View Full Version : SEASON OPENER Preview

09-06-2007, 12:59 AM

By Brad Lorkovic ( LORK 88 )

A few days ago, a couple of us were sad to see some of our pre-season favorites hit the waiver wire as they fell short of making this yearís team. Some of us even found ourselves keeping up with the Chiefs in their training camp documentary on HBO called Hard Knocks. However, with the final cuts out of the way and the show over, that means one thing that makes all of us happy: ITíS FOOTBALL SEASON AGAIN!!! Yes, football season kicks off again and our new look Texans get to kick things off in Reliant Stadium against a Kansas City Chiefs team thatís looking to repeat their playoff appearance. Will Schaub and the new look Texans prove all the doubters wrong or will the Hard Knock Kansas City Chiefs keep up the same level of play they displayed last year?

Houstonís Running Game vs. Kansas Cityís Run D: For us, running the ball will be key to establishing the passing game as it always is. However, this year we have stability at the position. People complain that Ahman Green is too old and done, but this pre-season he was effective running the ball and was great at getting yards after contact. He also consistently hit the holes that the zone blocking scheme left him. Behind him, Dayne should see some carries in short yardage situations and in the red zone. However, he seemed to be ineffective this pre-season at reaching the end zone, but did show good burst. Last on the depth chart will be Gado, who has the potential, but needs to work on hitting the hole and his vision. It's unlikely that he will see ample carries. Defensively, we will be going up against a run defense that ranked in the middle of the road against the run. The D Line to me isnít anything special, but is decent overall. Alfonso Boone and Ron Edwards are in the middle. Boone has always been a solid contributor and part time starter in Chicago, but will get his chance to prove himself as an every day starter. Edwards is a returning starter from last year. Together, they are a solid duo, with both being well balanced. At DE, thereís Tamba Hali (who is high intensity player) and Jimmy Wilkerson (who plays the run better than the pass and will be filling in for Jared Allen). The LBs also will add some help to KC in run defense, but their biggest effect will be in the passing game. Overall, we just need to hit the holes hard and get yards after contact. We donít need it to be perfect, but we do need our running game to be well enough to dictate the tempo of the game.

Houstonís Passing Game vs. Kansas Cityís Pass D: The passing game for us will look very different, but in a good way. We have Schaub, who showed everything we have ever wanted in a QB, and of course Andre Johnson, one of the quietest and best in the NFL. What will make things interesting will be how the others on our team play. Walter will get his time at number two, although a bunch of us feel that the explosive Jacoby Jones should get the job (he still will see time as the #3), and Daniels will be entering season two as the starting TE in what many think will be a breakout season. Defensively, Kansas City has a solid pass defense, but lacks depth. As far as a pass rush goes, the biggest threats will be Tamba Hali and the LBs. Hali is just a high energy guy who is athletic and finds ways to get to the passer. Derrick Johnson and Donnie Edwards are two others to keep an eye on. Johnson also uses his athleticism and speed to get to the QB, as does Edwards. Both are actually pretty instinctive in coverage, and Napoleon Harris is actually deceptively athletic. Edwards is easily the best in the group in coverage, during his time in San Diego he did a great job of reading the QBís eyes and jumping passes. In the secondary, KC has two old but experienced vets in Ty Law and Patrick Surtain. Both have lost a step, but will take advantage of any QB mistakes that are made. At safety are two second year pros, Bernard Pollard and Jarrad Page who are both big and physical. Pollard is more physical than Page, and some felt he might even be able to transition to LB in the NFL. Page is more instinctive and saw more playing time last season. Both are fairly inexperienced, but both have potential and will show flashes. Overall, for us I feel we need to spread the field, keep them guessing, and go deep when possible. I want us to spread the field because of the lack of depth they have at CB and the speed we have with Jones, Mathis, and Davis. We need to keep them guessing because of the crafty vets on the outside and also at LB. Lastly, I want us to take shots deep so we can test the safeties and keep the defense honest.

