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Spike
03-19-2008, 02:28 PM
I am finding myself extremely interested in how the offensive line is going to shake out this year. Last season I felt like we saw huge improvement in the line play (due in part to the play of our QB) and after some starters went down, it was good to see that we had some young, solid depth. This off-season we bring in Gibbs (who I understand may shake-up the system a bit) and add several new players to the mix.

Looking at our roster, I am having a really hard time predicting what the two-deep will look like at the start of the year. We are going to have a lot of competition at most of these spots and several of these guys can play in more than one spot, which makes it harder to determine which 5 will make the field. My break-down is below - what do you think?

Center - McKinney and Meyers, both of whom can also slide over to guard, could be starters. In limited action last year, Chris White played well and he can also slide over to guard. There is also a lot of excitment over Eslinger.

Guard - I assume both Pitts and Weary are back and assume that they will have the first opportunity to win their starting spots, but I think Brisiel will compete for one of those spots. The coaches seem to like Studdard and he may be a good fit for Gibbs style.

Tackle - Winston is the only starting spot I would be willing to bet on and I think Rahsad Butler backs him up. If Spencer can make it back, he will battle with Salaam for the LT spot. I had heard Frye was being moved to guard - but he is listed as a tackle on the roster. He may be a better fit for tackle under Gibbs system and with the log-jam at guard, he may have a better chance making the team here.

My best guess:
RT - Winston, Butler
RG - Brisiel, Studdard/ White
C - Myers, Eslinger/ White
LG - Pitts/ White/ Studdard
LT - Draft Pick, Salaam OR Spencer OR
Salaam or Spencer, Draft Pick

This two-deep would result in the following:
(1) McKinney's injury and age, combined with the addition of Myers and Eslinger make him expendable - which I hate because he is a great part of the franchise.
(2) I think we draft a LT in the first or third round, which ensures a roster spot. Assuming this is the case, you have to choose between Spencer or Salaam.
(3) Frye misses the cut. If possible, placed on PS for one additional season.

infantrycak
03-19-2008, 03:03 PM
I think we will have three new starters on the OL, at least for most of the season, with little or no competition for the returning starters--Pitts and Winston.

RT--Winston, Butler/Salaam
RG--Spencer, Briesel
C--Myers, (Eslinger or White)
LG--Pitts, Studdard
LT--rookie, Salaam/Butler

Black gone--creating $500k in dead money but freeing up $1.3 mil in cap space.
Okobi and Jackson gone.
Frye and White should be practice squad eligible.

badboy
03-19-2008, 03:11 PM
I think we will have three new starters on the OL, at least for most of the season, with little or no competition for the returning starters--Pitts and Winston.

RT--Winston, Butler/Salaam
RG--Spencer, Briesel
C--Myers, (Eslinger or White)
LG--Pitts, Studdard
LT--rookie, Salaam/Butler

Black gone--creating $500k in dead money but freeing up $1.3 mil in cap space.
Okobi and Jackson gone.
Frye and White should be practice squad eligible.I am ok with this but you did not address McKinney.

infantrycak
03-19-2008, 03:21 PM
I am ok with this but you did not address McKinney.

I am not sure about McKinney at all and think there is a chance he doesn't make the team. He isn't expensive relatively speaking and they would only save about $350k in cap space (and create $2 mil in dead money) if they let him go.

DiehardChris
03-19-2008, 03:36 PM
I hope that if McKinney can only be depth, that he'd agree to re-work his contract instead of us releasing him. He's a great locker-room guy, and a solid player when he's healthy. I don't think it's out of the question that he could win a starting job as a guard - but even if he does, I can't imagine him being healthy all season.

infantrycak
03-19-2008, 03:49 PM
I hope that if McKinney can only be depth, that he'd agree to re-work his contract instead of us releasing him.

His contract is basically cheap and nothing can be done to re-work the signing bonus money he has already received.

but even if he does, I can't imagine him being healthy all season.

Why?--prior to last year he hadn't missed a game in five years.

badboy
03-19-2008, 03:58 PM
His contract is basically cheap and nothing can be done to re-work the signing bonus money he has already received.



