Tough Test Ahead for Willig

PantherInsider.com
Posted Oct 2, 2004


Matt Willig will have his hands full.

Patrick Kerney, the left Defensive End of the Atlanta Falcons was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month, and will be nose to nose with Matt Willig, The Panthers Right Tackle.

It’ll be Willig’s job and responsibility to keep Kerney from wreaking havoc on Quarterback Jake Delhomme. Kerney leads the league with 5 sacks in 3 games, and has 20 combined tackles and assists so far this season.

“I don't think I've ever seen him take a play off, either in practice or a game - not give maximum effort,” Falcons Head Coach Jim Mora said regarding to Kerney’s work ethic. “And that's so valuable because it sets a standard that other players have to try and achieve.”

Kerney’s numbers have been impressive, however the records of the teams Atlanta has beaten is a combined 1-8… and that lone win came when one of the Falcons' foes, St. Louis, beat another, Arizona.

Matt Willig has not been a consistent starter since 1997, when he started several games for the Atlanta Falcons, however he is familiar with Kerney, having played against him while he played several years for the 49ers. "He's a good player," Willig said. "I respect his play a lot, because he's not only talented but he's a hustle guy. He's non-stop around the field. I've seen him for so many years playing in the same division, first at San Francisco and now here. He's the same as he has always been, only this year he is getting the sacks. It's going to be a big challenge for me. I have to be able to move my feet this week, more so than ever before, to stay with him because of his athletic ability."

In week two’s win against the Chiefs, the Panthers found good success running to the left behind Left Tackle Jordan Gross and Left Guard Tutan Reyes. They hope to take Kerney out of the game this week by doing more of the same.



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