Brad Keller points out the five players you'll want to keep a close eye on during Monday night's…
Key Matchup: Mathis vs. Pashos
This offseason the Jaguars wasted no time upgrading the right side of their offensive line. On the first day of free agency, they signed former Baltimore Ravens right tackle Tony Pashos to a five-year, $24 million contract with $10 million in signing bonus money. Pashos' tenure in Jacksonville started out a little bumpy this season, especially in pass protection. In Week 3, Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil used his speed and initial quickness to give Pashos all kinds of headaches. Elvis registered two sacks and a forced fumble against Pashos. After that game, Gene Frenette of The Times Union put it very succinctly, "Right tackle Tony Pashos, however, must improve his pass protection." Also following the Denver game, Florida Today.com weighed in this way: "… Garrard has been sacked 10 times in three games, which puts him on pace to be sacked 48 times this season. That's way too much. Right tackle Tony Pashos has struggled. Left tackle Khalif Barnes' ankle injury could be a concern." Last week, though, Pashos played arguably his best game as a Jaguar. Jacksonville dominated the line of scrimmage, rushing for nearly 250 yards. A fairly good Texans pass rush was virtually non-existent, registering one sack of David Garrard and very few pressures. So what should we expect this week from Jacksonville's new right tackle? Aaron Wilson, who covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital, had this to say about Pashos after watching him play for the past four seasons: "Tony Pashos is a tough technician who always gives his best effort. Pashos is not the most nimble athlete, but has worked extremely hard to make himself into a highly competent blocker. He is more of a run blocker than a pass blocker, but he can hold his own against good pass rushers."Tony PashosDoug Benc/Getty Images Through 5 games, Wilson's analysis of Pashos looks to be dead-on. This week, one of the assignments for Tony Pashos will be to slow the pass-rush of Colts DE Robert Mathis. Pashos and Mathis have been matched up against each other over the years. Most recently was in last season's divisional playoffs where Mathis recorded a sack and forced fumble against the Ravens. Like Elvis Dumervil succeeded in doing during Week 3, Mathis will want to use his explosive speed to get Pashos off balance. This happens when Tony fails to bend knees, getting too top heavy or when he lunges at blocks in an attempt to make up for lost space. Time and time again it has been demonstrated that Pashos can be beaten by good speed rushers who alter their moves. Mathis is explosive with his first step and can beat any blocker off the edge with his outside speed rush. He also likes to use the rip move getting his arm and shoulder underneath the pass blocker and turning the corner once he gets past the edge. The problem is that once big tackles get their hands on him the battle can be over rather quickly. On the flip side, the running game is where Jacksonville will attempt to exploit a Pashos strength over a Mathis weakness. Look for Jacksonville to run right behind Pashos and right guard Chris Naeole. Pashos has nearly a 90-pound advantage over Mathis and will want to use that size to drive the Colts defender off the ball. If RG Chris Naeole can block down on rookie tackle Ed Johnson in tandem with Pashos' work, this should open some nice seams for Fred Taylor or Maurice Jones-Drew.
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