Colts Key Matchup: David vs. Coles

Colts cornerback Jason David draws the assignment of handling the AFC Offensive Player of the Month, Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles on Sunday. Find out why this matchup is different from what David has faced so far this year with success. Greg Talmage fills you in...

Laveranues Coles is coming off an impressive first month; so impressive he was just named AFC Offensive Player of the Month. In September, Coles had 24 receptions with 331 receiving yards and posted either 100 receiving yards or 10 catches in each of the first three games. That puts him on pace to catch 128 balls for 1,765 yards in 2006.

Coles has been helped by the fact that his quarterback seems to have regained his old form following two injury-riddled seasons. Pennington has been shredding opposing defenses to the tune of an average of 269 yards per game and has five TDs in three games. Combine that with the fact that the Jets have failed to generate a consistent ground game and you so why Coles is on pace for such a big year.

After being matched-up against the likes of Plaxico Burress and Reggie Williams in recent weeks, Jason David gets a real change of pace this weekend. But it might not be a change he is looking forward to. Prior to last week's game against Jacksonville, I heard Jason David on Colts.com multimedia explain why -- despite the height disadvantage – that he actually prefers going up against bigger receivers compared to smaller quicker ones. According to Jason, he has an easier time reading the routes of bigger receivers because they are slowing coming in and out of their cuts.

Laveranues Coles at 5-11" is by no stretch of the imagination a big receiver. Speed is his game. He possesses track-star speed which makes him one of the quickest receivers in the league. He runs excellent comeback routes and has good timing off the line. That explosive initial burst allows him to hit his second-gear quickly, so pressing corners need to be careful. Coles will get on top of you and by you quickly.

His speed, though, can at times be a negative when it comes to running precise routes. Coles is guilty of relying on his pure speed too often and thus getting lazy in his route running. But this is something that he has improved with age and experience.

Jason David has looked fairly solid after missing the entire preseason. This has been his most consistent stretch since being drafted by the Colts. He looks ever-so-comfortable in a zone, is doing a good job keeping receivers in front of him and making smart decisions when it comes to jumping routes or breaking for the ball. He's definitely matured in his position and knows what he can and cannot get away with.

Just like Coles, David's strength is his foot-speed and quickness. This is what allows him to stay close in coverage, which is important because he is also improving his ability to read and jump routes. Even with good foot-speed and quickness, David is not a press corner. And given Coles' burst off the line and lightening quickness don't expect to see David pressing at any point on Sunday.

David needs to be careful and not let Coles' stellar speed get the better of him. He also must stay patient in his coverage, because Pennington and Coles have the ability to methodically dink and dunk their way down the field. A lot of times, this is a set up for a bigger play by the offense later in the game when they want to bait a corner into assuming they're going short, but then catch that corner guessing wrong or jumping a route too early. When they get the corner believing it's one of the several short or immediate routes he's seen all day, that's when Pennington and Coles will switch it up and burn the corner with a fake and the shorter route, burning him for a deep ball and a long gain.


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