Colts Key Matchup: Wayne vs Wright

Peyton Manning should have a big day against a Redskins secondary that has been struggling this season. Greg Talmage takes a look at one of the key matchups that Manning should be able to exploit often.

Due to injuries, the Washington Redskins have not been able to start their No. 1 and No. 2 cornerbacks, Shawn Springs and Carlos Rogers respectively, in the same game yet this year. Springs returned last week, but is still a little rusty after missing the first five weeks of the season. Washington was hoping to give Springs another week to kind of work the kinks out and get into game condition, but a fractured thumb has forced RCB Carlos Rogers out and likely forced a "rusty" Springs into more action.

So with their listed starting left cornerback working his way back from a groin injury that had caused him to miss the first five games of the season and their starting right cornerback now out, the Washington Redskins march into Indianapolis still hoping to slow Peyton Manning and the Colts passing attack. And while I expect Peyton Manning to test Shawn Springs as he goes up against WR Marvin Harrison I'm going to take a look at the matchup on the other side.

Reggie Wayne will find himself matched up with a familiar face in cornerback Kenny Wright. The familiarity stems from the fact that Wright has spent the past four seasons in the AFC South playing with Jacksonville last year and Houston before that.

It was expected that Wright would be just a nickel corner for the Redskins, but injuries have forced him into a starting role. And it's a role Wright has struggled mightily in this year, allowing 67 percent of the balls thrown his way to be caught. So expect the Colts to attack him, but also expect Wright getting plenty of coverage help all afternoon.

Because of Springs' health and Wright's inconsistency, the Redskins do not want to leave either corner in more than a handful of one-on-one situations. So Redskins' defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will probably employ a defensive scheme very similar to what the Colts saw in Week 5 against Tennessee. Washington will do all they can to keep the Colts receivers in front of them and will drop anywhere from 7 to 9 players into coverage depending on the situation.

Based on the way he plays, Reggie Wayne should be able to find some openings against Wright. His ability to run solid routes, read and adjust well will help keep Wright off balance and will let him locate "soft spots" in the zone. The Colts may also opt to run some quick outs, quick slants and curl routes for Reggie on the 3-step drop. This way he can use his frame to get positioning against the corner before the double-coverage breaks over to help. This tactic, however, might not work against a corner like Wright. Kenny is a very aggressive style of corner. He's at his best when he can get up in a receiver's face and jam.


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