With the Colts'' front four doing such a great job of getting pressure on the quarterback, opposing quarterbacks don't have the time to throw the ball downfield -- and as a result have to check down more often. This allows the Colts secondary the benefit of staying in a zone and protecting against the big play. Can you think of many big pass plays the Colts have given up in 2005? At this point last year they had already played the 45-31 shootout game against Green Bay. Just evidence of what a difference a year makes!
A guy who has grown a lot since that infamous game against Green Bay is cornerback Jason David. One thing Jason has learned is his capabilities. He now has a better handle of what he can and cannot get away with in the NFL. Jason has both the foot speed and quickness to stay close in coverage. This is important because he reads and jumps routes very well. But don't take that to mean he is good in press coverage, that's just not the case. He's not built for that style of play, so you'll rarely see him in a situation where he's expected to jam receivers effectively at the line. However, he does have a gambling nature, so he'll try to induce opposing quarterbacks into throwing his direction. The danger is in not giving up too much cushion while doing this. To sum it all up, he's not a press corner, but his foot speed and quickness are good enough in coverage that he doesn't have to play a full-zone. As a result, opportunities to use his read and recognition skills to make plays on the ball will present themselves during the game.
Jason will be at a notable height advantage this weekend against the Titans, giving up close to seven inches to the guy who will be lining up on his side of the field--Tyrone Calico. Calico has excellent straight-line speed and size for a wide receiver. He knows how to get vertical and to get the ball downfield. He has big hands and uses them to reach out and snatch balls throw away from his body. That said, he drops too many easy passes, raising questions about how skilled he really is with those hands versus his concentration level. He is a long strider who can get downfield, but still has problems cutting and coming back to the ball. Route running is not a strong suit. He just doesn't adjust his routes very well to counter the style opposing corners are playing against him. He's like the kid on the playground you always told to go deep.
Jason David plays bigger than his size -- and Tyrone Calico doesn't always use his size to his advantage. That should make for quite an interesting match-up when the Colts defense takes the field against the Titans. But with Calico's height advantage and some great straight line speed, don't be surprised is Steve McNair simply tells Calico to "go deep" to see if he can exploit that differential. But based on how the Colts defensive line has been playing, he may not have enough time to try it often.