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Texans34Life
05-28-2007, 04:18 PM
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/4840515.html



For the third-year wide receiver from Hampton, the changes are big steps. While injuries to his pesky hamstrings have made headlines, the former college sprinter's attitude has been an underlying problem.

"Being a track person, you have a tendency to be arrogant," Mathis said. "You want to win. You don't want to be second to anyone. So therefore all you know is winning.

"Some people win by
intimidation, whether by talking or by just showing what you can do. Some people do it both ways. I have a tendency of doing it both ways — talking and then showing it."

Mathis is learning to just "show it." The only problems now are his hamstrings, which sidelined him for the final two days of organized team activities last week. His inability to stay healthy is putting him at risk of not making the team.





"I'm a better person all around," Mathis said. "Not just on the field, but off the field also. Looking at my rookie season until now there's been a whole lot of changes I've had to make, and things I've had to deal with to be here playing football. It was hard, but it's worth it."

The coaches say they can sense Mathis is growing up and want to see him produce. Kubiak made it clear last season that if Mathis was going to be activated, he had to contribute on offense and special teams.

The same will be true this season, but it won't be so easy. Aside from starters Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter, Mathis will be competing at receiver with Jacoby Jones, Charlie Adams, André Davis and David Anderson.

"Let's face it: The key to his career is he has to stay on the field," Kubiak said. "Jerome is frustrated with it. I'm frustrated with it, but you can't help us unless you're on this field."

rmartin65
05-28-2007, 04:53 PM
Hopefully this will help people think that Mathis cares. He will play this year, and he will be good.

kiwitexansfan
05-28-2007, 05:14 PM
It is an interesting insight that he gives about being a track guy. I can totally understand that, and how that effects how he is perceived and carries himself.

Hopefully that is history and he becomes a real team player.

Runner
05-28-2007, 05:29 PM
He will play this year, and he will be good.

Maybe. The thing that kept him off the field last year was injury, not attitude.

Marcus
05-28-2007, 05:37 PM
There's just way too many "if he can just stay healthy"'s.

He hasn't recovered form the pulled hamstrings from last season. He has re-aggravated them during the OTAs. Any chance of him being "healthy" come training camp is, well . . .

PapaL
05-28-2007, 07:03 PM
"If healthy" he gives that homerun threat on kickoffs. The man was a monster on ST two years ago. Now all he has to do is catch the dang ball. No one in the league doubts his speed....."if healthy."

Texans_Chick
05-28-2007, 09:27 PM
Hey I asked a question over at FanHouse and figured this would be worth having a discussion here about. Here's the complete link with the discussion parts of it:

Texans FanHouse: Is Jerome Mathis Mr. Glass? (http://www.aolsportsblog.com/2007/05/25/is-jerome-mathis-mr-glass/)

Anyways, here's the question from the entry:

I guess my question is this: Is it a mistake trying to make Mathis both a returner and a receiver? According to this article about Dante Hall's diminishing return stats, it is difficult for players to be an accomplished returner AND receiver due to the physical toll that is taken. If you have a player who has a history of hamstring injuries and is coming of foot surgery, do you really want to make them do the reps involved with training at both returner and receiver? Even in his brief appearances last season, Mathis was a game changer in the bizarre win against the Raiders. You might want to put that game changing ability on the field more often, like Chicago switching Devon Hester to wide receiver this season, but do you do that at the risk of completely breaking the player down?

What I'm interested in talking about is typically what do you think is (to borrow the corporate speak term for it) the "best practice" in the NFL as it relates to the return game? Having a designated person in that position? Or having someone that plays CB/WR/whatever too?

PapaL
05-28-2007, 10:33 PM
IMO - if he excels at one thing and is ok at another; why fix what isn't broken? If the roster spot is between a Probowl KR and an ok WR/KR why would you go with the so so guy?

