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DominatorDavis
07-11-2004, 02:32 PM
My feeling on this is that Wells is on the bubble as things currently are. I am personally not big on him. He may not even make the team if rookie Derrick Knight shows promise. *Make* that trade if the Cowboys can come to terms. The bottom line is that you would not be hearing rumors from credible sources if the Texans were not interested in Bryant. They are. Bradford is a question mark - older and injury prone facing a contract year - but a good receiver when he is healthy.

The question is how do you plan to cool off a head case?

Could this just be trade bait? Or just rumor rumblings?

aj.
07-11-2004, 07:29 PM
I think Jarrod Baxter displaces Wells before Knight does (that is if Baxter is fully recovered from the foot injury). Neither Davis or Hollings are "power" backs and Capers will want a bigger guy in there at times for goal line and short yardage. Size-wise that used to be Stacey Mack. Wells has the size but doesn't seem to have the desire unless someone tells him it's his contract year. Since Norris and Stackhouse appear to be the best two options at FB, I could see them moving Baxter back to the RB position he used to play at N. Mex to back up DD and Hollings. Baxter has good power, speed, and can catch the ball. Head to head, he shouldn't have much trouble beating out Wells if given the chance.

El Tejano
07-12-2004, 09:44 AM
I agree on Baxter. He can play the RB and FB position so that makes him more valuable than Wells. Speaking of the running game, it seems as if we are going to be more of a running team this year which brings up my next questions concerning Bryant. Is he a good run blocker and is he a better run blocker than Bradford?

I am mixed on this. It helps depth wise on our receiving corp but then you take guys like Sloan Thomas and Armstrong out of the mix who have alot of potential. Then I think about the 10 drops and think if he can't catch a Quincy Carter pass, I am sure he will have trouble with David Carr lasers. Then again you look at guys that were labeled head cases and when they changed their scenery they became better players (Rasheed Wallace). Then I think the veteran leadership we have right now is what kept this team together during the rough times so maybe that alone can help him rather than the coach even having to do that. But one thing I feel our offense needs is some nastiness. At times we looked like we had confidence but not that ugliness it takes to dominate a game and I believe a player like Bryant can bring that and with a team like ours it can turn out to be a positive thing.

SESupergenius
07-13-2004, 12:19 PM
I think that Baxter is the odd man out. Moran proved that he is one of the better FB's out there. I've kept my eye on Moran for a good part of the season and you could just tell that he was a major cog in the in running game. Baxter will be rusty coming off a full year of rehab and I seriously doubt he is better than Wells at the RB position. The limit of having 25 players on offense greatly reduces the chance that we keep 3 rb's, 2 rb's and 3 TE's. Unless Baxter is a monster on special teams I just don't see that happening, we did fine without him last year.

Mistril48
07-13-2004, 01:36 PM
I think that Baxter is the odd man out. Moran proved that he is one of the better FB's out there. I've kept my eye on Moran for a good part of the season and you could just tell that he was a major cog in the in running game. Baxter will be rusty coming off a full year of rehab and I seriously doubt he is better than Wells at the RB position. The limit of having 25 players on offense greatly reduces the chance that we keep 3 rb's, 2 rb's and 3 TE's. Unless Baxter is a monster on special teams I just don't see that happening, we did fine without him last year.
I like your analysis, but I would add a couple of thoughts:

a) saying we have 25 on offense I believe implies 25 on defense and 3 specialists (1 kicker, 1 punter and 1 snapper); I think we may well have more specialists. They may technically be assigned to offense or defense, but they aren't really reliable back-ups (J.J. Moses as ruturner, but not reliable as WR, or Bell as a gunner, not reliable as CB) Worse, come game day, these specialists need to be activated ahead of players who are more reliable back-ups on offense and defense. I would say we will really have closer to 23, or 24 players who really count as offensive players, enhancing your argument about Baxter;

b) I agree about Moran's work, but I believe that the Texans liked Baxter's progress and work ethic before he broke his foot. He also broke it early last year and I would think he is completely recovered ... tough to give up on him

c) While Wells may be a better overall RB, Baxter may be a better short yardage back. If he is good enough to be activated as a special teams player and short yardage guy, he may make the squad.

edo783
07-13-2004, 03:21 PM
IMO, Baxter is much more likely to make the team than Wells is. He has proven he is of value at FB from the year before where Wells has shown he isn't very good as a RB. One proven, the other not. However, Wells showed well on ST and that can sometimes make the difference for a player.

