Five to Watch: Colts versus Jaguars

Brad Keller points out the five players you'll want to keep a close eye on during Monday night's matchup between the Colts and the Jaguars -- and why. Get the details inside...

1.  Joseph Addai:  What will be most important to watch about the sophomore tailback is how his shoulder responds to a very physical Jacksonville defense.  The Jaguars defense, though, is tough, big, and prides itself on its ability to stop the run. They've allowed just over 200 total rushing yards allowed the last 4 games after getting gashed in the opener by the Titans.  They know all too well that they could be one hard tackle away from getting Kenton Keith into the game.  It's imperative that the Colts put Addai into a position to succeed and start him off with a few "low-impact" plays such as draws, screens, and checkdown passes in the flat.

2.  Raheem Brock:  Brock had a huge game against Tampa in Week 5 and will need to follow that up with another solid performance this week.  Jacksonville has shown a tendency to run behind the strong side of the formation between the tackles.  And, as most Colts opponents have done in the past, the Jaguars will start by testing the "soft middle" of the defense.  Brock needs to continue to be stout at the point of attack, penetrating or catching-and-releasing as necessary.

3.  Robert MathisJack Del Rio is committed to running the ball and stopping the run.  If the Jaguars are unsuccessful in the early going between the tackles, he'll use the speed and versatility of Maurice Jones-Drew to test the outside.  The most obvious mismatch there is right tackle Tony Pashos on Mathis, as Mathis is spotting Pashos four inches and at least 75 pounds.  Mathis needs to hold at the point of attack and stretch the play out to the sidelines, giving the linebackers and secondary enough time to flow to the football.  If he is too anxious and overpursues, Drew -- or Fred Taylor, who is well known for his cut-back ability -- will cut the play back into the hole vacated by Mathis.  If Mathis allows himself to be bulled over by Pashos, it's going to be a long night for the left side of that defense.

Marvin Harrison in the season opener
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

4.  Marvin HarrisonWhile he is expected to be able to play on Monday, knee injuries are fickle things.  He will most likely not be at 100 percent, but he will need every last ounce of health he can muster since he will be matched up against Rashean Mathis.  Though Mathis has had an off-year so far (only one interception through 5 games), he is still one of the better cornerbacks in the game and has been successful versus Harrison in the past.  The biggest part of Harrison's game that will be affected is his lateral movement.  That's an important detail and a significant loss against an aggressive corner such as Mathis.  At full strength, Harrison and Manning would have been able to possibly hit a big play or two over-the-top on a double-move by Harrison coupled with a pump fake by Manning.  Mathis is well regarded for his ability to jump routes, sometimes returning an interception for a touchdown, sometimes getting fooled and giving up a touchdown the other way.  The chances for the Colts to take a shot down the field on that side could be reduced if Harrison is feeling any lingering effects from that injury.

5.  Dallas ClarkWorking with an injury-riddled receiving corps and having a rookie tackle as his blindside protector, Peyton Manning has leaned on Clark quite frequently.  Since Clark is on the positive side of one of the biggest mismatches in the game, he should see a lot of passes come his way in Week 7.  Strongside linebacker Daryl Smith lacks the coverage ability to stay with Clark one-on-one.  He will either need safety help or will find himself making a number of tackles after Clark has already secured a reception.  The Colts tight end needs to win this matchup, find the holes in the zone to settle into when the Jaguars play zone defense, and hang onto the ball when he knows that a big hit is coming from safeties Sammy Knight and Reggie Nelson.  Most importantly, he needs to continue to be a reliable security blanket and safety option for Manning until everyone gets back to complete health and the offense gets into a real groove.

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