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Mistril48
07-16-2004, 01:43 PM
With two first round draft picks penciled in as starters, many fans seem to feel their performance with determine how far the Texans go this year. Expecting a #10 pick (Robinson) to start at cornerback, or a first round pick (Babin) to start at linebacker isn't particularly revolutionary. They do need to do their jobs for the Texans to show improvement (with defense it is the weakest link in the chain) but don't forget the sophomores. If they blossom, the Texans will have added a lot of solid, young talent to the teams they fielded in 2003-3.

On offense ...

a) Seth Wand - penciled in as the starter at LT. Comparing him with a player drafted this year, he has a full year of invaluable experience in game preparation. There are a lot of excellent posts talking about his potential to make a big contribution this year;

b) Benny Joppru - Essentially a rookie, second round draft pick after missing all of last year. The Texans hope he develops into a solid, every down TE. The Texans had experience coaching him prior to drafting him (Senior Bowl 2002) and although he will feel like a rookie to us, he will have had an extra year in the system (meetings, etc) than a normal rookie;

c) Tony Hollings - drafted as a late second rounder, it was widely believed he would have to sit out last year. Comparing him with other 'rookies' drafted this year, he also has a full year of experience in the system and going through gameday experience. When a back has only started six games in college, this experience is significant. While it isn't expected that he will have to be the feature back because of Davis, he is well positioned to break out this year;

d) Derick Armstrong - Although not a signifcant contributor last year, the Texan coaching staff has high expectations for Armstrong. "We have high expectations for Derick going into this year based on what we saw from him on the practice field (He routinely makes jaw-dropping catches in practice). Heís very good at catching the ball in a crowd." (Dom Capers)

e) Dave Ragone - Although hopefully Carr will start all the games in 2004, Ragone's two starts in 2003 were invaluable to his development and value to the Texans. As I recall, he didn't get a lot of help (Davis only started 1 of the 2 games, Johnson dropped some catchable balls and only one projected starting lineman for this year, offense or defense, started in one game). He may have more ability than he has shown;

... plus Domanick Davis and Andre Johnson, who although sophomores this year they made significant contributions last year (in fact, Johnson was just a few yards short of them being the first two rookies ever to both have 1,000 yards) so that if they perform well it won't feel like 'new' contributions.

On Defense ...

a) Antwan Peek - While he showed flashes as a pass rusher and special teams player in 2003, he could emerge in 2004. Comparing him with a second or third round draft pick (the kind of rookies that the Titans and Colts are forced to rely on this year), Antwan has a year under his belt in the system and in gameday preparation that could prvoe invaluable.

I think all fans will keep an eye on Davis, Johnson, Robinson and Babin, but if even some of the above players shine, it could really be an exciting year for the Texans.

Panther5407
07-16-2004, 02:13 PM
I expect Joppru to emerge even with Miller and Bruener. He's suppose to be an exelent player and has good mentors in Miller for catching and Bruener for blocking.

Grid
07-16-2004, 02:50 PM
I dunno why people keep saying that our defense is a weak link. I dunno if the media has brainwashed them or what.. but try to remember that the only reason our defense was bad this last season is because of an alarming amount of injuries. in our first season our defense was VERY good.. and this year not only do we have 95% of those people returning.. we also have a better free saftey..and Robaire Smith.

Nawzer
07-16-2004, 03:36 PM
I think Robaire Smith is going to be a stud for us but I also think that Seth Payne's ability to play at full stregnth is going to be the key to our defense. If Seth's not able to go full speed then we maybe in trouble.

Grid
07-16-2004, 04:02 PM
Well if Payne is not ready.. we do still have Smith who can move to the inside and deloach to take his place at DE. Though I think payne is a very important part of our Dline and really really hope he comes back as strong as ever.

infantrycak
07-16-2004, 05:03 PM
Well if Payne is not ready.. we do still have Smith who can move to the inside and deloach to take his place at DE. Though I think payne is a very important part of our Dline and really really hope he comes back as strong as ever.

