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Playoffs
11-08-2013, 10:31 PM
3TFO: Texans @ Cardinals, Week 10
Roland Bardon | November 8, 2013 (https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2013/11/08/3tfo-texans-cardinals-week-10/)

J.J. Watt vs. Arizona Interior Offensive Line

Anytime you face the Texans, the first player you have to account for on defense is J.J. Watt, plain and simple. He has been one of the few bright spots on an otherwise disappointing defense so far (he grades out at +51.0; the rest of the defense has combined for a cumulative -49.3). Among his gaudy statistics, he has terrorized quarterbacks for six sacks, 15 hits, and 20 hurries. That adds up to a Pass Rush Productivity of 13.6, second in the league at his position. His excellent work in the run game makes him the complete player that he is, with a Run Stop Percentage of 12.1, thanks to 23 total stops, tops among all defensive ends.

Whenever you go against Watt, the biggest strain is put on the guard position. He has shuffled often between left and right end in Houston’s 3-4 scheme, so really the whole interior of the offensive line will have their hands full with him. He definitely tends toward the left side (235 snaps at LE versus 106 at RE), although in Week 7 against the Chiefs, he played more snaps on the right. Look for him to revert to favoring his left, however, given the matchup potential with the Cardinals. The Arizona offensive line as a whole this season has had more than its share of problems, but left guard Daryn Colledge has so far provided the stabilizing force they had been looking for ever since they gave him a big free agent deal in 2011. He has graded positively in the last six games for Arizona, only one of which was under +2.0. He even beat out some tough competition to make our 2013 Midseason All-Division Team for the NFC West. Right guard has been a completely different story for the Cardinals, which is why you will likely see Watt try and exploit that side of the ball. Paul Fanaika has been in for every snap this season, but his play hasn’t been nearly as reliable. He has graded out at -15.0, with the majority of the damage (for Arizona) done in pass blocking, having allowed four sacks, four hits and 18 hurries on Carson Palmer. Lyle Sendlein at center has done a reasonable job so far this year (-2.0), so he may be called upon to help Fanaika often during Sunday’s game.

Case Keenum vs. Todd Bowles

Since taking over for the injured and generally downtrodden Matt Schaub, second-year undrafted free agent Case Keenum has turned into a rather pleasant surprise for the Texans in an otherwise dreary season. He’s only played two games, but after a solid showing against the Chiefs, he put on a great show against the Colts last Sunday, and certainly had his team in position to win. So far he has been a terrific deep ball thrower; on passes 10 or more yards downfield, he has a rating of +9.8, while garnering a -3.3 on anything shorter. Overall he is already seven of 12 on Deep Passing (20+ yards), one more completion than Schaub had in his six starts combined. One reason for his fast start may be attributed to his offensive line, who have given him an average of 3.20 seconds to throw, one of the highest in the league.

Charged with game-planning against Keenum and forcing him into mistakes will be Cardinals’ defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. He has done a terrific job scheming this year to get pressure on the quarterback, all while lacking an elite pass rusher that offenses must key on every week. One of his favorite blitzes to call has been the double A-gap blitz, where both inside linebackers rush to either side of the center. Daryl Washington and Karlos Dansby have created a lot of havoc on opposing QBs on these, so keep an eye out for it on Sunday when Bowles will likely try to rattle Keenum early and often in just his third ever start.

Andre Johnson vs. Patrick Peterson

This game will feature a premier matchup in the passing game, as Andre Johnson and Patrick Peterson face off against each other for the first time in their careers. Johnson has been quietly having another great season, largely overshadowed by the Texans’ problems in general. He has had trouble finding the end zone, more due to the problems at the quarterback position rather than any slip in his game. In fact, he has been playing as well as ever (+16.3), which is indicative of what can happen when a team is unsettled at quarterback. He is, however, coming off his best game by far, having scored his first three touchdowns of the year against the Colts last Sunday. So far in just half a season, he already has 57 catches (on 82 targets) for 813 yards with just two drops, and Houston quarterbacks have a solid 98.3 QB rating when throwing his way. Impressively, while teammate DeAndre Hopkins has been getting the majority of the Deep Passing attempts (13 vs. 7 for Johnson) in Houston, Johnson still leads the league in Yards Per Route Run at 2.86.

