Debuts opposite for Babin, Robinson

Updated: September 16, 2004, 11:20 AM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Houston Texans rookies Jason Babin and Dunta Robinson both had notable moments in their first NFL game.

They were good for Babin. Not so good for Robinson.

Babin made two spectacular open-field tackles from his outside linebacker spot on San Diego star LaDainian Tomlinson during the Chargers' 27-20 win Sunday. Babin snuffed a screen pass and dropped Tomlinson for a 6-yard loss on a running attempt.

At cornerback, Robinson fell down in coverage to allow an easy 36-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Reche Caldwell, then hooked Eric Parker during his route to draw a 40-yard pass interference call that led to a San Diego field goal.

Neither was excited about his performance.

"There were some things I could have done better, that's to be expected, especially when you lose," said Babin, who also drew praise from coach Dom Capers for his pass rushing.

"You hear about the speed of the game, but you don't know until you experience it," said Robinson, who didn't have a bad day aside from those two plays. "Now I have experience, and hopefully next week will be much better."

Most of the Texans' defensive lapses came away from Robinson, with emerging Chargers tight end Antonio Gates catching eight passes for 123 yards. Only one receiver, Chicago's David Terrell, had more receiving yards last weekend.

Brees and the Chargers didn't even try to throw at Robinson until the second quarter, and that attempt fell incomplete. The one other pass completed on him was a 6-yarder to Parker that Robinson punctuated with a jarring tackle immediately after the catch.

"I knew my assignments, I knew what to do," said Robinson. "I wasn't confused at all."

Reserve cornerback Demarcus Faggins replaced Robinson late in the San Diego game, and coach Dom Capers said Wednesday that will happen from time to time if coaches believe Robinson needs a break.

"Dunta's still the starter, but we've approached this thing that at any point in time we'll put Demarcus in," Capers said.

Now it's on to Detroit, where Robinson sometimes will be paired with another top-10 draft choice from April, former Texas star Roy Williams.

"The good thing about it is, Roy's a rookie like me," Robinson said. "It'll be a battle. We'll go out and play hard and, hopefully, come out with a win."

^Notes:@ The Texans held FB Moran Norris (shoulder), K Kris Brown (concussion) and RT Todd Wade (knee) out of practice Wednesday, but all were expected to be ready for Sunday's game at Detroit. ... SS Glenn Earl, who has spent the last season working back from a knee injury last year at Notre Dame, got in several first-team practice plays Wednesday.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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