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Texans_Chick
04-15-2008, 09:18 PM
Hey, I know that this has been mentioned in passing in the LZ draft show thread, and a little bit in the Travis Johnson thread, but I believe that this topic is worth being highlighted so here it is:

FanHouse: Texans Defensive Line Coach Talks About Mario and More (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2008/04/15/texans-defensive-line-coach-talks-about-mario-and-more/)

Basically, I highlighted some of the things I thought were interesting in the Jethro Franklin interview that was done on John and Lance's show, with a little bit of commentary about it. If you are able, I think the interview is worth a listen.

And thanks to LZ and John for doing such a great interview and getting some answers to some questions that really shouldn't be breaking news but turned out to be information that I haven't seen anywhere else. We like to beyotch about what is wrong with local media, but I much prefer saying what I like.

Yankee_In_TX
04-15-2008, 09:25 PM
Thanks TC!

On defensive tackle Amobi Okoye: His youth is no excuse as he has always played against older guys. He has some things to work on that are private between Franklin and Okoye. One of the things that he needs to work on is finishing plays.

Anyone have speculation?

Polo
04-15-2008, 09:26 PM
His endurance.

Fox
04-15-2008, 09:27 PM
Hey, I know that this has been mentioned in passing in the LZ draft show thread, and a little bit in the Travis Johnson thread, but I believe that this topic is worth being highlighted so here it is:

FanHouse: Texans Defensive Line Coach Talks About Mario and More (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2008/04/15/texans-defensive-line-coach-talks-about-mario-and-more/)

Basically, I highlighted some of the things I thought were interesting in the Jethro Franklin interview that was done on John and Lance's show, with a little bit of commentary about it. If you are able, I think the interview is worth a listen.

And thanks to LZ and John for doing such a great interview and getting some answers to some questions that really shouldn't be breaking news but turned out to be information that I haven't seen anywhere else. We like to beyotch about what is wrong with local media, but I much prefer saying what I like.

Great piece. Most interesting parts to me were 1. Anthony Weaver could actually make an impact for us this year, and 2. According to our d-line coach, Travis Johnson is a great fit and a very good player for this team.

Texans_Chick
04-15-2008, 09:44 PM
Great piece. Most interesting parts to me were 1. Anthony Weaver could actually make an impact for us this year, and 2. According to our d-line coach, Travis Johnson is a great fit and a very good player for this team.

Of course, there's no point in Franklin dumping these guys in the grease because Weaver's cap situation is bad, and the Texans aren't likely drafting Dlineman high yet again.

Texans_Chick
04-15-2008, 09:45 PM
Thanks TC!



Anyone have speculation?

I think at the end of the year that they go over things with all the players, but that they don't like sharing those things to the public at large. No sense telling your enemies your weaknesses.

barrett
04-16-2008, 12:03 PM
I loved the comments about Travis Johnson! Watching him at the games last year I really felt like he was playing with a higher "motor" than anyone on the field other than maybe Robinson. I remember him flying sideline to sideline (and picking up 15 for a late hit) but he was flying. Making tackles in the numbers, taking up space in the middle. I thought he played outstanding. I've been trying to defend him all year. I think he is playing great. I'd like to see him improve against the pass but as a tackler and a ball hawk, I think he's really doing well.

Polo
04-16-2008, 12:12 PM
I'd like to see him improve against the pass but as a tackler and a ball hawk, I think he's really doing well.

Playing the position he does, he's not going to get a lot of Sacks...

Playing the pass well for him = batted passes/getting his hands up

badboy
04-16-2008, 04:01 PM
This need to be a break out year for Weaver and another step forward by TJ.

Revolution
04-16-2008, 04:47 PM
Thanks for always being a value add to the board TC!

Texans_Chick
04-16-2008, 09:45 PM
Thanks for always being a value add to the board TC!

I appreciate the kind words. I like having peeps to talk Texans football with. Most of my friends are very casual fans if fans at all.

I figure if I'm looking this stuff up anyway because I'm curious about it, I might as well share it with other peoples. The blog posts are kind of funny way of doing things because they are a type of informal history.

Marcus
04-17-2008, 01:48 AM
In the modern salary cap era, there are a ton of teams who rely on young defensive players in key roles, and they don't end up in the bottom three defensive rankings each year. Franklin repeated throughout the interview that they refuse to make excuses, and that they just have to play. Of course, that is what a coach has to say in the face of inexperience and injuries, but it would be nice to see what their defense is actually supposed to look like.

Do you feel comfortable staying pat with a healthy Anthony Weaver, Mario Williams, Amobi Okoye and Travis Johnson as your starting defensive line? I'm not sure that there really is any other option than that given how much salary is tied up on the line.

