Dunta Robinson (Getty Images)
It has been nearly a year since Texans Dunta Robinson played in a real game. Robinson injured his knee in the Oakland game last season, and that caused him to be placed on the injured reserve list for the rest of the 2007 season and caused him to be placed on the PUP list to start the 2008 season. After a long journey of rehabilitation, it appears that Robinson is finally ready to suit up again.
“Man, I haven’t felt that way in a long time,” Robinson said after practicing for the first time. “So, it was a good feeling especially after running around as much as I did yesterday. So, it gives you a little bit more confidence knowing that I made it through my first practice and hopefully I can make it through my second.”
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is still debating what to do with the roster when Robinson is activated.
“You can always wait with those things. Those are tough decisions. You’ve got to find some player that you’re going to let go or put on the practice squad or whatever you’re going to do. So, we’ll wait to the last moment to do that. You never know what can happen between now and Saturday afternoon.”
Robinson will certainly be disappointed if something goes wrong and he can’t go on Sunday, being that he’s gone through so much to get to this point.
“I’m just so excited. I told them yesterday leading up to my first day of practice, I didn’t really get any sleep. I felt like a kid waiting on Christmas. So, it’s a lot of excitement, and this is another exciting day. I get a chance to put on the pads today. So, I’m excited about that. Each day I get to go out on the football field it’s exciting to me now, and it’s never been that way before.”
Kubiak wouldn’t say for sure if Robinson will start Sunday if activated.
“We’ll wait and see. We’ve got the rest of the week to do that. If he (CB Dunta Robinson) wakes up tomorrow with no problems, I would think that he is definitely going to be up this weekend with a chance of playing some. Well, if he’s up, he’s going to play.”
Kubiak went on to say that it would be likely that they will treat Robinson’s playing time similar to that of a first preseason game.
“I think what we have to do is probably either say we are going to play him in nickel or play him in base, but he is only going to play 15 to 18 plays,” Kubiak said. “We’ve got to strictly put a play count on him and bring him along like he’s starting the preseason.”
The presence of Robinson alone makes the Texans secondary much better, as the combination of Jacques Reeves, Fred Bennett, and DeMarcus “Petey” Faggins have played better in recent weeks, but are still below average. A healthy Dunta Robinson gives the Texans some much needed depth in the defensive backfield and that should be enough to shut down a Detroit Lions passing attack Sunday that will play its first game without Roy Williams.
Still, Texans safety Nick Ferguson doesn’t believe that the Lions will be any less of a challenge without Williams.
“I don’t think it changes anything,” Ferguson said. “It just takes one of their big two receivers out. But just like in football, you have other people waiting in the wings to step up. I said this yesterday to someone, they have some great receivers on their team. A lot of people don’t know them because they don’t have nationally televised games. So, if you are thinking, ‘Oh, Roy Williams is out. This is going to be a mediocre team, they’re 0-5.’ You have another thing coming to you. These guys want to win just as much as we do and they want that first one most importantly. So, they are going to be well prepared.”
On top of being without Williams, the Lions will go the rest of the way with Dan Orlovsky at quarterback as veteran starter Jon Kitna was placed on the injured reserve a few days ago with a bad back.
“This is a young quarterback,” Ferguson said. “Someone said ‘well, you know, he’s a rookie.’ After your second game in the NFL, starting, you’re not a rookie anymore. He’s a veteran. So, he’s going to be well prepared and their receiving core is going to come out and try to do some things against us.”
It doesn’t appear that the Texans are taking Detroit lightly, but there is a reason why Houston is a nine point favorite on Sunday. This game sets up perfectly for the team to begin a winning streak, which Gary Kubiak says would mean a lot for his ballclub.
“Well, our focus right now is just having good days,” Kubiak said. “Would it mean a lot? You bet it would. But we’ve been in this battle, it’s been hard. We’re a 1-4 team battling our tail off to get better. There has been some positive but the negatives stand out easily. What we’re trying to do is just get better each day as a football team. Our guys are very upbeat. They look forward to going back and playing every week. We’re just looking to get better and as long as we’ll do that, then good things will happen for us.”