And he summed it up nicely saying "The fact is they're inviting both Robert and Dwight to go up the field, then handing the ball off, which eliminates them in the running game. We're going to have to do something to counter that."
Well, besides having to do a better job of reacting to runs even though the opposition shows a pass set, the defensive ends also have to deal with plays being run right at them. This week that will hold especially true for Robert Mathis.
|(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)|
Anderson uses his power base and strength to create movement in the run game. He has enough in-line quickness to get position, knows how to use his size to create a wall and can use his long arms to seal off on the back side. He does a solid job of getting off the snap and into defenders where he uses his frame and mass to engulf. Its no wonder Bengals Head coach Marvin Lewis has nicknamed this three-time Pro Bowler "The Rock."
Colts DE Robert Mathis knows coming into this game that Cincinnati is expecting to have great success running behind their powerful RT. He can expect Cincinnati to test this match-up early and often. If Anderson is able to get his hands and long arms on Mathis and use his mass and leverage to control the battle, it will be a long day in the trenches for Robert Mathis. And it'll be doubly tough if Mathis is also reading pass set on run counter actions and taking himself out of a lot of those plays by getting so far upfield. Mathis will need to use every move in his arsenal Monday night to keep Anderson from latching on and gaining control over him at the point of impact.
On pass plays, the Colts sack leader will look to use his speed and high motor to put pressure on Anderson's edges. Mathis beat Anderson for one sack in last season's contest in Cincinnati.
The Bengals RT is a good, diverse pass blocker. He has solid foot and lateral quickness, which helps him protect those edges against the speed rush. He plays with good balance and control, has a strong stab and punch, can anchor against power and recovers decently against double moves. Because he's a savvy veteran, Anderson plays with a keen awareness and reacts well to stunts or whatever diversion technique a defensive line coach might throw at him.
That said, Anderson is getting a little old and creaky. His age will show from time to time and cause him to get heavy-legged and too high a pad level at times. It's these rare opportunities that Mathis must watch for and exploit. They don't happen often, but when they do it can result in a sack on QB Carson Palmer or at minimum a pressure that could force him to make a costly mistake.