We won't know for sure until training camp, but I believe I read somewhere that the Texans' intention until Payne is at fulll strength is to use DeLoach at NT with Walker and Smith on the ends.

keyfro
07-16-2004, 05:45 PM
this offseason we saw casserly and mcnair make some serious moves to better this team quickly...they have taken us off the 5yr plan and put us on what might be a 3yr plan...given that...our sophomores wiill have to produce and our junior is gonna have to prove that he is the man...our two freshman are being asked to pick up things quick and after a conversation i had with a fellow red raider...coming from the horses mouth the feeling inside the texans organization is one of let's do something special...let's make things happen for us...a very electric atmosphere in the locker room and we haven't even gotten to training camp... :headbang:

Mistril48
07-16-2004, 06:17 PM
I agree with keyfro, it feels like there are a lot of quality additions to this year's team. Our old 4-5 year plan may have become a 3 year plan. We won't hit on everything, but lots of things could fall in place, from the emergence of the sophomores, to the heath of returning players (Payne), to players playing new players (Coleman, Pitts), to new coaches (OL), to new faces (free agents, draft picks and recovering sophomores).

I feel the quiet confidence that keyfro is referring to.

edo783
07-16-2004, 07:50 PM
IMO, we haven't changed from the 5 year plan, but there isn't much doubt that they have made a decision to be markedly better this year. I see it as a push to be close to the playoffs this year (outside chance of making it) with next year being the push into the playoffs and 06 (07 the latest) being a planed shot to go all the way. I think they saw a need to bring additional tallent in to have a year or two together before the real push. Actually I hope I am wrong and we go all the way this year, but that would be a high odds situation.

Mistril48
07-16-2004, 08:43 PM
... but there isn't much doubt that they have made a decision to be markedly better this year. I see it as a push to be close to the playoffs this year (outside chance of making it) with next year being the push into the playoffs and 06 (07 the latest) being a planed shot to go all the way ....
I'm not sure that it isn't possible for teams to be more competitive quickly in a salary cap regime and I feel (but obviously can't prove) that we are on a faster track. I predict a single playoff game win season this year, followed by being one of a handful of teams with a real chance to win it all in 2005.

Prior to the Texan expansion, the Superbowl had been won in three consecutive years by teams that in the previous year had the worst record in their division (Rams, Patriots, Ravens). Back then, they were rewarded for their ineptitude with 5th place schedules and these three years would suggest that the easier schedule was enough to smooth their way to go from worst to first and to win the Superbowl. Using the Patriots as an example, as I recall (but I confess I didn't double check my recollection), the Patriots were 1-2 against playoff teams during the season when they won the Superbowl. Their reward for this dubious acheivement was a first round bye, followed by playing in the snow, at night, at home, against the Raiders, who had played the Jets in the first round the week before. Following a rescue by the referees in the famous 'tuck rule' call, the Patriots beat the Steelers (Brady knocked out, but they had a kick return and Bledsoe threw a touchdown as I recall) and were in the Superbowl. Finally, they won the Superbowl on a field goal (I recall but haven't checked that Brady had only 1 third down conversion in the game). Romantically, we remember the Superbowl winner as a great team, without flaws, but that isn't really the case.

While the 5th place schedule is gone, and I would argue that the last 2 winners since the Texans joined the league were better teams, parity has created a situation where better teams tend to lose talent (see Colts and Titans,with salary cap problems, losing starters and having to trade out of the first round of the draft to hope for second and third round rookies to plug in). Rising teams can mature and acquire a few parts in free agency to get over the top. It is possible. There often is a playoff cinderella.

edo783
07-16-2004, 09:09 PM
No doubt there is parity in the league. However, those teams had some level of talent to build on vs an expansion crew. That doesn't mean we can't make a big move this year though.

NoBullTexan
07-17-2004, 09:39 PM
Talent wise, I would say we are about 60-70% of par with most of the teams in the league. With another year of development, by next year at this time, I would expect we would be on par with 90%.

Mistril48
09-07-2004, 08:44 PM
On July 16, we posted some observations about the Texansí 2004 sophomores. How are they doing now that the preseason is over? New thoughts in blue.