Peterson, who will likely shadow Johnson the entire game, has played 584 out of 586 defensive snaps for the Cardinals, and has been playing especially well of late after a slow start. He has not allowed a single touchdown pass in the last five weeks, during which time he has given up just 14 completions on 38 targets. That being said, this will be his toughest matchup since facing Calvin Johnson in Week 2, when he gave up two touchdowns that day. Peterson is among the league leaders at cornerback this year in Cover Snaps Per Reception (14.7) and Yards per Cover Snap (.91), so something will have to give against Andre Johnson on Sunday.

eriadoc
11-08-2013, 11:06 PM
Anytime you face the Texans, the first player you have to account for on defense is J.J. Watt, plain and simple. He has been one of the few bright spots on an otherwise disappointing defense so far (he grades out at +51.0; the rest of the defense has combined for a cumulative -49.3). Among his gaudy statistics, he has terrorized quarterbacks for six sacks, 15 hits, and 20 hurries. That adds up to a Pass Rush Productivity of 13.6, second in the league at his position. His excellent work in the run game makes him the complete player that he is, with a Run Stop Percentage of 12.1, thanks to 23 total stops, tops among all defensive ends.

Two things I take from that:

1.) JJ Watt is as good as ever, despite the stats not being as huge.
2.) At +51 vs -49, the rest of the defense is basically cancelling him out. :D

TejasTom
11-08-2013, 11:46 PM
...
2.) At +51 vs -49, the rest of the defense is basically cancelling him out. :D

And that's how it feels watching it, like the rest of D is canceling him out. :pissed:

texanhead08
11-09-2013, 12:52 AM
Two things I take from that:

1.) JJ Watt is as good as ever, despite the stats not being as huge.
2.) At +51 vs -49, the rest of the defense is basically cancelling him out. :D

Which is pretty much what most experts predicted this year. We knew that there was no way teams were going to let him just devastate the leagues offenses like he did last year.

eriadoc
11-09-2013, 12:04 PM
Which is pretty much what most experts predicted this year. We knew that there was no way teams were going to let him just devastate the leagues offenses like he did last year.

So you're saying the offenses are taking extreme measures to stop JJ Watt? Wouldn't that open up opportunities for the rest of the defense? Wouldn't that leave other defenders free to make plays? Wouldn't we see other pass rushers getting sacks and QB hits? I mean, I know I've been told over and over again that we have so many talented players, so surely they ought to be able to take advantage of an offense focusing on someone else.

nero THE zero
11-09-2013, 12:26 PM
One reason for his fast start may be attributed to his offensive line, who have given him an average of 3.20 seconds to throw, one of the highest in the league.
Having a mobile QB is swell, isn't it?

DocBar
11-09-2013, 12:58 PM
So you're saying the offenses are taking extreme measures to stop JJ Watt? Wouldn't that open up opportunities for the rest of the defense? Wouldn't that leave other defenders free to make plays? Wouldn't we see other pass rushers getting sacks and QB hits? I mean, I know I've been told over and over again that we have so many talented players, so surely they ought to be able to take advantage of an offense focusing on someone else.
Depressing, ain't it. :toropalm:

The Pencil Neck
11-09-2013, 01:38 PM
Having a mobile QB is swell, isn't it?

I thought the same thing when I read that.

speedfreek
11-09-2013, 06:23 PM
Double A-gap blitz Keenum, and if it happens to be a bootleg,
he will run for double digit yardage.

That is, of course, unless the DB's play the run and leave our
WR's open free up the field..

TJ

DexmanC
11-10-2013, 12:38 PM
Double A-gap blitz Keenum, and if it happens to be a bootleg,
he will run for double digit yardage.

That is, of course, unless the DB's play the run and leave our
WR's open free up the field..

TJ

From this statement, and I agree wholeheartedly, Case is gonna burn them for yardage and TD's no matter what they decide to do.

texanhead08
11-10-2013, 02:37 PM
So you're saying the offenses are taking extreme measures to stop JJ Watt? Wouldn't that open up opportunities for the rest of the defense? Wouldn't that leave other defenders free to make plays? Wouldn't we see other pass rushers getting sacks and QB hits? I mean, I know I've been told over and over again that we have so many talented players, so surely they ought to be able to take advantage of an offense focusing on someone else.

Yes, but I have been told our GM is doing a great job though.

Playoffs
11-11-2013, 11:55 AM
ReFocused: Texans @ Cardinals, Week 10 (https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2013/11/11/refo-texans-cardinals-week-10/)

There will certainly be better expositions of offensive football this season in the NFL but you won’t see many better games for one-on-one matchups and big-time players putting in spectacular performances. From the opening play of the game when John Abraham turned around Derek Newton to swat the ball out of Case Keenum’s hands, the stars in this game were making big plays, right until the very end when the Cardinals’ coverage and pass rush stood tall to preserve Arizona’s victory.

With a few notable exceptions, this game was about the defensive playmakers stealing the show with each team’s star lineman putting in an astonishing performance. Winning this game was all about maximizing your opportunities and in the end it was a standout play from a special teams ace that proved the difference with Justin Bethel blocking a field goal attempt as time expired in the second quarter which ultimately proved the difference between the two teams.