SESupergenius
07-13-2004, 06:01 PM
In what way did Baxter show he is more proven than Wells?

Wells avg 2.7 a carry, has 3 TD's
Baxter avg 2.0 a carry, has 1 TD

I see nothing that stands out enough to say that Baxter is the better player.

Vinny
07-13-2004, 06:06 PM
2.0 avg, but you failed to mention he only carried the ball seven times. Mostly on short yardage attempts.

SESupergenius
07-13-2004, 06:43 PM
7 times, exactly, he's only carried the ball 7 times. How can anyone say that he has proven value when he's only carried the ball 7 times, was injured for a year and in the year he started as a rookie our talent level was not high?

And to say that he carried "Mostly on short yardage attempts" is pretty inaccurate when you see those 7 carries:

2-1-HOU42 (8:35) J.Baxter up the middle to HST 44 for 2 yards (D.Coakley).
2-1-HOU37 (5:45) J.Baxter up the middle to HST 36 for -1 yards (D.Nguyen).
1-10-BUF41 (13:07) (Shotgun) J.Baxter up the middle to BUF 41
2-3-HOU47 (9:27) J.Baxter up the middle to SD 47 for 6 yards (J.Seau B.Leber).
2-10-SD43 (11:55) J.Baxter up the middle to SD 42 for 1 yard (D.Edwards).
1-10-HOU49 (3:14) J.Baxter right guard to CIN 49 for 2 yards (O.Gibson).
3-10-WAS41 (9:18) J.Baxter right tackle to WAS 37 for 4 yards (A.Pierce; I.Ohalete).

3 out of the 7 were 2nd down and short, so mostly he carred on long yardage downs.

Either way, there's not enough there to justify saying he's better than anyone.

Vinny
07-13-2004, 06:44 PM
Moran Norris has ZERO attempts. Both Fullbacks with a combined 7 carries in 2 full seasons and Baxter has them all. Our Fullbacks simply do not run the ball.

SESupergenius
07-13-2004, 06:49 PM
And why would we keep 2 FB's on the roster if we can pick one up (ala Norris) when one goes down? It's not like they are valuable offensive weapons. If you want to find someone that has proven himself it's Norris. Baxter has neither the stats as an individual, nor as a team component to justify him being on the active roster when all he is going to do is hold onto a backup role. There are other needed positions that should have a good backup or two, FB isn't one of them.

Vinny
07-13-2004, 06:53 PM
Baxter was our starter until he got injured. Then we picked up Norris and he played well. That does not mean Baxter is all of a sudden worthless. I'm sure camp will define who stays and goes. We need someone for short yardage and for such a large man, Wells runs like Sponge Bob.

powda
07-13-2004, 06:58 PM
Baxter has neither the stats as an individual, nor as a team component to justify him being on the active roster when all he is going to do is hold onto a backup role.

baxter didnt lose his starting role to norris until he was injured.


There are other needed positions that should have a good backup or two, FB isn't one of them.

wells had his chance and did SQUAT. baxter's had his chance and has proven worthy (though not great nodoubt)

now let him be more valuable and do what he did in college. at least then you've got some flexibility. wells contribution on special teams wasnt so signifigant that it cant be replaced.

SESupergenius
07-13-2004, 07:23 PM
baxter didnt lose his starting role to norris until he was injured.Yes we all know that. Starters lose their jobs while being injured all the time. There is no rule that says that since you started from day one you can't be replaced. Moran Norris avg 5.0 a carry his last season at Kansas, Baxter avg. 4.47 at that powerhouse, New Mexico. Bowling over such huge games against UTEP for crying out loud. Norris can carry the ball in short situations just as well as Baxter can, and in my opinion is the better blocker.
baxter's had his chance and has proven worthyI still havn't seen where that assumption can be made? In what way has Baster PROVEN his is worthy?