With two first round draft picks penciled in as starters, many fans seem to feel their performance with determine how far the Texans go this year. Expecting a #10 pick (Robinson) to start at cornerback, or a first round pick (Babin) to start at linebacker isn't particularly revolutionary. They do need to do their jobs for the Texans to show improvement (with defense it is the weakest link in the chain) but don't forget the sophomores. If they blossom, the Texans will have added a lot of solid, young talent to the teams they fielded in 2002-3.

On offense ...

a) Seth Wand - penciled in as the starter at LT. Comparing him with a player drafted this year, he has a full year of invaluable experience in game preparation. There are a lot of excellent posts talking about his potential to make a big contribution this year;

Seth Wand is still penciled in as the starter at LT, so I would say he didnít have a bad camp, but we still have to see how he holds up during the regular season.

b) Benny Joppru - Essentially a rookie, second round draft pick after missing all of last year. The Texans hope he develops into a solid, every down TE. The Texans had experience coaching him prior to drafting him (Senior Bowl 2002) and although he will feel like a rookie to us, he will have had an extra year in the system (meetings, etc) than a normal rookie;

Benny Joppru is on the PUP list and didnít participate this preseason. Bummer.

c) Tony Hollings - drafted as a late second rounder, it was widely believed he would have to sit out last year. Comparing him with other 'rookies' drafted this year, he also has a full year of experience in the system and going through gameday experience. When a back has only started six games in college, this experience is significant. While it isn't expected that he will have to be the feature back because of Davis, he is well positioned to break out this year;

Tony had a lot of work in the preseason and opened some eyes (48 carries for 167 yds (3.5 ave) and 1 TD; 27 yds long). I believe he established himself as a credible compliment to Domanick Davis and should make a contribution this year.

d) Derick Armstrong - Although not a signifcant contributor last year, the Texan coaching staff has high expectations for Armstrong. "We have high expectations for Derick going into this year based on what we saw from him on the practice field (He routinely makes jaw-dropping catches in practice). Heís very good at catching the ball in a crowd." (Dom Capers)

Derick Armstrong also opened some eyes with a strong preseason (9 for 102 yds (11.3 ave) and 1 TD; 19 yds long). I believe he should make a contribution this year.

e) Dave Ragone - Although hopefully Carr will start all the games in 2004, Ragone's two starts in 2003 were invaluable to his development and value to the Texans. As I recall, he didn't get a lot of help (Davis only started 1 of the 2 games, Johnson dropped some catchable balls and only one projected starting lineman for this year, offense or defense, started in one game). He may have more ability than he has shown;

Dave didnít have a great preseason (11 for 23 (47.8 %) for 115 yds; 0 TD; 0 INT; 62.8% QB rating)

... plus Domanick Davis and Andre Johnson, who although sophomores this year they made significant contributions last year (in fact, Johnson was just a few yards short of them being the first two rookies ever to both have 1,000 yards) so that if they perform well it won't feel like 'new' contributions.

On Defense ...

a) Antwan Peek - While he showed flashes as a pass rusher and special teams player in 2003, he could emerge in 2004. Comparing him with a second or third round draft pick (the kind of rookies that the Titans and Colts are forced to rely on this year), Antwan has a year under his belt in the system and in gameday preparation that could prove invaluable.

Antwan Peek showed flashes as a pass rusher and special teams player during the preseason as well. I believe he also showed some inconsistency that he needs to overcome before he can be relied upon as an every down player.

I think all fans will keep an eye on Davis, Johnson, Robinson and Babin, but if even some of the above players shine, it could really be an exciting year for the Texans.

El Tejano
09-07-2004, 10:04 PM
Mistril48, great post and nice of you to respond to your own predictions. Nice!

TexanExile
09-08-2004, 07:39 PM
Ragone didn't have any INTs in the preseason? Seems like I remember one, but hey, maybe he was too busy fumbling snaps to get the ball vertical.

El Tejano
09-09-2004, 04:28 PM
Does anyone else think that he looks like Adam Sandler with his helmet on?