Why?--prior to last year he hadn't missed a game in five years.But does his experience push him ahead of say Butler? Steve will be 33 October; not ancient for a O lineman but his knees may give Butler the spot.

DiehardChris
03-19-2008, 04:03 PM
Is it cheap for depth, though? I'm sure they'd rather pay that amount to a younger player who's not coming off ACL surgery... but I know they also want to avoid dead money as much as possible.

Why?--prior to last year he hadn't missed a game in five years.
Because he's 32, and is coming off an ACL tear (I think it was an ACL), and the new system is going to require even more physicality than was required before. I'm not saying we should cut the guy or anything.

infantrycak
03-19-2008, 04:09 PM
But does his experience push him ahead of say Butler?

Butler is a T so I doubt that is the way they would analyze it.

Is it cheap for depth, though?

Eeeh, kind of neither expensive nor cheap. Like I said above--recovery, youth and suitability for Gibbs may end up with him gone.

prostock101
03-19-2008, 04:27 PM
This is probably off thread a bit but I've always been curious about why the big push to go full tilt with the ZBS.

Is it that much better than the GB Power Scheme? Seems like we tried it when Kub first got here and were never able to get it done and eventually had to add the GB stuff. When we did, the running game got better.

On top of that, it requires "special guys' just to run it.

It just seems that with quality O lineman that difficult to find in this league, is the ZBS that much better when you have to have -

1. Special Coach to teach it.
2. Special OL to run it.
3. Special RB to "one cut and run"

Seems like a lot of work when we could just knock guys on their ass and run the ball.....

badboy
03-19-2008, 04:33 PM
Butler is a T so I doubt that is the way they would analyze it.



Eeeh, kind of neither expensive nor cheap. Like I said above--recovery, youth and suitability for Gibbs may end up with him gone.I was thinking of Brandon Frye when I typed Butler. I see Frye with upside but some think he may not have as much as I hope for. With our injury history, I think I'd rather have McKinney's ability over Frye's youth.

AnthonyE
03-19-2008, 04:49 PM
This is probably off thread a bit but I've always been curious about why the big push to go full tilt with the ZBS.

Is it that much better than the GB Power Scheme? Seems like we tried it when Kub first got here and were never able to get it done and eventually had to add the GB stuff. When we did, the running game got better.

On top of that, it requires "special guys' just to run it.

It just seems that with quality O lineman that difficult to find in this league, is the ZBS that much better when you have to have -

1. Special Coach to teach it.
2. Special OL to run it.
3. Special RB to "one cut and run"

Seems like a lot of work when we could just knock guys on their ass and run the ball.....

At the time, I don't think we were using the right personel.

Winston wasn't starting, and we were basically using the same O-Line from Dom's regime.

Ole Miss Texan
03-19-2008, 05:11 PM
This is probably off thread a bit but I've always been curious about why the big push to go full tilt with the ZBS.

Is it that much better than the GB Power Scheme? Seems like we tried it when Kub first got here and were never able to get it done and eventually had to add the GB stuff. When we did, the running game got better.

On top of that, it requires "special guys' just to run it.

It just seems that with quality O lineman that difficult to find in this league, is the ZBS that much better when you have to have -

1. Special Coach to teach it.
2. Special OL to run it.
3. Special RB to "one cut and run"

Seems like a lot of work when we could just knock guys on their ass and run the ball.....

I think you kind of get what you get when you select a Head Coach or Offensive Coordinator. I think when hiring Gary Kubiak, we new we were going towards the ZBS only at that time we didn't have the right personnel. Kind of like going to a 4-3 on Defensive. Might not have the personnel but you know what your trying to go for and it just takes time to collect enough guys to play there, then start building it with the players you really want, etc.

I don't know if it's any much better or not. It used to be more rare and you were able to find special players later in the draft consistently. With a lot more teams going towards the ZBS, more teams are looking to draft and sign these types of Ol players, so the conventional thought of "we can get all-pros in the the 6th/7th round" may not really be the case anymore b/c more teams are trying to get them and earlier.

