They were drafted with this game in mind. Eugene Monroe was picked to block Dwight Freeney; Eben Britton was picked to block Robert Mathis.
Freeney and Mathis have long been the pass-rush standard in the AFC South. Before your quarterback can trade "punches" with Peyton Manning, Freeney and Mathis must be blocked, twice a year, every year.
It was only fitting Monroe's and Britton's first exposure to the NFL pitted them against Freeney and Mathis. This Sunday, the Jaguars' young offensive tackles will square off against the Colts' dynamic duo for a third time. It's a game that will provide a measuring stick for where Monroe and Britton are in their development as bookend pass-blockers.
"Any time you get a chance to play against one of the best, you have to bring your 'A' game and that's what I'm going to do," Monroe said on Thursday.
"I'm excited about it. This game is always fun. It's a great challenge going against two of the best pass-rushers in the league. It's a chance to prove your skill as a pass-blocker," Britton said.
Monroe and Britton didn't have especially good days last Sunday against the Eagles. Quarterback David Garrard was sacked six times. Coach Jack Del Rio said some of the sacks were the fault of the pass-blocking and some of the sacks can be blamed on Garrard for not getting rid of the ball sooner.
"It wasn't our best day. There's a lot to get better," Britton said.
"I did some things technique-wise that got me in trouble," Monroe said.
Monroe's and Britton's shortcomings against the Eagles will be forgiven if they play well against Freeney and Mathis. This is the game by which they will be judged, twice a year, every year.
"His signature move is the spin. You'll see him driving guys back to the quarterback," Monroe said of Freeney, who has three sacks through three games. Mathis has four sacks.
"I did well against him in Dec.; better than the first time," said Monroe, whose first-ever game was a head-to-head against Freeney. The results were predictable.
Britton struggled through training camp and into the regular season with a calf muscle injury. He says the injury is healed and is not an issue.
"It's a huge game for this team. We felt like we let them off the hook twice last year. This is a new chance. Everybody's got to come out ready to rock and roll. Everybody's got to have a great game," Britton said.
It starts with Monroe and Britton. Against the best pass-rush tandem in the league, Monroe and Britton must have a great game.