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Dear Patrick Kerney, an End Is Not a Set of Legs

At the end of the quarter, Nick Reed substituted for Patrick Kerney. I didn't initially notice it was Reed, but caught on in time to scribble this note "Reed looks slow as shit." He was attempting backside pursuit. Kerney is faster than his young disciple. That doesn't bode well for Reed, but it's also not a backhanded compliment of Kerney. Kerney still has some quicks. His point about regaining his burst off the edge to regain his pass rush prowess is instructive. Kerney can still jump around an offensive tackle, it's everything else that is starting to worry me.

1. 1-10-IND 20 (11:47) 18-P.Manning pass short left to 29-J.Addai to IND 37 for 17 yards (51-L.Tatupu, 27-J.Babineaux).

Kerney's pressure is slow developing because of confusion instead of inability. The Colts line swelled and flexed, consuming the Seahawks other three linemen and not presenting Kerney an avenue of attack until the play had developed. That's when Kerney cut in and pressured Manning and that's when Aaron Curry did something stupid. He dropped cover on Joseph Addai and rushed Manning. Manning lobbed it to Addai and Addai ran for 17.

Kerney displayed his quickness on the next snap, getting backside pursuit and contributing to a Kelly Jennings run stuff. Then started a series of plays that alarmed me. The next two plays, Kerney got around end only to be washed out or knocked down turning the corner.

A quick aside. I never bought into Tony Ugoh. He always looked bad to me. I don't mention this because a bloggers' work is his credibility, though that factors, I mention this to gauge the quality of Kerney's matchup. Indianapolis replaced Ugoh with Charles Johnson. Johnson is a different profile of Ray Willis. The Colts selected him late and have practiced him into an NFL regular. But I see no proof he is good. Manning makes everyone look good, so Johnson isn't dissimilar to Pierre Garcon in my mind. If Marcus Trufant was active, Seattle would need Trufant to shut down Garcon whenever the two were matched. Seattle wasn't going to stop Manning from making his teammates look good, but on certain matchups, Seattle's best had to win-win-win for Seattle to survive.

So Kerney shouldn't have battled Johnson to a draw. He shouldn't have created occasional edge rush that was quickly nullified by a step into the pocket and a well-timed shove by Johnson. But that's exactly what happened here

2-7-IND 40 (10:32) (Shotgun) 18-P.Manning pass short left to 29-J.Addai to IND 45 for 5 yards (51-L.Tatupu)

and here

3-2-IND 45 (9:52) (Shotgun) 18-P.Manning pass short left to 44-D.Clark to SEA 45 for 10 yards (31-K.Lucas, 92-B.Mebane)

--the very next play. A play later, Gijon Robinson sealed him off and Addai ran for five. Then he was washed out again, and sealed twice more on the final three plays of the quarter. Three runs, all successful, the final to score the touchdown.

Kerney was right. He got his speed back. But Kerney is wrong. An end needs more than quickness to be good. He needs strength to separate and strong arms to anchor on an inside move. He needs a bull rush, even Freeney has one, and needs and edge rush that doesn't redirect five yards behind the quarterback. If he's going to get sealed out by tight ends, half backs and full backs, he better be a terror rushing the passer, and Kerney isn't anymore. For one quarter he wasn't, anyway.