NitroGSXR
05-28-2007, 11:08 PM
Hey I asked a question over at FanHouse and figured this would be worth having a discussion here about. Here's the complete link with the discussion parts of it:

Texans FanHouse: Is Jerome Mathis Mr. Glass? (http://www.aolsportsblog.com/2007/05/25/is-jerome-mathis-mr-glass/)

Anyways, here's the question from the entry:



What I'm interested in talking about is typically what do you think is (to borrow the corporate speak term for it) the "best practice" in the NFL as it relates to the return game? Having a designated person in that position? Or having someone that plays CB/WR/whatever too?

I'll tell you what. I liked having a bright spot on the Texans in 2004 and Mathis was that bright spot and all he did was return kicks. He was so good that he turned heads towards the 'lowly' Texans in the national media and was rewarded with a starting Pro Bowl slot. We were represented in the national spotlight and that translates into a resounding yes to your 'corporate' question from me.

Does it help the team? Anytime we can get some attention diverted our way at this point especially from prospective NFLers... absolutely.

Rex King
05-28-2007, 11:43 PM
I've changed my view a bit on this. If there were a hypothetical Healthy Mathis, that would be my guy. But because of his health issues, I think the trade-off is Mathis has to contribute more as both a receiver and returner to justify him missing some games during the season. To the other point, I'd be worried about an important position player having to deal with return duties as well. Divided attention, but increased injury risk as well. You gave Hall as an example. The Lions tried the same thing with Eddie Drummond, and it didn't work out well either - they ended up using him exclusively as a returner in the end.

But how much does a 4th WR see the field anyway, aside from teams that use a lot of 3-wide sets like the Cards and Martz teams?

Marcus
05-29-2007, 01:22 AM
What I'm interested in talking about is typically what do you think is (to borrow the corporate speak term for it) the "best practice" in the NFL as it relates to the return game? Having a designated person in that position? Or having someone that plays CB/WR/whatever too?

This pre-supposes that just because Kubiak is making him take reps at WR, that in itself is what's causing his hamstrings to tighten up. That is very misleading, and I disagree with it. How do you know Mathis didn't report out of shape? Being in top shape and proper stretching reduces hamstring pulls.

I'm also incensed that some people want to criticize Kubiak for wanting to hold Mathis to the same standard as the rest of the players, and not pamper him, or give him some kind of special treatment, while at the same time, not question Mathis at all, as to why he can't stay healthy enough to stay on the field. A double standard? No???

How do we know that it's not Mathis' fault in all this? And why can't Mathis play with little pain like Mario Williams did in every game last year?

Me thinks that Mathis needs to man up and be a football player, and not act a prima donna track star. And that includes training like one, and stretching like one.

HuttoKarl
05-29-2007, 09:26 AM
Hopefully this will help people think that Mathis cares. He will play this year, and he will be good.

Of course he cares...he's about to lose a job if he doesn't show something. His gravy-training days are done. Results speak louder than words and Mathis can't afford to rely on his resume of one good season on special teams to keep his job.

Texans_Chick
05-29-2007, 09:57 AM
This pre-supposes that just because Kubiak is making him take reps at WR, that in itself is what's causing his hamstrings to tighten up. That is very misleading, and I disagree with it. How do you know Mathis didn't report out of shape? Being in top shape and proper stretching reduces hamstring pulls.

I'm also incensed that some people want to criticize Kubiak for wanting to hold Mathis to the same standard as the rest of the players, and not pamper him, or give him some kind of special treatment, while at the same time, not question Mathis at all, as to why he can't stay healthy enough to stay on the field. A double standard? No???

How do we know that it's not Mathis' fault in all this? And why can't Mathis play with little pain like Mario Williams did in every game last year?

Me thinks that Mathis needs to man up and be a football player, and not act a prima donna track star. And that includes training like one, and stretching like one.


I am not criticizing Kubiak. I'm asking a question. Some teams have designated returners and some have their returners play other positions on the team. In the early years of the team, the Texans had a designated returner. Last year, Kubiak said he wanted position players to contribute on special teams and ST players contribute at positions. He specifically talked about working on making Mathis a receiver.

