Marlin Jackson vs T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Despite all the focus on Chad Johnson, there's another very physical Bengals receiver who should see some matchups against a very physical Colts rookie on Sunday. That matchup will be worth a look every time they find themselves staring each other down at the line of scrimmage.

All week I had planned to breakdown the huge potential mismatch between WR Chad Johnson and CB Jason David. But I decided to instead focus on T.J. Houshmandzadeh and CB Marlin Jackson because I believe the Colts will roll coverages to David's side most of this game in order to help him in his matchup versus Johnson. In doing so, there should be a lot of room that opens up for Houshmandzadeh and WR Chris Henry to work on the opposite side. This means the rookie cornerback will find himself on an island against Houshmandzadeh throughout the game. Can he handle it?

Wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson, teammates at Oregon State, are the Bengals starting outside receivers in their base offense. When the Bengals go to a 3-wide set, however, rookie WR Chris Henry takes Houshmandzadeh's spot on the outside right and T.J. moves into the inside slot post. Houshmandzadeh is a physical type receiver, who uses his size to his advantage. T.J. is very good at walling off the defender from the ball and using his body when catching the ball in traffic.

He won't blaze by many defensive backs, but does have decent suddenness and change of direction skills for a receiver of his size. So he's not as stiff as he looks. He's also very good at the line of scrimmage and able to muscle his way through pressing corners. It's tough for corners to out-physical and re-route him. But he doesn't have burner or great deep speed, so for that reason the Colts won't hesitate to leave Marlin Jackson alone to work against T.J. without over-the-top safety help. This is important because the Colts will be rolling a safety over to help Jason David with Chad Johnson.

Jackson, like Houshmandzadeh, is a big physical type player, who likes to use his size to dictate a match-up. He's at his best pressing wide receivers. Because of his good height, bulk and strength, he matches up extremely well against big Houshmandzadeh-type receivers. So it's a battle of strength versus strength in this matchup. Whoever wins the battle between these two physical players at the line of scrimmage will likely control the matchup.

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