Matchup To Watch

September 24, 2006


George Kokinis, the Ravens' pro personnel director, sizes up a critical matchup against the Browns:

The players

Thomas has become the Ravens' most versatile player, moving from linebacker to safety to lineman in a single game. In two games this season, he has 13 tackles, two sacks (one for a safety) and an interception. A sixth-round pick in 2000, Thomas became a full-time starter in 2002 as a defensive end. He moved to linebacker in 2003, when he made the Pro Bowl as a special teams player. Winslow, the sixth overall pick of the 2004 draft, played two games the previous two seasons because of leg injuries. He said he'll never be 100 percent after damaging his right knee in a motorcycle accident, but he still has the potential to be one of the most productive tight ends in the game. He leads the Browns with 12 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown.

What to watch

There will be a variety of coverages to try to contain Winslow, but he and Thomas should cross paths frequently. Winslow is an athletic player who can be moved around like Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez, flexing out as a wide receiver and playing conventionally on the line of scrimmage. Winslow is also asking for the ball this week. The history of the Browns is that when a star player calls for the ball, they usually get it to him. Whether that happens with the new regime has yet to be seen. What makes Winslow different from other tight ends is what he can do after the catch. He's extremely elusive, fluid and fast. Even though Thomas is big, he can run extremely well. He has shown in the first two games that he can trail and mirror the routes of a tight end. He's also playing with a lot of confidence.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.