I'm merely asking what the best NFL practice is relating to this. I don't really have an opinion on this other than knowing that last year's putting random position players returning kicks situation was unacceptable. Part of that was because Mathis was out, but also part of that was the desire to have a position player do the role of the returner so that is what they did.

I don't know what sort of shape Mathis reported in, but what I do know is for a fact that it isn't just a matter of playing through pain. If you have a messed up hamstring, you are a hobbling mess. I never understood the extent of that until I tried to play through just a flag football season with a bad hamstring. Brain said go, and the leg said uh, no, we are not gonna go so good.

As for stretching, we've had this discussion before on the MB. Nobody knows what prevents further hamstring pulls. There have been studies about stretching and there are no series of stretches that have been proven to prevent pulls. So just as we don't know if Mathis has been staying in shape, we also don't know whether he did everything the Texans asked of him and he is still having these problems. The biggest risk factors for hamstring problems is being fast and having a history of hamstring problems.

Is this something that is chronic or can Mathis and the Texans find a way to get him through these problems? My question is about whether one way to get him on the field is to focus him in one area instead of trying to make him a really good backup receiver who isn't like going to see the field.

I put that article out there about the difficulty of playing ST receiver and also a position on the field, and was just wondering out loud what the best way of doing things is.

Does Devin Hester become a huge threat at WR this year learning a new position in the NFL, or does he get burnt out so that he can't do the return stuff so fast and is more average at everything?

PapaL
05-29-2007, 10:06 AM
How do we know that it's not Mathis' fault in all this? And why can't Mathis play with little pain like Mario Williams did in every game last year?

Me thinks that Mathis needs to man up and be a football player, and not act a prima donna track star. And that includes training like one, and stretching like one.


Umm because "speed" guy can't be a "speed" guy with one hamstring. He would just be a guy.

Porky
05-29-2007, 10:07 AM
I think in general you want a dual threat player returning kicks, whether at WR, RB, or CB. But, when you have a special player at that position, I think as a team, you need to be flexible enough to just let the guy return kicks. He can have a Devin Hester like impact if he can stay healthy. To me, Kubiak should basically forget about him as a real threat at WR, and have him return kicks. Every once in a while, stick him in to run a reverse or stretch the field on a post route or something. Having him pull a hammy on a pass route and losing him for 10 games isn't a good tradeoff imo.

real
05-29-2007, 11:06 AM
I think in general you want a dual threat player returning kicks, whether at WR, RB, or CB. But, when you have a special player at that position, I think as a team, you need to be flexible enough to just let the guy return kicks. He can have a Devin Hester like impact if he can stay healthy. To me, Kubiak should basically forget about him as a real threat at WR, and have him return kicks. Every once in a while, stick him in to run a reverse or stretch the field on a post route or something. Having him pull a hammy on a pass route and losing him for 10 games isn't a good tradeoff imo.

Exactly...

I saw it mentioned earlier in this thread, but what sense does it make to have a mediocre WR/KR that can do a little of both when you can have a player that specializes in one or the other...

I doubt we'll see AJ returning punts anytime soon...It's always good to hae a couple players that can double up, but I think it's rather foolish to say that Mathis has to become a good WR when he has so much to offer on special teams...

nunusguy
05-29-2007, 11:16 AM
Perhaps Kubiak would be content to leave Mathis as a special teams guy if he
wasn't such a specialists ? After all he only returns kick-offs. If he also returned punts (as Hester does), it would make more sense not to tamper with him and not try to broaden his responsibilities ?

ATX
05-29-2007, 11:19 AM
Perhaps Kubiak would be content to leave Mathis as a special teams guy if he
wasn't such a specialists ? After all he only returns kick-offs. If he also returned punts (as Hester does), it would make more sense not to tamper with him and not try to broaden his responsibilities ?

Maybe Kubiak needs to have Mathis start fielding punts then. I would think it would be an easier than having him learn the whole WR position.

Porky
05-29-2007, 11:25 AM
Maybe Kubiak needs to have Mathis start fielding punts then. I would think it would be an easier than having him learn the whole WR position.