Kansas Cityís Rushing Game vs. Houstonís Run D: The name of the game normally would be stop Larry Johnson, but Herm said earlier that he would limit his carries this week, which means more of Michael Bennett ( a definite plus). As far as the O Line goes, they are easily more dominant when it comes to running the ball. They are great at getting a push up front and giving LJ lanes to run in. As far as LJ goes himself, heís a definite home run threat. He can run you over and has a nice burst of speed. When LJ isnít in, Michael Bennett will see time and is the exact opposite of Johnson. Bennett is a burner, but lacks the strength to be a serious factor in between the tackles. For us, the biggest battle will be on the inside. Travis Johnson finally gets his chance to start after showing a great burst and penetration during the pre-season. Along side him will be Amobi Okoye who has shown potential when heís been in the game. If they can maintain and penetrate their gap responsibilities on running plays, it will definitely make it hard on LJ and Bennett. If they can do this, it will also free up DeMeco to make plays like he did last year. Mario and Anthony Weaver will also play a big role in not allowing plays to get outside. Mario has looked good against the run, but Weaver is the question mark as he is returning from injury and hasnít played since. It will be interesting, and the big battle will be the interior line battle.

Kansas Cityís Passing Game vs. Houstonís Pass D: Offensively, the passing game is where KCís biggest woes came this pre-season. Huard was named the starter in the middle of the pre-season, but itís night and day when you compare his play last season from the pre-season. Last season, he was highly efficient and made very few mistakes. This pre-season, he barely saw time, but didnít make the most of his plays. Which side we will see on Sunday will be interesting to see, although a lot of it will depend on our pass rush (which Iíll get to below). The biggest receiving threat for KC will obviously be Tony Gonzalez. Although heís a TE, he runs great routes and has consistently been one of the elite TEs for some time now. The wide receivers wonít be as big a threat as Gonzalez, but still compliment each other well. Kennison is a receiver whoís been around some time now, but has a nice combination of speed and hands. The other WR will be Sammie Parker whoís a burner, but struggles with some passes. If he can gain consistency, Parker could be dangerous, although his eventual replacement at WR has already been drafted in Bowe. Bowe has great size and speed, but needs to work on adjusting to the NFL. The biggest deciding factor will come from Kansas Cityís offensive line. While they are dominant in run blocking, pass pro is their downfall, and needs to be attacked by us. The biggest battle will be Mario against McIntosh/Svitek. If itís McIntosh, itís the guy that Mario got his first 1.5 sacks last season. If itís Svitek, itís a converted DE. Outside of Mario, we get to see how our nickel pass rush looks with Orr/Anderson opposite Mario. It will be important for us to get a pass rush because our secondary is the weak spot. The longer they get to throw, the higher the chance our safeties will have to make a play deep. Hopefully, we get creative and force bad decisions to keep the big play at bay.

Position Battle
QB Advantage: HOUSTON
WR Advantage: HOUSTON
OL Advantage: PUSH
DL Advantage: HOUSTON
LB Advantage: PUSH
CB Advantage: PUSH
S Advantage: KANSAS CITY
K/P Advantage: PUSH
RET Advantage: HOUSTON

Key Factors To The Game
1) We have to get a pass rush, no excuses. Last year and even during the pre-season, that was the biggest complaint that a lot of us had. This year needs to be different; we have to get pressure on the QB to force bad decisions. Lucky for us, Mario will be going up against the OT who he got 1.5 sacks last season (McIntosh), or a converted DE, Will Svitek (he played in Europe last season). Our match ups on the outside wonít be as beneficial as the are on the outside, so itís really going to come down to getting pressure from the outside.

2) Weíve need to slow down (and if possible, stop) Larry Johnson. Itís his first game experience since last season, so hopefully he will have some rust. Either way, he has the potential to destroy us on the ground if we donít make him earn every yard. If we are also able to slow him down, it means the Chiefs have to depend upon their passing game which is the weakness on offense. Huard can hit some hot streaks, but I would much rather force him to try to make plays than Larry Johnson.

