Key Matchup: Brock vs Waters

Greg Talmage breaks down one of the key matchups in Saturday's game that will help determine how successful the Chiefs are in establishing their rushing attack and chewing up the clock.

Of Larry Johnson's 416 rush attempts, nearly 200 of them were run up-the-middle. By comparison, the next closest run direction was to the left-side at 58 attempts. So that tells you just how much Kansas City loves to run Johnson up the gut. Why so much interior running?

It's because Kansas City's interior trio of LG Brian Waters, OC Casey Wiegmann and RG Will Shields are amongst the best in the business. These three on Saturday will be looking to maul the Colts' defensive tackles off the ball and force the Colts' smaller back-end defenders to take on a hard-charging Larry Johnson at the second level.

One interior trench battle in particular that the Chiefs will be hoping to exploit is Pro Bowl Guard Brian Waters against undersized DT Raheem Brock. Most NFL scouts rank Waters along with Steve Hutchinson and Alan Faneca as the top 3 offensive guards in the game today. He is a mauling, physical run blocker, who plays with a mean streak and will dominate nearly any one-on-one match-up.

Chiefs OG Brian Waters (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
He makes strong initial contact and gets a good push off the snap. He has the strength to angle block and can create seams for Johnson. He's also able to use his strong upper body and hands to grab and control at the line of scrimmage. Waters' primary objective on each run play will be to push Brock off the line and establish a deeper seam.

Raheem Brock will be giving up considerable size and bulk to Waters, so it's imperative that he uses his quickness and active hands to counter Waters' off-the-snap pop. Brock is usually strong at the point of attack and does a nice job of not stay blocked after initial contact, but he's 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 match-up.

Given that Waters has a tendency to rely on his mauling ability more than technique, he will at times play a little stiff and too straight-legged. This is when Brock's speed and motor might be able to neutralize the matchup. But Brian Waters has the uncanny ability of being able to jolt defenders with his punch while staying square. That will give Brock all kinds of fits, because it counters his speed while also having the effect of anchoring down against him.

It'll be important to watch this match-up right off the snap. If Brock is getting blown of the blocks at contact, then it's going to be a long day. But if he's showing signs of free motion and shedding that initial contact by Waters, then good things should follow. Both of these guys use their hands well, so watch hand placement too -- that'll also tell you a lot early on. On paper this match-up looks like a real potential area of concern for Indianapolis. With that said, if Kansas City is having success exploiting this match-up then you've got to believe that DTs Dan Klecko and Darrell Reid will be called upon to see if either one of them can be more of a factor against this perennial Pro Bowler.

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