent motor and takes the easy way out too often.
In the first meeting between Scott and Stroud back in September, the interior line struggled. Jacksonville had success getting consistent pressure up the middle most of the afternoon. However, Saturday was still working himself back into game condition after missing the entire preseason. And the play of Scott and Lilja has improved since Week 2. So I expect better play by the interior line this week. Still, the Scott versus Stroud matchup is a potential problem for Indianapolis, especially when the blocking scheme puts Scott one-on-one against Stroud.