Matched up against one of the NFL's best left tackles last week, Derrick Harvey's production was understandably up-and-down.
Michael Roos, Tennessee's All-Pro blind side bookend, was able to wall Harvey off on several successful runs in the first half—while the game hadn't yet gotten out-of-hand on the scoreboard.
The Titans gained 37 of their 76 first-half rushing yards on eight carries around Harvey's end. Like the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals before them, Tennessee looked to exploit his inconsistent ability to keep running backs from turning the corner.
This time, though, Harvey fought back with a pair of drive-smothering plays to help the Jaguars' defense preserve an early lead.
On the Titans' third drive, after Jacksonville went up 10-3 on a Maurice Jones-Drew touchdown run, Harvey separated from Roos on first down to wrap up running back Chris Johnson at the line. Needing nine yards in two plays, Tennessee abandoned their trademark ground game for two incomplete passes and had to punt.
After the Jaguars' next score put them ahead 17-3, Harvey once again stalled the Titans' attempt to answer.
Facing 3rd-and-1, Tennessee quarterback Kerry Collins attempted a dink to tight end Bo Scaife for the first down. Harvey got a hand up, the ball flopped harmlessly to the turf, and the Titans were once again forced to punt.
Against All-Pro competition, a tackle and a pass defensed were points of marked success for Harvey. Stalled at the line for much of the first half, he was still able to use his athleticism and grit to affect the game.
In tomorrow's game against the injury-plagued Seattle Seahawks, though, Harvey will be in a position to dominate like he did against Titans guard Eugene Amano in last week's second half.
Playing face-up on Amano as a defensive tackle, Harvey pressured Collins into several poor throws as Tennessee played catch-up.
With the Seahawks missing tackles Walter Jones and Sean Locklear this week due to injuries, Harvey will be lining up across from backup Brandon Frye. In Seattle's 34-17 loss to Indianapolis last week, Colts defensive end Robert Mathis whipped Frye to the tune of 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
If and when Frye gets help with Harvey, it'll come from either a tight end, a back, or backup left guard Mansfield Wrotto. As much as the Seahawks might scheme to get the best out of their blocking, no one near Roos' caliber will be in Harvey's way.
Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio seemed pleased with Harvey's level of play against the Titans.
"I think he [Harvey] played very well last week," Del Rio told reporters Wednesday. "I'll take that effort every week."
Facing backups thrust into starting roles, and with hurting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck returning for Seattle, that same level of effort could translate into an eye-opening performance this Sunday.
As the Jaguars enter the mid-season grind, it's time for Harvey to show his class.
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