Colts Key Matchup: Brackett vs Young

How the Colts choose to use Gary Brackett this Sunday should play a huge factor in whether Titans quarterback Vince Young is better able to attack the Indianapolis' defense with his arm or his legs. Greg Talmage breaks down this key matchup...

Titans Quarterback Vince Young is a threat to take off at any moment. If he sees an opening or things start to breakdown around him, the rookie QB trusts his feet to get him the necessary yards or to get him out of trouble. This season the former University of Texas sensation has rushed for a total of 294 yards, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. And he's coming off his best rushing game of the season. Young took off 10 times for 69 yards last week, including one huge scramble on fourth-and-ten that kept the Titans' game-tying drive alive. In the first meeting with the Colts this season at the RCA Dome, Young rushed for 43 yards on 4 carries, including a 19-yard touchdown run.

How do you slow down Vince Young? Colts MLB Gary Brackett talked about this very thing in an interview with ColtPower this week.

"Vince Young's a very athletic guy. He can make plays with his legs," Brackett said. "We just have to limit him. He's a guy who can scramble and hurt you, so when he's out in the open field we have to treat him like a running back and get him down."

It's an observation that in particular applies directly to Gary Brackett because on several occasions he will be asked to "spy" the fleet-footed QB.

Tennessee likes the potential mismatch problems that even the threat of running Young can create. For example, if the MLB has to "spy" that means he's not dropping very deep into coverage because he has to keep on eye on the QB. So that normal Cover 2 zone responsibility will either have to be manned by a safety, thus leaving an outside receiver in single coverage or that middle part of the zone will be left open leaving a bigger soft spot for a tight end or slot receiver to exploit. The key here for Indianapolis is to get pressure on Young before he can take advantage of these possible "soft spots" and mismatches.

Brackett is not called on to "spy" too often. So it's integral that he stay disciplined in his positioning and read his keys properly. Getting too far upfield or misdiagnosing a play could be the difference between a 5-yard run and a demoralizing 25-yard gain.

When Young does decide to tuck it, Gary Brackett has the sideline-to-sideline speed necessary to keep the mobile QB in his sights. But if the Titans interior line is having success getting up to the second level and Brackett has to take on an array of blockers in his pursuit of a scrambling Young, it will cause problems for Indianapolis. Brackett shows good initial pop when taking on blockers; speed though is his strength -- not shedding blockers.

This should be a very intriguing mental and physical matchup between the two leaders of their respective units.


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