Ryan Lilja has a hell of a job on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens -- block Haloti Ngata. Not exactly the task in the world. Ngata is the standard for nose tackles these days. When the Chiefs drafted Dontari Poe, the thought in everyone's mind is, "I hope he can be as good as Ngata." He's the standard at that position.
And Lilja, the guard-playing-center, will be the lucky one who gets to block him.
"Yeah, he's a load," Lilja said this week, via comments sent out by the Chiefs.
That's an understatement. Lilja is listed at 290 pounds. Ngata at 340 pounds.
He is a big man!
"He's an All-Pro for a reason, year-in and year-out," Lilja said. "He's one of the better,if not the best, nose tackles in the game."
He has his expectations right -- very high. The thing is, Lilja says, it's not just that Ngata is a big dude, but that he can move well, too.
"He's a big, strong, powerful guy but he can play quick and athletically, which makes him two-dimensional," Lilja said. "There are a lot of big, strong, powerful guys but they can't move like he does. So he's a guy you've got to address."
If that were the only guy you had to address, it'd be one thing. But oh-yeah-by-the-way the rest of the D is pretty damn good, too.
Screw it -- let's just say you gotta watch out for the entire defense. Because, let's be honest. You do.
"Their whole defense, it's the Ravens defense. It's a special group, it's a veteran group, you've got leaders in the secondary, you've got leaders in the linebacker corps, you've got leaders up front, guys that have been to multiple Pro Bowls and who have played in huge games. It's a tough group."
It's tough and one of the key matchups is that one between the center and the nose tackle.