So how does this matchup breakdown when examined in man coverage? Parker is a dangerous deep vertical threat and has the speed to test David deep. And as Colt fans know, David can be susceptible to the deep ball, although not as much as he has been in the past.
The problem for Parker, though, is his ability to get open downfield. Parker isn't physical releasing off the line of scrimmage and struggles to get upfield in time against Cover 2 corners unless he wins with short-area quickness and speed. Additionally, he is not a very good route runner, which will cause him to lose separation if running anything other than a simple straight or vertical route.
Regardless, if an opposing quarterback is going to test a Colts' corner, it will be David. It would seem likely that on a couple of occasions Trent Green will look to his left, see Sanders cheating down and Bethea rolling to the right, and be tempted to test the Parker/David matchup vertically.
|Chiefs WR Samie Parker (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)|
For the season, Parker has only 41 receptions, the same number as running back Larry Johnson, and has caught just one touchdown pass. By comparison, the Colts No. 2 receiver, Reggie Wayne, has 86 receptions and 9 touchdowns. This illustrates how differently these two teams gameplan offensively. Nonetheless, Parker has a real opportunity to be a difference-maker this week.
If Parker and David are battling one-on-one it will be those first yards and moments off the line that will be the most important. If Parker is having trouble getting off the jam and cannot separate, he likely won't be able to get vertical. David, though, will not jam unless he knows for certain that he has safety help -- the last thing he wants to do is get beat deep. The question then becomes just how quickly can Parker close a cushion against a cornerback in off coverage?
On paper, the Colts No. 2 corner lining up against a receiver averaging less than three receptions a game does not look like a potential game changing matchup. But if you see Parker streaking downfield without a safety in sight and only David to beat, that outlook will change.