Baxter started as a rookie for an expansion team. That doesn't stack him up with the rest of the league when our talent level was at its lowest point. Moran Norris has done a very good job, good enough in my opinion to lockup the starting spot going into camp. Wells is the 3rd back on the chart. By no means a short yardage guy, but good enough to be the 3rd back. The short yardage guy is Moran, but since we rarely go to a FB, then it's the starting HB anyways. Baxter isn't worthless but he is coming off a 1 year absense and someone else has his spot locked up. Same thing can almost be applied to Joppru/Bruenner, except that Joppru was a higher pick and more potential and we run can run 2 TE's.

powda
07-13-2004, 08:02 PM
do you really want to apply the strength of their college programs to pro evaluations? kansas v new mexico? please. by that notion your telling me players like jerry rice would never amount to anything in the nfl.

but i'll get my toes wet to prove :

a. norris as a running back is no comparission to baxter

b. its not foreign to baxter if hes slotted as the #3 running back on the roster


baxter
(paced team with 203 carries for 907 yards (4.5 avg.) and 11 TDs as a senior, earning first-team All-Mountain West Conference honors…his TD total ranked fifth on the school’s all-time single-season list…)

vs.

norris
(rushed for 313 yards and two TDs as a senior)

:crazy:

you need to determine what it is you want to argue. wells v baxter or norris v baxter? and lets not forget stackhouse. if hes not legit this conversation isnt worth having because easily we carry baxter and norris as our fullbacks.

i think baxter has proven solid as a fullback whereas wells has done nothing as a starting running back (or a reserve running back for that matter). the point is: if you keep baxter you have the flexibility to use him as a fullback or a runningback. wells is not a fullback.

aj.
07-13-2004, 08:34 PM
The Texans carried 4 RBs and 2 FBs into Week 1 last year btw.

Baxter is not the best blocking FB. That was evident in '02 and early in camp last year. He is a decent runner and can catch, plus he has short yardage/goal line back size. Norris is a punishing blocker and the role of the FB in this system is block first, run/catch only when you have to.

I think the bigger question is what has Wells done to guarantee himself a roster spot? The answer is not much. I don't think you can go by limited stats or who anyone played in college when drawing these comparisons. From what I've seen over the last two seasons is that Wells is physically gifted but it's obvious he's not highly motivated. That landed him in Capers doghouse more than once the last two seasons, especially last season when he was told to play well on special teams or else - while barely hanging on to a roster spot behind Mack, DD, and Hollings. Watch Wells' body language at practice and on the sideline during games. He seems detached and disinterested from what is going on around him. Sometimes I wonder if he really likes playing in the NFL. Like I said somewhere else, unless someone tells him this is his contract year or someone else lights a fire under his butt, he's on the bubble. Baxter gets points on attitude and work ethic and even if Wells' talent is superior to Baxter's (and that's debatable) I could still see a scenario where Norris and Stackhouse are the FBs and Baxter moves back to RB behind DD and Hollings.

One other thing I forgot to mention is that no one really knows what Stackhouse can do. He may look good on paper but he may or may not work out. If he doesn't, Baxter is almost certainly the backup FB.

SESupergenius
07-14-2004, 02:49 AM
They brought in FB Comella a week before the season started and once Comella got dinged, it was all Moran Norris at FB by mid year. Comella, a seasoned veteran with 35 starts under his belt couldn't beat out Norris, I don't expect Baxter to either. Stackhouse would probably beat out Baxter.

My comparision of Moran Norris' and Jarrod Baxters' college rushing records goes back to a previous statement that someone said that Baxter would make a good 3rd RB. I was comparing the two from that aspect. I seriously don't think you can gauge Wells' performance with high accuracy considering that Baxter was a rookie FB leading the way in front of a record setting line. I just don't see how you can say one was better than the other. If you want to compare Wells to Baxter at the college level, then have at it. You still won't find Baxter being the better player.

One thing that Wells has over Baxter is special teams play, and as a backup, which most will agree Baxter is, Wells has the inside track.

beerlover
07-14-2004, 11:44 AM
I've enjoyed reading all the insightfull posts. Since Mack is gone, the Texans added a double tight end set, I fail to see why the Texans would carry so many average FB/RB. Surely training camp will answear these questions and hopefully someone will emerge from the crowd, with all the new young talent on the defensive side it would be hard to justify FB/RB by committee.

