Greg decided to start warming up for this season with an abridged version of his columns, providing you with a brief look at some key matchups for tonight's preseason game against Seattle.
First-team matchups to watch when the Colts have the ball:
TE Dallas Clark vs. SLB Julian Peterson: Seattle is excited about the addition of Julian Peterson and he's excited to be out of San Francisco and playing for a winner. Peterson is one of those rare linebackers who can both rush the passer and drop into coverage. If he's able to cover Dallas Clark downfield without any type of help over the top, that will allow the Seahawks' safeties more freedom to help their corners or even cheat into the box.WR Marvin Harrison vs. CB Kelly Jennings/Kelly Herndon: Kelly Herndon and rookie Kelly Jennings are in a real battle for the starting left cornerback spot, so expect each to see action opposite Marvin Harrison. If one has more success than the other against a Pro-Bowler like Harrison, that will go a long way in establishing a true front-runner in this position battle.
Both of these corners are battling and eager to impress, so Manning and Harrison might be able to catch either or both trying to do too much or being too confident at the line. That's the type of matchup situation where Harrison's precise route-running and mental connection with his quarterback could lead to a long completion downfield.
First-team matchups to watch when the Seahawks have the ball: CB Marlin Jackson vs. WR Bobby Engram: After what observers and those close to the Colts believe has been a very good training camp for Marlin Jackson to date, the second-year corner failed to impress in the preseason opener. Missed tackles, penalties, bad positioning and consistently trying to play too soft a zone marred Jackson's performance. He looked very tentative out there, almost as if he was trying not to make a mistake instead of doing what comes naturally to him. Thankfully, that's why they have a preseason. But if Marlin Jackson wants the inside track for the right cornerback position, the Rose-Hulman training camp Marlin better show up on Sunday against Seattle in the RCA Dome -- not the one we saw against the Rams.
DT Raheem Brock vs. LG Floyd Womack: Playing every down from the defensive tackle position is brand new territory for Raheem Brock -- and it showed frequently last Thursday against St. Louis. Brock had trouble creating any kind of pressure, got pushed around a bit and never required a double-team. As a result, St. Louis linemen were able to get to the second-level quickly to block linebackers and defensive backs, creating nice running lanes through the middle of the field.
In fairness to Brock, he was missing some key help against the Rams. He didn't have Dwight Freeney to his outside or the combination of Corey Simon/Montae Reagor to the inside. Things will be a lot easier for Brock when Freeney is on the edge causing all kinds of headaches for the opposition's left-side and Simon/Reagor are there consuming additional blockers.
The man who'll line up against Brock on Sunday night, Floyd Womack, has been called upon to fill some big shoes as the new replacement for Pro Bowler Steve Hutchinson. Womack needs a strong preseason because he is not a lock to start the Seahawks' opener in Detroit. If he struggles and second-year lineman Chris Spencer or rookie Rob Sims out of Ohio State steps up, Womack just might be on the outside looking in. Womack has not been helped by the fact that he's been slowed by a hamstring strain this camp.