Personally I like the smash mouth kind of football too. I love seeing a big ol lineman popping the DL and LB's in the mouth knocking them over, and then the big ol RB running straight through a CB.

Polo
03-19-2008, 05:28 PM
It just seems that with quality O lineman that difficult to find in this league, is the ZBS that much better when you have to have -

1. Special Coach to teach it.
2. Special OL to run it.
3. Special RB to "one cut and run"

Seems like a lot of work when we could just knock guys on their ass and run the ball.....

I think zoneblocking makes the offenses job easier. Talent isn't as big a factor in the ZBS. Normally when a guy goes down back-ups can come in a do the job just about as adequately as the starter did because it's mostly technique and scheme.

All in all that equals continued success.

And you don't really need a "special" RB or a "special" OL...I think disciplined is a better word...

Ole Miss Texan
03-19-2008, 05:35 PM
This will really be interesting to see how the OL develops and changes, personnel-wise.

(1) I don't see a Rookie Left Tackle coming in and really starting for us right away. Even if we get Chris Williams, I think he grows into the position and probably start during the season but I don't think we're going to find a LT in the draft to start day 1. That's just me.

(2) It sure would make it easy if Brandon Frye or Rashard Butler become our starting LT we want. What are the thoughts on who we already have on the roster? Butler is a really interesting case with his previous illness. He's only 3 years in the league and I think the only (or biggest) reason he was released from Carolina was because of his energy/weight caused by the illness- but it sounds like he's gotten help and that's corrected? I'm not too familiar with Frye/Butler but hope the learn a lot from Gibbs and can take over the spot- that would solve a HUGE problem! It'd be cool to have: LT Butler (Miami)- C Myers (Miami)- Winston (Miami) on our line.

(3) I wonder about Spencer's recovery (I guess everyone does) and how that's going to effect his position on the team. Does he just flat out get cut!? or move to Guard. I would hope he could move to Right Guard and be a mauler of a guard for our running game. He'd be playing beside his "hardly-identical" twin Winston. (Picks #64 and 65 in the '06 draft)

(4) If Myers turns out to be our C of the future, I'm really not worried about our OL that much anymore. This signing/trade solves a big problem and fills a huge hole. I'm really excited the see the improvement on the Line next year and think it's just going to keep getting stronger. It's not going to take as long as I initially thought.



Long Term-wise:
LT-I'd love Branden Alberts to be draft pick if we stay at 18 and become our long term fixture at Left Tackle. (If Frye and Butler are deemed to be quality back ups and not franchise LT's). I see Salaam starting most of next season with Alberts playing guard but transitioning to LT when he learns it well and good which could be well over a year. If he's just too good at G to even consider moving him, then I hope Frye/Butler develop into the LT spot.
LG- I like Chester Pitts as our left guard, he's just a solid solid player.
C- I hope Chris Myers becomes the Center we've been looking for an nails down this spot for another 10 years.
RG- I hope Charles Spencer comes back completely healthy and is our right guard. I'd love for him to be a dominant run blocker next to Winston and really help our running game.
RT- Eric Winston continues to develop and is our rock solid right tackle.

That has a dominant line in my opinion! Within 5 years- Alberts, Myers, and Winston have all been to the pro bowl.

infantrycak
03-19-2008, 06:08 PM
I think when hiring Gary Kubiak, we new we were going towards the ZBS only at that time we didn't have the right personnel.

The Texans ran predominately ZBS the last two years under Capers. They did not however believe in cut blocking.

(1) I don't see a Rookie Left Tackle coming in and really starting for us right away.

