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Matt Slauson's Matchup With Kevin Williams Should Convince the Jets to Pass to Set Up the Run

When the Jets run the football, they love to go behind Brandon Moore and Damien Woody, the right side of the line. Offensive lines function as a unit, though. Monday night the way things look on the left side makes me worry about whether the Jets will be able to run it right.

Pat Williams plays nose tackle in Minnesota's 4-3 scheme. A nose tackle in a 4-3 defense has a similar function to one in a 3-4, mainly take up space, hold the point of attack, and take up multiple blockers to prevent them from hitting the second level of a defense. In other words, Williams needs to keep the offensive linemen off the linebackers so the linebackers can make plays. Unlike in the 3-4, the nose in the 4-3 does not line up directly over the center. He usually lines up between the center and a guard, Moore in this case.

Nick Mangold is capable of handling Williams by himself. He has consistently held his own against the best the game has to offer. The question is whether he will get the chance.

Kevin Williams is Minnesota's other tackle. He plays the three technique, a tackle whose role is to shoot one gap and penetrate. He lines up between a guard and a tackle. In this case, the guard is Matt Slauson. Williams consistently wins matchups. The Jets will be running mainly away from him, but Williams can still disrupt plays by beating Slauson inside. If that happens, Mangold will need to help. That would leave Brandon Moore and Damien Woody to handle Pat Williams and Ray Edwards. Moore is an excellent run blocker, but Williams would be a handful on his own. Linebackers Chad Greenway and E.J. Henderson would also pursue with only Tony Richardson left to block on most plays. LaDainian Tomlinson is capable of making guys miss. Shonn Greene can grind out extra yardage. It's easiest when the line is doing its job, though.

If Slauson handles one Williams, Mangold can focus on the other Williams. That leaves Edwards and linebackers against two linemen and a fullback.

The Slauson-Williams matchup concerns me, though. We can talk about how things pan out if Slauson wins his battles, but it's advantage Minnesota. The Jets can slide D'Brickashaw Ferguson to help at times and let Jared Allen go unblocked since they are running away from him. They can pull Slauson to change the assigments. Ultimately, I think the move is to rely more on the passing game to keep the linebackers back. Pass to set up the run. The Jets have matchups there  to exploit.