Yanda faces tough task in Bengals’ Atkins

yanda

Marshal Yanda’s play at right guard had been the bright spot on an inconsistent Ravens offensive line.

Yanda is playing under a five-year, $32 million contract extension that he signed days after the lockout ended, and his value was never more evident than two weeks ago against the Denver Broncos. Snapping a streak of 44-consecutive starts, Yanda was sidelined with an injured right ankle. Despite the stat sheet showing only three sacks allowed, quarterback Joe Flacco spent most of the game running for his life.

Even though he plays alongside Matt Birk, who at one point was considered the best center in the NFL, Yanda is the most solid piece of the line and commands the best efforts of opposing defenders who try to break him down on a weekly basis.

This season, Yanda has already faced Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who many – including Yanda – believe will win the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. Heading into the final game of the season against the Indianapolis Colts, Watt has 15 batted passes and 20.5 sacks, trailing Michael Strahan’s single season record by just two.

Given his accomplishments, many would believe that Watt was the toughest player  Yanda has had to deal with this season. However, Yanda feels that a guy he faces this Sunday (and twice per season in the AFC North) doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins’ statistics are impressive, but pale in comparison to Watt’s. The former Georgia Bulldog has 13 sacks, forced four fumbles and five batted passes this season.

Yanda was noncommittal when asked if Watt or Atkins was tougher to deal with.

“It’s tough, they’re both having really good years,” he said. “I just don’t want to name one.”

“J.J. has got a lot of power and he does a lot of great things, no doubt about it,” Yanda stated. “Geno, he’s shorter, but he’s just really powerful. He has the power to run you over on a bull rush…but so does JJ, so I’d just call it a tie.”

The popularity of fantasy football and 24-hour football networks has made the common fan place more value in statistics than ever before. Seeing how much credit Yanda gave Atkins despite what Watt has accomplished statistically reminds us that this game is far more than just numbers.

Yanda’s return last week injected life into an offensive line that – despite a few penalties -played extremely well in division-clinching victory over the New York Giants.

Given their teams’ respective playoff positions, the starters may not play much this Sunday. When they are on the field though, keep an eye on Atkins and Yanda. While not a “marquee matchup” that the national media will hype, the fact is that two of the NFL’s best will be smashing into each other repeatedly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

Hot off the street

BOLD PREDICTIONS RECAP: Ravens 23, Browns 21

1. At least 3 of the following 4 occur: In a game featuring 2 of the better defenses in football, both offensive lines protect the QB well. There will be no more than 4 total sacks and 8 total QHs...read more

PERCEPTION IS REALITY: The 3-Headed Monster Returns?

Reality: Ravens are now 46-10 when scoring first, since John Harbaugh become Head Coach. Perception: The Ravens came out very flat in Week 1 against the Bengals, but came out quickly against Pittsb...read more

Ravens at Browns: What We Looked For, What We Saw

Here are the things we looked for when not watching the ball and here’s what we saw…   1. Phone booth LOOKED FOR: Last week against the Steelers (which by the way seems like a month ago)...read more

FILMSTUDY: Ravens at Browns Defensive Analysis

The Glass is Half Full Everything we hear about the Ravens now seems like the 6 PM news circa 1973 with Vietnam, Watergate, the oil embargo, and inflation dominating. Between Rice, injuries, and a...read more

RAVENS REPORT CARD: Ravens 23 Browns 21

Road Warriors: Ravens beat Browns on last second kick Overall: B+ After another week that saw the Ravens under media scrutiny for off the field issues instead of the focus being on the Ravens domi...read more

View More