Given that Kubiak has already done it once, with a 3rd rounder at that, why couldn't it happen again, especially with a 1st rounder?

nunusguy
03-19-2008, 06:32 PM
RT--Winston, Butler/Salaam
RG--Spencer, Briesel
C--Myers, (Eslinger or White)
LG--Pitts, Studdard
LT--rookie, Salaam/Butler

Couple things: Here's hoping you're right about Spencer being fit enough and recovering quickly enough to be an effective starter this year. At any position
in the OLine. But I'm just not that optimistic. If I should, I sure want to know why 'cause like everyone else I'd love to have him back.
I don't think they are expecting much help from Eslinger, especially with the addition of Myers who can also play guard like White & McKinney while Eslinger
can't.
And I'm still trying to understand how the bruising but inert Casey Studdard gets a roster spot as a member of ZB guru Alex Gibbs OLine ? Unless he also
was babysitting Gibbs kids (make it grandkids) up in Denver ?

Ole Miss Texan
03-19-2008, 07:47 PM
The Texans ran predominately ZBS the last two years under Capers. They did not however believe in cut blocking.

So are you saying we had the right personnel because we already ran the ZBS? It doesn't seem the OL was all that effective and Kubiak was going to get it taken care of. I guess install more of a Denver ZBS than Houston ZBS? But he is adding and will continue to add the right players.



Given that Kubiak has already done it once, with a 3rd rounder at that, why couldn't it happen again, especially with a 1st rounder?

Like I said, I just don't think we're going to get a Rookie LT to come in a beat out Salaam on Day 1. Not saying it CAN'T happen- I'd be very pleased if it did, because it'd be saying 'we have a better player NOW and he's young!' I think there is going to be a guy learning at first and maybe pulls a Fred Bennett on us.

Just b/c it's happened once doesn't mean it will happen again. I sure hope it does though! (but only b/c he wins the LT job because he's great, now b/c of injury)

Do you think we could draft a rookie in the 1st or 3rd and he come in and start right away at Left Tackle? If so who and why? I would have said the same thing about Spencer 2 years ago, though, so take it for what it's worth.

infantrycak
03-19-2008, 08:39 PM
So are you saying we had the right personnel because we already ran the ZBS? It doesn't seem the OL was all that effective and Kubiak was going to get it taken care of. I guess install more of a Denver ZBS than Houston ZBS? But he is adding and will continue to add the right players.

Let me put it this way--I think the right personnel for ZBS issue gets way too generalized to smaller OLmen. The real issue is can they move in space and have good feet. Pitts and Spencer for example have very good feet for their non-"normal" ZBS size. Sure Kubiak considered improving the players on the OL a priority as shown by his first draft. At the same time, that draft illustrated my point that size is not the predominate factor some make it out to be. Anyway, the real point of my quote above was somehow folks keep forgetting that Kubiak did not install ZBS in Houston and didn't even change what Houston was doing to incorporate the Denver/Gibbs style of including cut blocking.


Do you think we could draft a rookie in the 1st or 3rd and he come in and start right away at Left Tackle? If so who and why? I would have said the same thing about Spencer 2 years ago, though, so take it for what it's worth.

1st rounder--absolutely. Look at 1st round LT's taken in the last 5 years and you'll see the majority start as rookies. 3rd rounder is obviously less likely, but Kubiak has clearly demonstrated he does not have a philosophical problem with doing so. Heck, it might be that a rookie is coming in primarily to beat out Butler instead of Salaam. Kubiak has had some pretty strong statements about him as well.

Ole Miss Texan
03-19-2008, 08:54 PM
1st rounder--absolutely. Look at 1st round LT's taken in the last 5 years and you'll see the majority start as rookies. 3rd rounder is obviously less likely, but Kubiak has clearly demonstrated he does not have a philosophical problem with doing so. Heck, it might be that a rookie is coming in primarily to beat out Butler instead of Salaam. Kubiak has had some pretty strong statements about him as well.

I hear you on both counts. The only thing about the rookie is looking at where we currently are at or potentially could trade down to and who may be available at these spots.

1st round: Jake Long/Ryan Clady- long gone, Jeff Otah with Gibbs?, Chris Williams- best chance but easily could be gone. I think even Mayock suggested he may need to build more strength and not start right away but grow into the role during the year. Branden Albert (great guard but probably not right away at LT?). I think Williams is the only player we have a shot at selecting in the 1st round that might be able to start Day 1- I don't know if Otah or Albert would be able to. Again specifying it only for OUR team in our CURRENT situation.

