Matchup to watch

Ravens VS. Bengals

November 06, 2005

Ravens defensive linemen Maake Kemoeatu and Kelly Gregg vs. Bengals offensive linemen Eric Steinbach, Rich Braham and Bobbie Williams

George Kokinis, the Ravens' pro personnel director, sizes up the top matchup against the Bengals:

The players

Kemoeatu, an undrafted pickup in 2002, is a first-year starter at nose tackle. At 6 feet 5, 350 pounds, he is a big cog in the Ravens' No. 9 run defense. Gregg, a former practice squad player, started at nose tackle from 2002 to 2004 before shifting to defensive tackle this season. He is third on the team with 41 tackles. Steinbach has started at left guard since 2003, when he was drafted in the second round. Braham, a seven-year starter at center, is only the 12th player to play 12 or more seasons with the Bengals. Williams, a free-agent pickup from the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004, was the only Bengal on offense or defense to play every snap with his unit last year.

What to watch

The offensive line is an underrated strength for the Bengals, just as Gregg and Kemoeatu are for the Ravens. Steinbach has really come into his own. He's strong and very athletic. He can get outside with the ability to pick up blocks on the move. That's rare for a lineman. Braham is just how you would picture a center: gruff, blue-collar and smart. Williams is a big, strong man who can create movement inside. For the Ravens, Gregg is such a smart player. He has great play-blocker awareness. It'll be an interesting matchup with an athletic guy in Steinbach as opposed to a mauler, straight-ahead power player in Kemoeatu.

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