In week 3 of the NFL season the Houston Texans face off against the Denver Broncos. The focus of many fans will be on key offensive players such as Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, and Texans running back Arian Foster, however these will not be the most important players on the field. The most crucial battle on the field will be Texans right tackle Derek Newton against Broncos pass rushing linebacker Von Miller.
This is Newton’s first year as a starter after being a seventh round pick out of Arkansas State in 2011. He has held up well up to this point but against Miller, Newton faces his toughest test yet. Miller is in his second year out of Texas A&M and is an explosive pass rusher that has the ability to change games. In his rookie season Miller tallied 11.5 sacks and forced 2 fumbles. In two game this season Miller has already recorded 3 sacks and made 7 tackles.The Texans will have to locate Miller on each play because the Broncos will move him around. Newton should be lined up against Miller often as the Broncos will try to exploit a perceived weakness.
The winner of this battle will have a huge impact on their team’s chances to win. If Miller wins the battle he will force Schaub to rush and will have cause a huge disruption to the Texan’s passing attack. If the Texans are forced to be a one dimensional offense it will be easier for the Broncos to concentrate on the run and potentially slow down the Texans two explosive running backs. If Newton wins the battle he will give the quarterback time to pick apart the Broncos and keep the offense balanced. If the Texans are able to effectively run and throw the ball they will be hard to defend. Newton is a young player in an extremely tough position but if he performs well against Miller he won’t lose sleep over pass rushers.
Joe Serenka, Houston Texans Blogger follow him on Twitter @Texansblogster