2nd round via trade down (or late first): Sam Baker (too weak?), Anthony Collins, Gosder Cherilous (RT?), Carl Nicks?..

I'm getting into too many unknowns after this. Ugoh, McNeil, etc There are players all the time that go in and start but I'm just looking at our team and this draft. Again though, who knows really where these players are going to get selected!?

Scooter
03-19-2008, 11:56 PM
i think right now the offensive line is very difficult to speculate on because we dont know what gibbs and kubiak are trying to implement into their scheme. it wouldnt suprise me at all to see salaam-pitts-mckinney-weary(?)-winston as it was last year ... nor would it suprise me if we had 5 new starters who earned spots in training camp because they fit where we're heading better than our current starters. guys like studdard, myers, eslinger, spencer (hoping), and white will be competing for spots this year and that's not including any other signings, trades, or the draft which is possible to land us a first round lineman.

left tackle is the spot most up for grabs and the most worrysome. it's foolish to assign spencer that spot because for all we know he may never play again and salaam despite his hard work and effort just isnt good enough. this is the hole and all improvement goes to the wayside unless we add talent at left tackle. center is deep atleast on the charts and i can see a guy like eslinger or white or myers being moved to guard. where center is a problem is production and still leaves our 2nd biggest hole on offense until we see what the younger guys can do. mckinney and flanagan arent good enough, myers has played in 11 games, eslinger's yet to play (i think), and white has only seen action in 6 games as a backup. myers IMO is (or should be) leading the way at center. mckinney IMO should play first backup because he fades fast but in short bursts (a game or two at a time) is very good. flanagan has lost his legs, period. weary - what is his injury and contract situation because i havent kept up? pitts' production IMO has fallen off steadily, i dont think he's guaranteed a spot but i dont like our depth at LG unless one of the young players really impresses in camp (studdard i'd like to see pushing for the right guard spot as a nasty road grader and a backup center like mckinney or white possibly pushing pitts out). winston is our only real sure thing at right tackle ... solid play from a solid player who shows improvement every game and should fit the system well.

it's hard to guess which players are going to be in, but the one thing i'm sure of is that assuming left tackle is handled ... we're going to like the 2008 texans' offense and namely our offensive line. wow that last part was hard to say.

Scooter
03-20-2008, 12:14 AM
The Texans ran predominately ZBS the last two years under Capers. They did not however believe in cut blocking.

as with stereotyping the linemen needed, i think that advertising offensive running games as primarily zone blocking is also too generalized. i'm as far from an expert as a fan can be but the ZBS isnt simply movement, space, and second level ... it's an offensive scheme that is based on design. capers and sherman were accused of running a zone blocking scheme but it wasnt one that involve the cutblocking, runningback detail, or creating holes by walling off in one direction while moving 3 or 4 in the pattern. it's a very precise series of assignements and gibbs is the premier hardass because one flaw ruins the play. the texans ran a more kubiak ZBS during his first preseason here and i think this year we'll see us take that and push it farther into how it's meant to be run. we saw glimpses of it in our stretch plays and bootlegs towards the end of the season but even they seemed to be simplified.

this is why i think it's very tough to guess who will be where on the roster because we havent for all intents & purposes ever ran the zone blocking scheme. pitts, salaam, flanagan, and weary all seemed to struggle IMO in the areas that are going to be key going into next season.

Polo
03-20-2008, 09:13 AM
There's inside zone and outside zone.


Inside Zone looks a little bit like man blocking except...its not....

Zone blocking can sometimes become man blocking, but that's only because of what the defense is doing...but then again it doesn't really "become man blocking"...it just looks like it does...

In zone blocking lineman are pretty much taught to take their steps according to what front the defense is in and then pretty much let things sort themselves out after the snap...

You don't chase guys like you would in man blocking...

Basically in zoneblocking you're almost letting the defense dictate where the ball carrier goes...If the defense overplays most of the time there will be a clear cutback lane because of how the plays are designed...

A lot of it is timing, selling blocks, and having RB's and OL's who are intelligent and disciplined...