It’s the match-up all the pundits and sports show analysts seem to be talking about—Dwight Freeney versus Jonathan Ogden. Both these gentlemen have been very praiseworthy of each other this week and know it’s going to be a whale of a matchup.
Ogden on Freeney: “He’s fast obviously, but it’s more his initial get-off … He’s so quick. That’s the problem. He covers two yards so fast and it’s his spin move that you have to be aware of.”
Freeney on Ogden: “It’s going to be a real tough match-up … Jonathan is an All-Pro, Hall of Fame offensive tackle and one of the best in the game … He has those titles for a reason. They don't just give those kind of things away … He’s won some battles. I’ve won some battles in the past. It’s going to take a complete effort for every single play for four quarters.”
These two players have had an interesting history against one another. Freeney used his speed and ability to get low to beat Ogden for two sacks in a dominating performance in 2004 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. Ogden, though, held Freeney without a sack in two other games, including the '05 season opener. Freeney did get some pressures and hurries in that game, but more importantly the extra pressure he put on the edge in that first game of 2005 opened up things for former Colts DT Larry Tripplett, who had 3 sacks in that game
In the past, the Ravens have not given Ogden much help in the form of a back or tight end, either. Ogden is such a dominating tackle, the Ravens expect him to win most every battle straight up. They’ll give him help later in the game if need be, but they’ll hardly ever assign an extra blocker to Ogden’s side in their pre-game preparations. The guy is just that good and a definite future Hall of Famer.
| Ravens OT Jonathan Ogden (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)|
But that might change this week. Ogden is struggling with a nagging turf toe injury that caused him to miss the last couple weeks of the regular season and admitted he’s not quite at 100%. So expect the Ravens to likely employ some chip-blocking strategies on Freeney with Ogden not completely healthy. They’re likely to use tight ends and fullback Ovie Mughelli to fan out to try slow Freeney.
Ogden also had this to say concerning his team’s gameplan to blocking Freeney, "We've got a good plan, I believe. We're going to do some things just to give him different looks and keep him and the rest of their defensive line on their toes a little bit.'' It’ll be interesting to see what exactly the Ravens have planned, but I imagine Freeney will see less one-on-ones compared to previous matchups with Ogden
Ogden is nimble on his feet for such a massive being. He shadows defensive ends well and Baltimore will try to wear Freeney down with power blocks in the running game. Freeney, though, has shown he can defend the run as well if positioned properly and has perfected his inside spin move that counters a tackle such as Ogden cheating outside against his quickness off the line.
Now it’s time for all the sports talk, TV pundits, and sportswriters who have been breaking down and discussing this matchup cease. It’s about time for it to be figured out on the playing field. I’m eager to watch it.