When you say "but it would be nice to see what their defense is actually supposed to look like", what are you really getting at? I'm not sure I understand what is you want to see? Are you referring to scheme, playing potential, what?

I think it's worth bearing in mind that Mario has played just two seasons, Amobi just one season, Travis has three seasons. All three of them won't even reach thier primes for another five or six years. But I've seen flashes from all three of them so far that has me excited about watching them grow and play together. I'm not as worried about the defense as some people are. Not only do I think they'll be just fine, I think watching the defense play will be more fun than watching the offense.

maddogmrb
04-17-2008, 09:16 AM
I think our DL will be fine IF the OLBs and Safeties step it up at least a couple of notches.

Mario COULD be awesome. I hope he builds on what he accomplished last year. Sometimes FEELING some success adds coals to fire of desire.

Amobi should be improved, too. I think they played him too much last year for as young and inexperienced as he is. Obviously, the talent is there but, sometimes getting less PT and having the opportunity to actually experience the game from the sideline is beneficial to younger, not as mature players. I hope they develop some kind of rotation this year and allow him more time to grow into the position.

Weaver and Johnson are "team" defensive players and are okay in that role if the OLBs can pick up their game it will make an impact on how effective they are as part of the team defense.

:fans:

Texans_Chick
04-17-2008, 10:01 AM
When you say "but it would be nice to see what their defense is actually supposed to look like", what are you really getting at? I'm not sure I understand what is you want to see? Are you referring to scheme, playing potential, what?

I think it's worth bearing in mind that Mario has played just two seasons, Amobi just one season, Travis has three seasons. All three of them won't even reach thier primes for another five or six years. But I've seen flashes from all three of them so far that has me excited about watching them grow and play together. I'm not as worried about the defense as some people are. Not only do I think they'll be just fine, I think watching the defense play will be more fun than watching the offense.

More philosophy and scheme together.

What we know about the offense is that Kubiak wanted to bring the Denver playbook to Houston. There's been bumps in the road with the running game because 1. who we have had at RB and 2. the blocking was different than Denver.

Even though he hasn't been completely able to do his thing yet because he hadn't had the pieces and parts together, you can see vast improvement on the offensive side of the ball compared to the cobbled together offense of the old coaching regime. Kubiak is able to target guys in free agency and the draft who fit what he values in his offense.

What do we know about the defense? We know that Richard Smith has never been a sole DC before. That in his previous spot, it was Nick Saban's defense, and Saban was in the defensive meetings. That Miami ran a 3-4.

When Richard Smith came to Houston, the newspaper had a brief story on what Smith's defense is supposed to look like: an aggressive 4-3. That doesn't tell you squat about what it is supposed to look like. Different ways a 4-3 can look.

Throughout the league, you know what different defenses value. For example, the Colts value fast guys on the line, and don't care so much on the backend because of the Tampa 2. You know what a Pittsburgh defense is supposed to look like. Or a Patriots defense. Often the best teams in the league have a specific identity and philsophy for a side of the ball, and then they acquire players relentlessly to suit that philosophy.

In the modern salary cap era, targeting your kind of players becomes more and more important because you don't want to invest in guys who don't really do what you are looking to do (Anthony Weaver perhaps?) I do not know what Richard Smith's philosophy on defense is. Is it just whatever his assistants like to run? Does Hoke just do his thing for the secondary and Franklin do his thing on the line?

When I am looking to see what the Texans value on their defense for purposes of the draft, its hard to pinpoint which guys they would think would be good fits for what they are trying to do because a lot of times I can't see what they are trying to do.

For example, I think Okoye plays the same position that TJ plays. I would think that the Texans would like a space eating DT, but apparently from the Franklin interview, that is not something that this defense values.

The Texans defense was ranked by footballoutsiders.com as 32nd in 2005, 31st in 2006, and 30th in 2007. Ew. With that sort of way below league average performance, I think it is valid to wonder whether the defensive coaches actually have a defensive philosophy or if they are just aquiring random guys on defense that they think are good players. (or in free agency, just the best guys who are available who are willing to come here).

I have no idea what type of defensive philosophy that the team is shooting for once that their young guys get developed, they get more pieces and parts, they aren't so injured, and the planets and stars are all properly aligned.

In the few years of Richard Smith DC'ing, I have seen some really counterintuitive defensive play calling. The first three games of 2006 demonstrated a defense that was completely miscoached. That the players couldn't come close to doing what Smith wanted them to do. The defensive play calling at the end of a number of Titans games was peculiar. I'm still traumatized by the defensive play calling of the Texans-Buffalo game.

