Other than when they were in short yardage situations on Monday night against
the Rams, the Colts ran the three-receiver set on almost every down. If that's the case again this week
we'll see the Colts' Brandon Stokley matched up against Dunta Robinson.
When opponents run a base two-receiver set against Houston, Robinson and DeMarcus Faggins are the starting cornerbacks. If the opposition brings in an extra receiver, Robinson moves inside to cover the slot and Phillip Buchanon takes over on the outside. If they do that against the Colts, that creates a mismatch on the outside. Buchanon, who lost his starting job three weeks ago, would be assigned to covering Reggie Wayne.
Although his 40-yard dash time is not going to make jaws drop, Brandon Stokley does have surprising quickness. He uses his burst off the snap to get on top of the corner quickly. Then once he is on top, he hits a second gear to go get to the ball downfield. Stokley has excelled as a slot receiver because of his mental and physical toughness. He's not afraid to go inside to catch the ball in traffic. He'll also give his body up to make a play, has excellent hands, and the ability to control his body when making catches outside of his frame. Stokley can mix it up and battle cornerbacks when coverage is tight. This is very important in this weekend's matchup, because Dunta Robinson is as physical a corner as they come.
Drafted in the first round of 2004, Robinson has been a starter since day one. Talk to Houston Texan fans and they will be the first to tell you that Dunta Robinson has been the most, and sometimes the only, consistent defensive performer for the team in 2005. Robinson is a tremendous athlete. He has excellent foot quickness and change of direction skills. He runs extremely well, makes sharp cuts, looks smooth and fluid in his pedal and can close on the ball.
Although he's a physical corner who likes to press and play man coverage, he also has a solid feel for zone coverage. He shows good route awareness and uses that to read and react quickly. Besides his coverage skills, another thing to watch is Robinson on the CAT blitz, especially when defending the slot. Last year in the game at Houston, a blitzing Robinson sacked Peyton Manning twice.
Houston has a lot of faith in Dunta Robinson's ability to cover slot receivers one-on-one. So they are likely to focus their safeties outside in order to help the corners with Harrison and Wayne. This will leave Sokley in a lot of one-on-one situations against a very good pressing corner. It should be a battle worth keeping your eye on this Sunday.