I know this does'nt happen alot in football by why not trade some players to upgrade this position rather than keep pulling from free agency? I guess thats what makes football so unique is that teams have to develop their talent and mold a player into a position, like full-back. Always searching for that diamond in the rough. If I had to choose amongst the Texans active players it would be Norris, but Baxter will get another shot for sure. :twocents:

Mistril48
07-14-2004, 12:58 PM
The Texans carried 4 RBs and 2 FBs into Week 1 last year btw...
One thing to remember is that while the roster is 53, the active game day roster is 45/6. Last year, early (before Mac was injured), one of the backs (Davis or Hollings) was inactive. In other words, they were not ready to be active (either health, or experience), but were too valuable not to be on the 53 man roster (other teams could grab them). Just a thought, but if the Texans aren't developing a significant young talent at the position, they may not save one of those 'inactive' spots from 46-53 for a sixth back.

While it's too early to know, it feels like a Glen Earl, Jamaal Lord, or Sloan Thomas could be "not ready to be active (either health, or experience), but were too valuable not to be on the 53 man roster (other teams could grab them)," like Davis and Hollings

... Baxter is not the best blocking FB. That was evident in '02 and early in camp last year...
For other players (Carr), we accept that there were limitations in 2002 and accordingly we agree that his performance then doesn't represent their 'ceiling'. Why not Baxter. Won't he have a better offensive line in 2004, a better blocking TE, more passing threats and a more experienced QB. He may be able to show a lot more in 2004 than 2002, like we expect from Carr and Gaffney. I confess I don't know if he has more to show, but it wouldn't surprise me.

... Wells is physically gifted but it's obvious he's not highly motivated. That landed him in Capers doghouse more than once the last two seasons, especially last season when he was told to play well on special teams or else - while barely hanging on to a roster spot behind Mack, DD, and Hollings. Watch Wells' body language at practice and on the sideline during games. He seems detached and disinterested from what is going on around him. Sometimes I wonder if he really likes playing in the NFL. Like I said somewhere else, unless someone tells him this is his contract year or someone else lights a fire under his butt, he's on the bubble...
It must be extremely difficult to be a star in college and then feel lost as a pro. While Wells was given every opportunity to shine in 2002 and couldn't do it, as I mentioned early, there were limitations to the 2002 squad that make it difficult to evaluate the young players. To me, Wells doesn't look bored. He looks lost and frustrated because he isn't fitting in.

TheTim5125
07-14-2004, 01:13 PM
I was watching the game against Jax when Carr dove for the win.... anyway Norris caught 3 passes for like 8 yards but he didn't drop any... he has soft hands IDK. We drafted Baxter and yeah he got hurt but i think he's our starter if he's 100%

SESupergenius
07-14-2004, 01:31 PM
If Baxter could somehow beat out Norris, then we'd have one of the best FB's in the league. I am not saying that Baxter is going to bad and he does deserve some slack as well. I am skeptical of guys coming off of injuries, especially ones that keep you out all season. After observing Norris a lot during the season, I felt he did a supreme job and part of the success of the running belongs to his efforts. There are numerous blocks that Moran made that freed up the running lanes.

edo783
07-14-2004, 01:58 PM
Now on that I agree. Norris did very well last year and will likely be on the team this year. However, in the Wells/Baxter debate, I think Baxter has shown more than Wells and if it is a "Pickem" situation Baxter should get the nod.

Vinny
07-14-2004, 02:00 PM
I'm on the Baxter side of this one too. I think I would rather have Baxter as a reserve FB/RB than have Wells who can only really contribute on special teams. Wells is no fullback so imo he has less to offer us as a reserve in case Morris goes down.

SESupergenius
07-14-2004, 02:12 PM
You know it's getting bad when we are debating the merits of 3rd stringers.

If Moran went down I could see us just picking up a FB off the waiver wire like we've done before, making Baxter a non issue and not really valuable on limited roster. Roster spots are golden.

Vinny
07-14-2004, 02:17 PM
You know it's getting bad when we are debating the merits of 3rd stringers.

I agree. Some of the teams report in two weeks. We are on the verge of a full-blown football season. It can't come too soon for me. I like picking apart what we see on the field more than pure off-season roster speculation. This should be a very interesting camp on many levels.

