Greer battles, but Wayne is tough assignment

Posted Feb. 02, 2010 @ 11:03 a.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

Second in a series

Colts WR Reggie Wayne vs. Saints CB Jabari Greer

The Saints typically leave CB Jabari Greer on the defense's left side of the field and CB Tracy Porter on the right, with Randall Gay and others in the nickel and dime CB spots. The Colts use Reggie Wayne and the other receivers at different spots throughout the game. When Marvin Harrison was around, Wayne almost always was split left or occasionally in the slot. But Wayne has a far more diverse role, lining up in all the WR positions in a given game.

That means he could be faced up with Greer a good amount of the time, though not likely the entire contest. How the Saints defend Wayne will have a big say about how the game plays out. With TE Dallas Clark and WRs Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie all having showed they can carry the load, the Saints can't afford to do a lot of double-teaming of any one player — even one the caliber of Wayne.

That's not their m.o. anyway. In the playoff wins against the Cardinals and Vikings, who both feature some great WR talent, the Saints chose to leave their corners in man coverage, often singled up. They were willing to give up some plays if it meant putting heat on Kurt Warner and Brett Favre. The strategy worked, though Colts QB Peyton Manning traditionally has done very well against single coverage when the opponents' blitz isn't in his face.

Covering Wayne one-on-one is a tough chore for Greer — or Porter or Gay, if they find themselves lined up opposite him. Greer is tough for his size and plays big at 5-11 and 180 pounds, but Wayne actually is bigger. He also is quick and savvy enough to get off the line. With Jets CB Darrelle Revis covering Wayne most of the AFC championship game, Manning often looked elsewhere, and the Colts' offense didn't miss a beat after a slow first quarter.

Greer will try to jam Wayne at the line when the Saints blitz. The best way to throw off the Colts' passing game is to disrupt the receivers' timing. Expect the Colts and Wayne to sight-adjust their routes to quicker routes like stops and slants. Greer isn't in Revis' neighborhood as a corner, but scouts say he's one of the more underrated elements of the Saints' defense, and he has done a nice job against Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald and Vikings WR Sidney Rice in the playoffs. Since Greer returned from a sports hernia injury in the middle of the season, the Saints' pass defense has been markedly better.


Wednesday: Colts OLT Charlie Johnson vs. Saints DRE Will Smith


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