In the October contest between Tennessee and Indianapolis in the RCA Dome, 16 of Travis Henry's 19 carries where either up the middle or to the left side of their O-line. If that trend happens again this week, a key in-the-trench battle will be Titans OG Jacob Bell vs. Colts DT Raheem Brock.
The Titans like Bell's athleticism and versatility. He can play all four positions on the line if needed. Bell was drafted as an offensive tackle out of Miami (OH), but because of his finesse style and below 300-pound size, he seems better suited as an interior lineman in the NFL.
His intelligence might be his greatest asset. He takes smart angles and positioning to his blocks, rarely blowing an assignment.
Bell is explosive off the ball, knows how to get out of his stance and into position quickly. He's a fine trap and pull blocker who moves well in space and can reach linebackers to make plays at the second level.
However, Bell needs to add some bulk and strength. He has a tendency to get out-muscled at the point of attack and will be driven back by stronger defensive linemen. He's not a mauler.
This week Bell lines up against a defensive lineman cast from a similar mold. Colts DT Raheem Brock is not the kind of interior defensive lineman who will overpower his opponent on the offensive line with his strength very often. For Brock to be successful, he must be in one-on-one situations where his speed can dictate the matchup.
Although undersized for the DT position, Brock has been successful there because of his athleticism, interior speed, goods hands, and ability to adjust to blocking schemes. Brock knows how to use his hands to keep blockers off his lower body, and makes the necessary adjustments to counter the opposition's blocking strategies against him. Because of the size of the DT lining up next to him—Booger McFarland and the speed of the DE lining up on his other side—Dwight Freeney -- Raheem Brock usually ends up in one-on-one situations.
Even though Bell might not fit the textbook definition of a run mauler, Tennessee has little hesitancy to run behind him because he's such a smart, disciplined blocker. Given the fact that Tennessee had success running left in Week 5 against the Colts, why should the Colts expect anything different this week?
What makes this trench battle so fascinating are the similarities. Both men are noted for the explosiveness off the ball and ability to make sound in-game adjustments. Additionally, neither is known by his strength or ability to get much in-line push. So keep an eye on Henry and the direction of his runs this week. See if Tennessee repeats their Week 5 gameplan and decides to run or up the middle a majority of the time this week also. When you see that happen, locate Raheem Brock and ask yourself who is getting the better push and positioning in this match-up?
Colts Key Matchup: Brock vs Bell
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