3)Maximize opportunities. In the past, Iíve put finish drives, no turnovers, and various keys of the same nature, but Iím just going to combine them and say maximize opportunities. In other words, no missed Field Goals, no fumbles in the red zone, no INTs, or anything of that nature. Weíve looked good this pre season and really capitalized on opportunities, and we need to keep it up.

09-06-2007, 01:52 AM
You make a great point that if we play a clean game and don't make mistakes we are in good position to win.

I think one of the keys will be how Amobi Okoye handles the run as well. Early in preseason he was getting manhandled pretty good. By the Dallas game he seemed to be taking up a bit more space on running plays. Dallas has a pretty good running game as well. I will be keeping an eye on him on Sunday to see how he will hold up. Overall, stopping the run has been our strong point defensively. It makes for a really exciting matchup.

I predict Houston barely but it just as easily could swing the other way. I think it will come down to turnovers.

09-06-2007, 07:06 AM
From The Sporting News... 8 of 9 of their "talking heads" picked the Texans


Why To Watch

After a summer of dramatic events, including being stars of the training camp reality show "Hard Knocks", coach Herman Edwards and the Chiefs travel to Houston with some questions remaining. Will running back Larry Johnson (http://javascript<b></b>:op(6363)) be at full speed after his 25-day holdout? Can starting quarterback Damon Huard (http://javascript<b></b>:op(4180)) pick up where he left off last season, or did Edwards make a mistake by choosing to bench young Brodie Croyle (http://javascript<b></b>:op(7834))?
The Texans open the season at home with a new quarterback and an air of confidence. Young gunslinger Matt Schaub (http://javascript<b></b>:op(6849)) is ready to prove he has the tools to take the leap from NFL backup to NFL starter. With the team's new feature back, Ahman Green (http://javascript<b></b>:op(4261)), and its established star wide receiver, Andre Johnson (http://javascript<b></b>:op(6339)), at Schaub's disposal, Houston's offense may finally be ready for liftoff.
Chiefs Keys For Success
1. Make Larry Johnson (http://javascript<b></b>:op(6363)) earn his bigger, fatter paycheck. The Chiefs' motto in Week 1 should be to run, run and run some more to help set up the pass. Even after carrying the ball an NFL record 416 times last year, Johnson, because of long camp layoff, has fresh legs that will ready to be used often. It is time for him to earn his keep -- and his money. By running the ball down the Texans' throat, they will be less likely to blitz Huard. That will open up opportunities in the play-action passing game.
2. Double-team Andre Johnson (http://javascript<b></b>:op(6339)). Cornerback Ty Law (http://javascript<b></b>:op(3188)) has the size and strength to redirect Johnson in coverage, but he will need safety help to handle Johnson's speed. Fellow Chiefs veteran corner Patrick Surtain (http://javascript<b></b>:op(4303)) is just the opposite. He will be able to run with Johnson, but he cannot contain him physically. Taking away Schaub's go-to-guy will make him pat the ball a few times and look elsewhere. Ask David Carr how that feels behind a similar Texans offensive line.
3. Punt away from rookie Jacoby Jones (http://javascript<b></b>:op(8327)). Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt (http://javascript<b></b>:op(7275)) has a powerful leg, but he does not need to test the Texans' speedy rookie in Week 1. Jones is an absolute burner with an impressive first step and ample vision. Every time the ball is in his hands, he can be a momentum changer -- either with a drastic change in field position or with six points. Moreover, he doesn't get tired easily. Rumor has it that no Texan conditions himself better for game play than the young Jones, who also needs to be watched closely in three- and four-receiver sets.