After their victory, the Cardinals now sit just a game outside of the playoff reckoning in the NFC in spite of the fact that their offense is really yet to fire this year. In what is now probably the best division in football (how quickly things change in the NFL) the Cardinals are right there with the 49ers in the race for the wild card. Meanwhile, the Texans are now firmly in damage limitation mode sporting a seven-game losing streak and seemingly tumbling interminably towards a high draft pick that no one would have predicted ahead of the regular season.

Houston – Three Performances of Note

Doing Everything He Can for the Cause

There is often conjecture about whether a player winning a major award like Defensive Player of the Year can come from a losing team but there should be absolutely no doubt that, emphasized with performances like this, J.J. Watt is the leading candidate to retain the award this season. In another stellar performance (+10.8) Watt was dominant both against run and pass, putting in not only consistent disruption but coming up with big plays to help keep the Texans in the game creating a turnover as both a pass rusher and run defender. The latter put Houston in position to bring the game back within one score as he tore the ball away from Rashard Mendenhall in the pile, showing sheer determination to end this losing streak. Watt’s chief victim was former teammate Eric Winston who surrendered two hits and two stops on the ground to him, but he spread his work around the Cardinals’ offensive line and tight ends who only very rarely had success containing him one-on-one. While some of his “base stats” such as sacks and batted passes might be down on last season Watt’s performance level and impact for the Texans’ defense is anything but as he continues the sort of defensive form we have never before seen in the PFF era.

Line Troubles Re-emerge

The Texans’ offensive line had made strides in recent weeks with some better performances in the face of continuing defeats but that came back down to earth as they struggled in a tough matchup against the Cardinals yesterday. Only Duane Brown came away with any real credit after a strong showing in pass protection (+2.4, one hurry allowed) but he shared in the struggles as a run blocker where every lineman (all six of them with Ryan Harris and Derek Newton continuing to rotate at right tackle) earned a negative grade. To an extent, this wasn’t a surprise with the firepower the Cardinals have up front, but it will have been a disappointing setback that the likes of Brandon Brooks (-2.6) and Chris Myers (-1.2) couldn’t build on their recent positive momentum and come out with a strong showing against top quality opposition. On the ground, Ben Tate and Dennis Johnson gained only 22 yards before first contact on their 19 combined carries while in pass protection the line was part of the problem that saw Case Keenum pressured on 25 of his 48 dropbacks. Recent performances have shown signs of growth for the Texans’ offensive line but this performance highlights the work that still lies ahead of them.

Poor Form Continues for Mercilus

Way back in Week 4, Whitney Mercilus took advantage of a favorable matchup against a subpar left tackle in the shape of Paul McQuistan to have something of a breakout performance against the Seattle Seahawks. Six weeks later, that performance is starting to look more and more like an outlier as Mercilus struggles to make a similar impact as a pass rusher. Yesterday going up against Bradley Sowell (who surrendered 24 pressures in three weeks when he took over the Cardinals’ starting job) should have been the opportunity for Mercilus to at least show that he could repeat a good performance in a favorable matchup but he did nothing of the sort. On 34 pass rushes, Mercilus registered only one pressure to earn a -2.5 pass rush grade, his fifth straight negative grade as a pass rusher since that game against the Seahawks. Mercilus is at least solid against the run but nothing that makes up for his lack of impact as a pass rusher in the last month.

Arizona – Three Performances of Note
...

Game Notes
...
- Last season J.J. Watt registered 76 total pressures in the regular season; at his present rate past the halfway stage of the season he is on course to exceed 80.

- Across from Peterson vs. Johnson was another dialed in one-on-one matchup with Jerraud Powers targeted seven times while covering DeAndre Hopkins surrendering only two catches for 22 yards and breaking up the fourth-down pass that closed out the Cardinals’ victory.

PFF Game Ball

Both Calais Campbell and J.J. Watt produced performances that are about as good as you’re ever likely to see from a 3-4 defensive end as all-around threats against run and pass. Both earn a game ball as a result.



Worst OT in the game was Eric Winston, who had a league worst -7.9 rating this week.
Wade Smith checks in with -4.6, which puts him in the bottom 3 of OGs this week.
Brooks Reed had his first not-negative rating of the year +1.0, but remains entrenched as the worst rated OLB in the league in 2013.
Brice McCain -2.6 continued his poor play remaining in the bottom 3 of all CBs in the league in 2013.
DJ Swearinger had his first positive rating at +1.2.
Shane Lechler hangs on as the league's highest rated punter this year.
Keyshawn Martin is at the bottom of the 2013 KR ratings.

--from PFF (http://www.profootballfocus.com/) ratings

eriadoc
11-11-2013, 12:14 PM
JJ Watt is a beast, but he needs help.