He tried punts before, and wasn't that good at it. PR guys tend to be quicker, shiftier, and usually have a smaller stature. KR tend to have more height/size and straight line footspeed. Some guys can do both, but many teams have a different PR and KR. In this case, putting Mathis at PR seems to be putting a square peg into a round hole, especially since they tried it, and it failed once.

nunusguy
05-29-2007, 11:52 AM
Porky's right, some guys can do both while others only seem to have success at one or the other. Hester and "Phins top pick Ginn are a couple of examples of a player who is outstanding at both, while others like Reggie Bush
don't seem to have the same versatility.

real
05-29-2007, 12:12 PM
while others like Reggie Bush
don't seem to have the same versatility.

You're kidding right ?

infantrycak
05-29-2007, 12:50 PM
You're kidding right ?

He's talking about kicking and punting returns and Bush had zero kick returns last year.

real
05-29-2007, 01:14 PM
He's talking about kicking and punting returns and Bush had zero kick returns last year.

If you're judging their ability to do it from the amount of KR's then Ginn shouldn't be on the "outstanding" list because he's had the same amount of KR's in the NFL as Reggie...

IMHO, I don't see how you come to the conclusion that Reggie doesn't have the "versatility" to return kick-offs...I think it's fairly obvious that he does...

infantrycak
05-29-2007, 01:23 PM
If you're judging their ability to do it from the amount of KR's then Ginn shouldn't be on the "outstanding" list because he's had the same amount of KR's in the NFL as Reggie has...

Oh, get serious-the point isn't the number zero it is that Bush's coaches looked at his style and decided not to use him on kick returns. By the reports so far, Ginn's coaches are planning on using him for both.

real
05-29-2007, 01:27 PM
Oh, get serious-the point isn't the number zero it is that Bush's coaches looked at his style and decided not to use him on kick returns.

Really ?

Do you have a link, because honestly I'd be interested in reading that...

I thought maybe it had something to do with the fact that he was already the back-up RB, a punt returner and slot reciever....I thought they just didn't want to wear him out....

Either way, I still think it's non sense to say he doesn't have the versatility to return kick-offs...that seems rather silly IMO....I mean, who actually looks at RB and says to themselves "I'd hate to have that guy returning kicks for me, he'd be terrible" ???

ATX
05-29-2007, 04:37 PM
He tried punts before, and wasn't that good at it. PR guys tend to be quicker, shiftier, and usually have a smaller stature. KR tend to have more height/size and straight line footspeed. Some guys can do both, but many teams have a different PR and KR. In this case, putting Mathis at PR seems to be putting a square peg into a round hole, especially since they tried it, and it failed once.

I don't recall them trying that, but then again I don't read everything out there so I'lll take your word. The only thing is you say they tried and it failed, but isn't that the case with him at WR too?

the wonger need food
05-29-2007, 06:02 PM
And now Mathis will miss this week of OTA's to be with his family since his father died on Saturday.

TexanExile
05-29-2007, 09:34 PM
I mean, who actually looks at RB and says to themselves "I'd hate to have that guy returning kicks for me, he'd be terrible" ???

Well, he DOES wear Tony Hollings' old number, so if you're not watching a game closely, one could make that mistake...until you realized that the #25 in question didn't fumble as soon as someone brushed up against him. :cool:

I feel like we're back to the old JJ Moses argument. Here's a guy with special teams talent but almost no pro talent at WR. There are differences, too: JJ had short-range skills but couldn't break the long return. Mathis has insane speed but Domanick Davis-like reliability.

By the time camp's over, we'll have a good idea of whether the next JJ (Jones) can be the speed guy, which may make Mathis expendable. But competition at other roster spots could (and I believe will) bring this down to a numbers game. You don't lightly cut a Pro Bowler with game-changing ability, but if someone's excelling at another position and Mathis is headed PUPward again, I think he's gone. Let's face it: if he's not on the active roster, it's not a hard choice to make.

