Since the Cardinals drafted offensive tackle Levi Brown with the 5th overall pick in the 2007 draft, there has been one consistent problem since then... containing the pass rush. In week one verses the 49ers, this season, Brown showed that he hasn't really progressed in this area, the way that the Cardinals hoped he would. He allowed defensive end Justin Smith and outside linebacker Parys Haralson, to get past him on what seemed like every play. That is why this weeks player for to watch is defensive end Derrick Harvey.
Derrick Harvey was a star defensive end for the Florida Gators, and was considered by many to quite possibly be a future star in the NFL. While he only started 5 out of 14 games in his sophomore year, he was still able to rack up 11 sacks and a Defensive MVP award for the BCS National Championship game in 2006. As a junior, his final year in college, he continued his dominance by getting a total of 8.5 sack and 17.5 tackles for a loss. His impressive play for the Gators made the Jaguars trade up in the 2008 draft, to the 8th overall pick to select him. Even though he had a nice college career, things have been somewhat rough for him at the pro level.
In Harvey's first full year, he was only able to get 3.5 sacks, which is not that great of a number. He did have some positives though, as he was able to get pressure on the opposing teams quarterbacks 29 times, as reported by SB Nation blog, Big Cat Country. That put him right behind the Colts Dwight Freeney with 33 and just ahead of Mario Williams with 25. That is pretty impressive company to be in, and if he can pull out the sacks with it, than he could become one of the better defensive ends in the league.
Derrick Harvey has proven he can get pressure on a quarterback, but has not been able to finish the play off with the sack. This could be Harvey's day to show that he can finish, as he will be facing Levi Brown, who has had problems with his pass protection. If Levi wants to keep Harvey from proving that he can finish plays, then he will need to improve his footwork problem, and start aiming higher in his blocks, something that is needed to be done in pass protection. This will be an interesting match up to watch for, and could have a major impact on the game.