Hey, I realize how hard it is to grow a team. But I would have more confidence in this process if I could look to the DC and say, "Hey that defensive coordinator had terrific success when he was with Chicago--just be patient."

The Texans have a bad defense, the defensive coordinator has no history of success, and we have still have no idea what his defense is supposed to look like.

Each week in the season, we get the story about how the defense we will see on the field has been dumbed down because they couldn't run it the way Smith wanted to, and the secondary had to play so simple because they didn't have the personnel to do anything else. I would love it if this is the season where they get to unleash the hounds. But even if the Texans go secondary at #18, do you think we get to see something more complex on the backside of this defense?

I also believe that you need in the modern salary cap era a very teachable, easy to learn and implement defense. With the way free agents move around, and the dependance that good teams need to have on young players, you need a defense that works, that they have confidence in, that players want to play in, and can be taught quickly. This should be known as the anti-Vic Fangio rule.

I do not mean to be unnecessarily alarmist, and I do not have a reputation as being someone who is an impatient fan who wants to fire everyone. I am just a fan of great defenses, and I wish I was seeing more evidence that makes me believe that the Texans are going to be on their way to a great defense. The league is littered with teams who have repeatedly drafted defense high and got nothing from it because the defenses as a whole were miscoached.

On the offensive side of the ball, you have at least four guys who are on the same page philosophically: Gary Kubiak, Kyle Shanahan, Alex Gibbs, Brian Pariani. You know exactly what they want to do on that side of the ball, even if they are still developing players and don't have all their players yet. It is not a surprise that the fastest rising teams after a coaching change are the ones that took their staffs with them. The defense, however, is a mishmash.

I dearly hope that the Texans go from one of the worst defenses in the league to one of the best with little change in personnel from 2007 to 2008. I worry that this is unlikely. I would settle for maybe just league average.

El Tejano
04-17-2008, 10:58 AM
TC, can you please tell us how you really feel?

barrett
04-17-2008, 11:27 AM
i totally agree about the defense lacking identity. i've debated the "fire richard smith" thing with dalemuphy until i think he's pretty. i just can't help but feel like his personnel has been as big, if not bigger, issue than his philosophy. Given, i have no idea what his philosophy is. Like you said, all I ever heard was very early on. It was supposed to be an aggressive 4-3. Does that mean blitzes alot? Does that mean lots of in your face, bump and run man to man? It usually doesn't mean both at the same time.

I look at our defense and what I see are a bunch of players that didn't fit that style. To go back and do the research and find out who was here when Smith got here and who he's added would probably show a direction in the player selection.

For certain, since he's been here we've been drafting more aggressive defensive players. Demeco Ryans, Mario Williams, Amobi Okoye, Fred Bennett....

Of the guys who were already hear I can only say that I think Dunta Robinson is an aggressive player. Morlon Greenwood seems much less attacking. Weaver as well. Faggins, C.C. Brown and Glenn Earl all seem less aggressive. Perhaps it's just that there abilities hinders there actions.

You have to give something to Richard Smith for dealing with last years injuries. He had to "dumb it down" when we lost half our secondary and were bringing in guys off the street. And the truth is the secondary got better after he did that. For a few weeks. Then the simplicity of it caught up to us as the other teams literally just game planned around our vanilla D.

I guess my point is just that It does seem to me that we are bringing in guys that fit a "system" or at least a direction. It may not be a system that has it's own name like the Tampa 2 or anything like that. But It seems to me it's a system that depends on fast smart aggressive play. And I'd say that the players we've added since Richard Smith has been the DC are those types of players.

So, be patient, not three years patient, but patient.

dalemurphy
04-17-2008, 05:20 PM
More philosophy and scheme together.

What we know about the offense is that Kubiak wanted to bring the Denver playbook to Houston. There's been bumps in the road with the running game because 1. who we have had at RB and 2. the blocking was different than Denver.

Even though he hasn't been completely able to do his thing yet because he hadn't had the pieces and parts together, you can see vast improvement on the offensive side of the ball compared to the cobbled together offense of the old coaching regime. Kubiak is able to target guys in free agency and the draft who fit what he values in his offense.

What do we know about the defense? We know that Richard Smith has never been a sole DC before. That in his previous spot, it was Nick Saban's defense, and Saban was in the defensive meetings. That Miami ran a 3-4.

When Richard Smith came to Houston, the newspaper had a brief story on what Smith's defense is supposed to look like: an aggressive 4-3. That doesn't tell you squat about what it is supposed to look like. Different ways a 4-3 can look.

