Texans CB Dunta Robinson May Return; Houston's Defense Not Likely to Improve

Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson has been taken off the PUP list after recovering from torn knee ligaments, nerve damage and a hamstring that was torn off the bone during last year's game against the Raiders. He's practicing for the first time today, and by tomorrow the Texans will have a sense if he is going to play limited minutes on Sunday.

Paul Kuharsky in the ESPN NFL blog suggests that Robinson is Houston's hope on the horizon. Hmmm, seems to me that horizons by their nature are pretty far away.

I enjoy watching the intensity of Robinson's play (see YouTube above), but I don't think the Texans defense will see much improvement. First of all, if Robinson plays good ball coming off his combination of injuries suffered by a corner, it should be the biggest comeback story of the year.

But even when he was on the field, the Texans defense was awful. The last decent season for the Texans defense was 2004, when veteran Aaron Glenn was paired with Robinson. Since then, with or without Robinson on the field, the Texans defense has been near the bottom of the league in just about every important measure.

Part of this is that even when Robinson was healthy, he didn't get targeted much. With DeMarcus "Petey" Faggins on the field, and the Texans playing their CBs in halves, teams just targeted Faggins. Faggins is now in the starting lineup again, only now opposite Jacques Reeves. Faggins is an off-toasted, try-hard smallish guy, and Reeves has struggled with his ball skills.

When Robinson comes back, his snaps will be limited coming off of injury, and he may be playing a lot of nickel.

Football Outsiders rankings have the 2008 Texans defensive DVOA as one of the three lowest they have measured after 5 games played. (The Texans 2006 defense is the #1 worst measured defense, a defense that Robinson played on.)

So, if Robinson gets back onto the field and plays well, that will be a great story. It's his contract year so it is a particular shame that he got injured last year. But other than maybe looking better when playing the Kitna/Williams-less Lions this weekend, I don't see this defense getting substantially better this year.

To punctuate this entry properly, I must say that Texans defensive coordinator Richard Smith needs to be fired. He's needed to be fired for a while. My name is Stephanie Stradley, and I approve this message.

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