Texans Keys For Success

1. Force Huard out of the pocket. The Texans' defensive linemen will slant and stunt inside in an effort to get Huard out of his comfort zone: the pocket. Trent Green is gone, Croyle got most of the snaps in camp and stalwart guard Will Shields retired. Huard has not been hit in a game that counts in a long time, and his mobility may be questionable for Week 1 with the calf injury he's battling.
2. Create manageable third-down situations. Running the ball effectively with Green on first and second down and not forcing the ball downfield in passing situations will give Houston its best chance to consistently move the chains. The Chiefs' linebackers -- Derrick Johnson (http://javascript<b></b>:op(7191)), Napoleon Harris (http://javascript<b></b>:op(5909)) and Donnie Edwards (http://javascript<b></b>:op(3637)) -- all excel in pass coverage. Throw in Law and Surtain from the corners, and teams should have a tough time converting third-and-longs against the Chiefs all season long. Schaub needs to take advantage of both Green and tight end Owen Daniels (http://javascript<b></b>:op(7847)) in the passing game to help keep third down manageable.
3. Slow down Tony Gonzalez (http://javascript<b></b>:op(3950)). Defensive ends Mario Williams (http://javascript<b></b>:op(7750)) and Anthony Weaver (http://javascript<b></b>:op(5938)) must attempt to redirect the Chiefs' tight end on every snap. The Texans' linebackers also will try to jam Gonzalez within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Gonzalez still serves as Huard's security blanket. With the season-ending foot injury to starting strong safety Glenn Earl (http://javascript<b></b>:op(6881)), the Texans must help his backup, Jason Simmons (http://javascript<b></b>:op(4366)). Gonzalez (6-5) dwarfs Simmons (5-9) by eight inches.

The Bottom Line

Optimism takes off in Houston this weekend. Huard, Larry Johnson (http://javascript<b></b>:op(6363)) and the Chiefs will start off sloppy, fall behind early and come up short on the road. Schaub should play well enough to give Texans fans something to cheer about -- if he doesn't turn the ball over. Pick: Texans 27, Chiefs 23

09-06-2007, 08:32 AM
EXCELLENT POST!!! I think we may have a few surprises in store for the league this year based on the amount of vanilla schemes we used during the preseason. I'm very interested in how the D-line will look using the full playbook. Ditto for the Offense. How will other teams game plan us when our O actually uses more than 1/3 of the playbook?? What a difference an NFL caliber QB makes.

Endzone Gabe
09-06-2007, 08:44 AM
I think there is room to be cautiously optimistic.

09-06-2007, 08:49 AM
Well done Lork! That Sporting News one is good as well. Both seem pretty fair and balanced.

09-07-2007, 11:08 AM
I think there is room to be cautiously optimistic.
Of course there is, its the first game of the season! Until it becomes misguided, why not expect our team to do well?

09-07-2007, 11:26 AM
As expected, you did a great job Lork. Mad Props. I would take your input over John McClain's any day of the week.

09-07-2007, 12:05 PM
I am getting all giddy with anticipation.

09-07-2007, 12:10 PM
I had a nice dream last night. We were up 17 - 7 at the half vs the Chiefs. We already had 2 interceptions, but I woke up before the end of the game. Let's go Texans!

09-07-2007, 12:15 PM
I want a second half like the Colts had last night, and I want Larry Johnson to have as much success as Bush did :)

09-07-2007, 12:29 PM
Hello Texan Fans,

Nice Breakdown here.
Obviously the key for the Texans will be stopping the run. LJ is a great back, but he is not a scatback, he needs some decent blocking or he will get stuffed. LJ's strength is great vision and breaking tackles, but if the Chiefs Oline is not getting push we won't be going anywhere.

This will be a very interesting game because Both teams have some big changes from last year.

One of the players to watch for on the Chiefs is our first pick this year Dewayne Bowe. He held out so he hasn't gotten as much PT as he should have, but he is a Monster WR who can break tackles.

I have not spent any time at Wild Bills, but the best Chiefs Forum is the Chiefsplanet. It is a Very, Very active Forum with more than 75,000 active threads. Stop by and check it out:


09-07-2007, 12:30 PM
Just found out that I'll be off on Sunday.

With my job I don't get to watch every game, and every one I get to see is golden!

How many minutes till kickoff? lol

09-07-2007, 09:50 PM
Just found out that I'll be off on Sunday.

With my job I don't get to watch every game, and every one I get to see is golden!

How many minutes till kickoff? lol lucky i will be busy and out and have to listen to the game over the radio!! well i think we will barley win mabey by a field goal or a td not by that much more :fans: