Colts Key Matchup: Glenn vs Taylor

A pair of elite athletes at their respective positions match up at the RCA Dome on Sunday. Greg Talmage breaks down the battle between Colts OT Tarik Glenn and Dolphins DE Jason Taylor.

It will be a battle between two Pro-bowlers Sunday on the left side of the Colts offensive line. Dolphins DE Jason Taylor is enjoying one of his most complete seasons as a professional. With 14 sacks, 9 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions -- both returned for touchdowns -- it's no wonder why he is a leading contender for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. His counterpart on Sunday, Tarik Glenn, has been a model of consistency protecting Peyton Manning's blindside and will be playing in his second consecutive Pro Bowl in February.

One of the main objectives for the Dolphins defense this week will be to keep the Colts from getting into a rhythm offensively. What's the best way to do that? Get pressure on Peyton Manning. Since Taylor is far and away Miami's top pass-rushing threat, he will be relied on to create a lot of that pressure. Taylor will move around looking for mismatches, so besides lining up against Glenn, he will also see significant action against RT Ryan Diem.

Taylor is an extremely athletic, explosive and versatile defensive end. His great speed and quickness off the edge is his best asset. He has a very good burst off the ball and initial quickness, which allows him to get on a blocker's edge and close quickly. He shows a good combination of pass-rush moves and a knack for separating the ball from quarterbacks when coming off the back side.

Miami's Wes Walker (83) in training camp with QB Daunte Culpepper (Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
Besides using his speed to beat bigger and stronger offensive tackles, Taylor also knows how to use his strong hands and arms to separate from blocks and to keep blockers from locking on. This, in particular, has helped him when defending the run. He has become a good run defender by pursuing plays, using his speed to penetrate inside, and using his arms to shed blockers.

Those who have had success against Glenn have done so by using their speed to get into his upper body quickly, thus making it difficult for Tarik to anchor quickly. Although, for a lineman with Glenn's size and mass, he's actually pretty nimble on his feet. He's agile, moves well, and can recover when beaten off the snap. That's very important when lining up against someone like Jason Taylor.

Another thing to watch out for is that against speed rushers, Glenn also has a tendency to get beat to his outside shoulder at times. He's occasionally guilty of being too patient in pass protection and as a result will struggle to cut down pass rush angles. But even when beaten to the outside, he still doesn't give up many sacks and is rarely run over or even ran-by.

Of the Colts two starting offensive tackles, it's Ryan Diem who has the most trouble with speed. Because of that, don't be surprised to see Taylor moving over to that end often. This, though, gets Taylor out of Manning's blindside -- and its from the blindside where most of Taylor's forced fumbles or created turnovers have come. No matter where he lines up, look for the Colts to scheme for Taylor using an extra blocker often to chip or double-team him on pass plays.

This should be an elite battle between two of the very best at their respective positions.

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