Colts Key Matchup: Diem vs Vanden Bosch

Ryan Diem (Getty)

Indianapolis Colts right tackle Ryan Diem has had his share of ups and downs in 2006. He was awarded a game ball following his Week 1 shutout of Giants DE Michael Strahan, but seemed to be on his heels a lot last week against Jets DE Shaun Ellis...

...Ellis finished the game with 2 sacks. Last year, Diem's two matchups against Kyle Vanden Bosch followed that same course. Diem dominated their first matchup holding Vanden Bosch to just 3 tackles and no sacks. In the second contest, Kyle Vanden Bosch gave Diem all he could handle, resulting in several pressures and hurries on Manning.

Diem's ability to handle Vanden Bosch's first step quickness will dictate the outcome of this match-up. Vanden Bosch's speed and motor will give even the best offensive tackles headaches. Given that fact and that speed-rush defensive ends have given Diem trouble at times, I wouldn't be surprised to see Indianapolis employ an additional blocker or two on the right side. With DT Albert Haynesworth suspended and DT Robaire Smith out, it should free up those extra blockers if needed.

Diem will struggle in pass protection if he fails to latch on and engulf his man. Another problem he's had in pass pro as of late has been that he's taking too long to get set, which causes him to get out of position quickly, and he lunges in an attempt to make up for it.

Diem is a big massive road-grader in the run game. He gets adequate hand placement and uses his upper body well to maintain separation. He takes smart angles, plays with a good motor, and fights to sustain the block once in position.

Vanden Bosch's play against the run game is one area the Colts will try to exploit on Sunday. Against the run, Vanden Bosch makes the mistake of letting himself get engulfed by bigger tackles too often. He will get steamrolled if he engaged into any kind of power game and struggles to break free from stronger players. He also isn't a good player in short area battles despite his tenacity and gets worn down if forced into a lot of battles in restricted space. So it is paramount that he use his quickness to avoid these situations.

Ryan Diem seems to get into several matchups throughout the year where his strength is his opposing lineman's weakness and vice versa. The key to these matchups is how each player handles his own weaknesses. If Diem is taking to long to get set and is on his heels throughout, Vanden Bosch should have opportunities to get to Manning. For Vanden Bosch, if he is not letting Diem lock-on in the run game, he should have the freedom to makes plays on Colts ballcarriers. Whoever does those things better wins this matchup.

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