Matchup To Watch

Ravens Vs. Steelers

December 24, 2006

Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs vs. Steelers right tackle Willie Colon

George Kokinis, the Ravens' pro personnel director, sizes up today's critical matchup against the Steelers:

The players

In his fourth season, Suggs already has become one of the best pass rushers in Ravens history. His total of 38 1/2 career sacks ranks third all time behind Peter Boulware (70) and Michael McCrary (51). Suggs is fourth on the Ravens this season with eight sacks and leads the team with three forced fumbles. The 10th overall pick in the 2003 draft, Suggs is headed to his second Pro Bowl. Colon is expected to make his first NFL start in place of injured right tackle Max Starks, who underwent knee surgery Wednesday. A fourth-round pick out of Hofstra, he has been inactive for all 14 games of his rookie season. At 6 feet 3, 315 pounds, Colon was a first-team Division I-AA All-America lineman.

What to watch

Colon has a squatty build for a tackle but is fairly athletic and tough. The challenge for him is playing in December in a playoff atmosphere. The tempo now is different from August, so how he adjusts will be a factor. But under line coach Russ Grimm, one of the best in the league, you have to assume Colon has improved since the preseason. Suggs will have an adjustment period, too, trying to get a feel for Colon's strengths and weaknesses. Typically, a player can have weaknesses exposed once a team has had a chance to watch him on tape. The Ravens are catching Colon in his first action of the season, so there could be adjustments all game. During his time with the Ravens, Suggs has shown that he can win his matchups on speed and power. In terms of power, Suggs has the advantage over Colon.

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