CloakNNNdagger
07-14-2004, 06:17 PM
Moran in the Kansas college offense was used as a true FB. He carried the ball virtually only in short yardage situations. His RB counterparts were poor blockers and whatever yardage he did make on his carries, he earned himself. Moran has proven himself as the "prototype" bull FB for our type of offense. As pointed out before, he has shown the same soft hands that he was known for in college. He affords the Texans that extra pass threat that they will be able to take advantage more when the rest of their offense has matured with more consistency. He CAN carry the ball, especially with a little better blocking than we saw last year from our RBs and OL, but his greatest worth is at FB. With better blocking, as a FB, he can still be given the ball to run with, to keep the defense on their toes if not confused.

There are enough questions about Baxter's rehab or Stackhouse's "real" NFL abilities that the question of who the back up FB will be can be expected to be sorted out only after training camp begins. If Baxter is healthy and truly rehabbed, he has an excellent chance of playing the part of the Texans' combination backup FB and short yardage RB. The type of injury he sustained leaves a question of if he can forcibly push off of his injured foot, a much needed move for either a FB or RB.

As far as Wells, it has been said over and over that he will mature........be patient. Well, the physical is there, but without even an ounce of motivation. "Maturation" is not a word I would choose to use to describe Wells course over the past 2 years. He has not shown any effort to block, he has questionable hands both in running AND passing situations, his attitude has been terrible on the field and on the sidelines as pointed out by aj. When given the ball he avoids contact with the defense BUT can't find the hole to make you forget his apparent fear of contact. When first contact does occur, progress of the ball comes to a sudden halt.........The DOGHOUSE is where this dog should be allowed to remain..................but preferably in some other team's doghouse.

BornOrange
07-14-2004, 06:46 PM
When Baxter and Wells were both coming out of college, Baxter was considered by some scouts to be the best short yardage back in the draft.

Comparing their production in the NFL really isn't fair to Baxter because Wells usually had a FB lead blocking for him, while Baxter didn't.

Also, Wells special teams play is a wash because Baxter performed pretty well on the special teams his rookie year.

If it comes to a battle between Wells and Baxter for a roster spot, Baxter will win if he is healthy.

DominatorDavis
07-14-2004, 06:59 PM
V is right. I'd drop Wells before Baxter.

SESupergenius
07-14-2004, 07:10 PM
I would take Wells over a dinged up Baxter. That was my major point from the beginning in addition to the fact that we don't use the FB as a short distance gainer based on the fact that we've run them very little through the course of 2 seasons. Capers is high on Wells as a Special teamer, another point in keeping him. Baxter just seems to have his work cut out for him A) coming back from an injury B) having to overcome a backup role to regain a starting spot. It seems like an uphill climb.

aj.
07-14-2004, 08:51 PM
One thing to remember is that while the roster is 53, the active game day roster is 45/6. Last year, early (before Mac was injured), one of the backs (Davis or Hollings) was inactive. In other words, they were not ready to be active (either health, or experience), but were too valuable not to be on the 53 man roster (other teams could grab them). I understand that. Actually it was Wells and Comella that were inactive in Week 1 last year, Wells because he had a terrible preseason and was barely clinging to a roster spot and Comella because he had just been added to the team a few days before. Just wanted to point out that they carried 4 RBs and 2 FBs into week 1 last year so it's not out of the question that they could do it again this year - for whatever reason.

While Wells was given every opportunity to shine in 2002 and couldn't do it, as I mentioned early, there were limitations to the 2002 squad that make it difficult to evaluate the young players. I really don't use 2002 as a gauge on anything. What I saw last year from Wells, and what I didn't see, was more telling than in '02. The Texans starting RB position was there for the taking when Mack flamed. DD got an opportunity and capitalized. If Wells would have made more of his opportunities then maybe we'd be talking more positively about him. I don't think he ever had full time starter written all over him but he could have found a niche (and still could) as a quality backup if he gets his head in the right place. He has one more camp and preseason to prove he's NFL worthy IMO.

Texansbacker
07-14-2004, 10:02 PM
I hope we dump Wells as he has never run with any attitude and is not a leader by example, both musts in my opinion for a running back. Perhaps he is average at special teams but certainly not as a running back. Where is Stacy Mack? Wells couldn't beat him out last year and is soon to join him this year.

Baxter, he has already proven to be a hard worker if for nothing but his rehab work. He will get his chance and if healthy could be a worthy contributor to the team.