I love to watch the guy, and I hope he's back this season.

Double Barrel
05-29-2007, 11:17 PM
Maybe Kubiak needs to have Mathis start fielding punts then. I would think it would be an easier than having him learn the whole WR position.

I thought he had a problem holding on to the ball as a punt returner, IIRC.

It's a different mentality catching kick returns without the pressure of coverage.

Il_Bruno
05-29-2007, 11:54 PM
Really ?

Do you have a link, because honestly I'd be interested in reading that...

I thought maybe it had something to do with the fact that he was already the back-up RB, a punt returner and slot reciever....I thought they just didn't want to wear him out....

Either way, I still think it's non sense to say he doesn't have the versatility to return kick-offs...that seems rather silly IMO....I mean, who actually looks at RB and says to themselves "I'd hate to have that guy returning kicks for me, he'd be terrible" ???


Bush was a decent return man in college but was certainly overhyped in that department. Good PR, not so much at KR. his kick return #'s are rather pedestrian actually....

and i still remember that opening kickoff in the 2005 championship game when he got plastered on the 10 yard line.


some stats here (http://collegefootball.rivals.com/cviewplayer.asp?Player=7685#stats) if your really that interested

TK_Gamer
05-30-2007, 07:25 AM
Really ?

Do you have a link, because honestly I'd be interested in reading that...

I thought maybe it had something to do with the fact that he was already the back-up RB, a punt returner and slot reciever....I thought they just didn't want to wear him out....

Either way, I still think it's non sense to say he doesn't have the versatility to return kick-offs...that seems rather silly IMO....I mean, who actually looks at RB and says to themselves "I'd hate to have that guy returning kicks for me, he'd be terrible" ???

wow, did you fall flat out in love at first sight with RB or did it develop over time lol

real
05-30-2007, 08:14 AM
Bush was a decent return man in college but was certainly overhyped in that department. Good PR, not so much at KR. his kick return #'s are rather pedestrian actually....

and i still remember that opening kickoff in the 2005 championship game when he got plastered on the 10 yard line.


some stats here (http://collegefootball.rivals.com/cviewplayer.asp?Player=7685#stats) if your really that interested

You're confused....

I never said RB was a great Kick returner...I never even said he was above average...In fact I never said anything relating to how good he was at it...

The question was whether he had the versatility to do it...I'm not going to continue on with this in this thread, but IMHO it's rather asanine to say RB doesn't have the "versatility" to return kick offs...be for real...

nunusguy
05-30-2007, 09:05 AM
Bush was a decent return man in college but was certainly overhyped in that department. Good PR, not so much at KR. his kick return #'s are rather pedestrian actually....


It's my fault for mentioning Bush's name, but since I have, I can't help but mention how I marvel at his continued hype on ESPN. I thought it would cool off with a new rookie class entering the league and the novelty of his rookie year and entrance into the league being very old news by now.
You mentioned his college career. Well his cross town rival at UCLA, Maurice Drew-Jones, had a better rookie year than Bush as all know and is a more complete player, and he rarely gets mentioned by the media. His own teammate, Marques Colson, also had a better rookie year but his name usually doesn't pop-up in a conversation about the Saints and their upcoming season. Certainly no where within light-years of Bush's hype.
He is without question the NFLs answer to Paris Hilton.

Il_Bruno
05-30-2007, 09:28 AM
You're confused....

I never said RB was a great Kick returner...I never even said he was above average...In fact I never said anything relating to how good he was at it...

The question was whether he had the versatility to do it...I'm not going to continue on with this in this thread, but IMHO it's rather asanine to say RB doesn't have the "versatility" to return kick offs...be for real...


I sorta read it as he was goot at returning. Seems to me there isnt much difference but I guess there is one. You are right, he does have the combination of shiftiness and speed to get out of jams and break the long one but somehoe his vision just doesnt translate in the kick return game.


Im sure you could find someone less "versatile" then RB to return your kicks, thats for sure

Corrosion
05-30-2007, 11:47 PM
I thought this RB stuff ended around here the moment the Texans passed on him ?!? :gun:


Wishful thinking ...

Malloy
06-01-2007, 04:53 AM
I thought he had a problem holding on to the ball as a punt returner, IIRC.

It's a different mentality catching kick returns without the pressure of coverage.

As far as I recall, the PR experience he got was during the start of his NFL career, hence the nervousness (sp).

The way I look at it, IF we can get Mathis to do both PR's and KR's, why have him do anything else? I'm guessing that a team punts and kicks around 8-10 times during a game, and if the same players recieves them all, I'm guessing we're fairly close to the average amount of receptions a reciever gets during a game.
So, call Mathis a return reciever and he'll be likely to produce at least as many yards as most other recievers on the team, and if that is not worth a roster spot, I don't know what is.

That is, if he's healthy and if he now has the return experience to be able to do PR's too. :)

TK_Gamer
06-01-2007, 08:43 AM
As far as I recall, the PR experience he got was during the start of his NFL career, hence the nervousness (sp).

The way I look at it, IF we can get Mathis to do both PR's and KR's, why have him do anything else? I'm guessing that a team punts and kicks around 8-10 times during a game, and if the same players recieves them all, I'm guessing we're fairly close to the average amount of receptions a reciever gets during a game.
So, call Mathis a return reciever and he'll be likely to produce at least as many yards as most other recievers on the team, and if that is not worth a roster spot, I don't know what is.

That is, if he's healthy and if he now has the return experience to be able to do PR's too. :)

I dont think its a matter of experience for Mathis, his skills are speed and vision, wich doesnt help hardly at all on punt returns, you need to be able to take a hit, break tackles, elude pursuit(agility). you have to be a much more physical type for punts. IMHO

DB/WR usually do best at KR, RB's and physical WR's usually do better at PR.

Malloy
06-01-2007, 01:46 PM
I dont think its a matter of experience for Mathis, his skills are speed and vision, wich doesnt help hardly at all on punt returns, you need to be able to take a hit, break tackles, elude pursuit(agility). you have to be a much more physical type for punts. IMHO

DB/WR usually do best at KR, RB's and physical WR's usually do better at PR.

You might be right, but even with the KRs alone, one could argue that that's enough yards to justify a spot?

hot pickle
06-01-2007, 02:06 PM
i hope mathis gets heathly and gets some time on the offense cause with speed like his.. he could do some amazing things... and have yall seen him at the OTA's with the dark visor.... looks tight

badboy
06-01-2007, 02:49 PM
i hope mathis gets heathly and gets some time on the offense cause with speed like his.. he could do some amazing things... and have yall seen him at the OTA's with the dark visor.... looks tightVisor may be great but he needs to be on the field and that ain't happening til TC.

threetoedpete
06-02-2007, 01:18 PM
I dunno and I wasn't in the room....but you gotta figure this is where the Jones pick came from. He may be Marvin Harrison....the hammies may come around. I'm not posting that they throw the guy under the buss. But there is a point in time that will reach critical mass where they'll have to pull the trigger on the guy. And the new attitude aside, If the hammies are going to be chronic, and I for sure don't know that they are, Smith is going to have to take his best guess on the guy. They may expose him and pull him back. They may IR him again. If Jones can handle it, he may be gone. Point being...if we're talking about keeping extra o-line prospects, nine or ten guys instead of eight, someone will have to go. Someone is expendable. Getting down to 73 will be no problem. 53, those last twenty will hurt. As they should. We're no longer an expansion club. all the tallent on paper will not help us. They need paly makers. If he can't get himself on to the feild, he isn't one of those.

Texanmike02
06-03-2007, 09:00 AM
Maybe Kubiak needs to have Mathis start fielding punts then. I would think it would be an easier than having him learn the whole WR position.

Well if you're worried about injury, is there a worse thing to do with him? I mean honestly those guys barreling down field to hit him... Punt returner seems like a bad idea... to me that is.

mike