Throughout the league, you know what different defenses value. For example, the Colts value fast guys on the line, and don't care so much on the backend because of the Tampa 2. You know what a Pittsburgh defense is supposed to look like. Or a Patriots defense. Often the best teams in the league have a specific identity and philsophy for a side of the ball, and then they acquire players relentlessly to suit that philosophy.

In the modern salary cap era, targeting your kind of players becomes more and more important because you don't want to invest in guys who don't really do what you are looking to do (Anthony Weaver perhaps?) I do not know what Richard Smith's philosophy on defense is. Is it just whatever his assistants like to run? Does Hoke just do his thing for the secondary and Franklin do his thing on the line?

When I am looking to see what the Texans value on their defense for purposes of the draft, its hard to pinpoint which guys they would think would be good fits for what they are trying to do because a lot of times I can't see what they are trying to do.

For example, I think Okoye plays the same position that TJ plays. I would think that the Texans would like a space eating DT, but apparently from the Franklin interview, that is not something that this defense values.

The Texans defense was ranked by footballoutsiders.com as 32nd in 2005, 31st in 2006, and 30th in 2007. Ew. With that sort of way below league average performance, I think it is valid to wonder whether the defensive coaches actually have a defensive philosophy or if they are just aquiring random guys on defense that they think are good players. (or in free agency, just the best guys who are available who are willing to come here).

I have no idea what type of defensive philosophy that the team is shooting for once that their young guys get developed, they get more pieces and parts, they aren't so injured, and the planets and stars are all properly aligned.

In the few years of Richard Smith DC'ing, I have seen some really counterintuitive defensive play calling. The first three games of 2006 demonstrated a defense that was completely miscoached. That the players couldn't come close to doing what Smith wanted them to do. The defensive play calling at the end of a number of Titans games was peculiar. I'm still traumatized by the defensive play calling of the Texans-Buffalo game.

Hey, I realize how hard it is to grow a team. But I would have more confidence in this process if I could look to the DC and say, "Hey that defensive coordinator had terrific success when he was with Chicago--just be patient."

The Texans have a bad defense, the defensive coordinator has no history of success, and we have still have no idea what his defense is supposed to look like.

Each week in the season, we get the story about how the defense we will see on the field has been dumbed down because they couldn't run it the way Smith wanted to, and the secondary had to play so simple because they didn't have the personnel to do anything else. I would love it if this is the season where they get to unleash the hounds. But even if the Texans go secondary at #18, do you think we get to see something more complex on the backside of this defense?

I also believe that you need in the modern salary cap era a very teachable, easy to learn and implement defense. With the way free agents move around, and the dependance that good teams need to have on young players, you need a defense that works, that they have confidence in, that players want to play in, and can be taught quickly. This should be known as the anti-Vic Fangio rule.

I do not mean to be unnecessarily alarmist, and I do not have a reputation as being someone who is an impatient fan who wants to fire everyone. I am just a fan of great defenses, and I wish I was seeing more evidence that makes me believe that the Texans are going to be on their way to a great defense. The league is littered with teams who have repeatedly drafted defense high and got nothing from it because the defenses as a whole were miscoached.

On the offensive side of the ball, you have at least four guys who are on the same page philosophically: Gary Kubiak, Kyle Shanahan, Alex Gibbs, Brian Pariani. You know exactly what they want to do on that side of the ball, even if they are still developing players and don't have all their players yet. It is not a surprise that the fastest rising teams after a coaching change are the ones that took their staffs with them. The defense, however, is a mishmash.

I dearly hope that the Texans go from one of the worst defenses in the league to one of the best with little change in personnel from 2007 to 2008. I worry that this is unlikely. I would settle for maybe just league average.


I am in almost complete agreement with you regarding Richard Smith. I've been concerned about the lack of identity for some time. After all, if fans like us, who read everything and watch every game with a discerning eye, aren't sure what they are even trying to do- I'd say that may be an indicator of trouble.

Having said that, I would expect dramatic improvement this season on defense. I think the talent has improved dramatically and the youth is developing well. Whether they are philosophically confused on the defensive staff or not, obviously they are doing some good coaching- the improvement of Travis Johnson and Mario Williams and the development of Demeco Ryans as a probowl linebacker are evidence of that. So, I would expect Bennett and Okoye to make strides, Mario, Demeco, and TJ to continue to play well, and contributions from some rookies and perhaps guys like Brandon Harrison and Cochran to contribute as well...

I want an identity though, because the defense will never be great without one. We should see an identity emerge this year. If not, changes need to be made- despite what will be some rather drastic improvement.

Rex King
04-17-2008, 05:45 PM
As always, great discussion starter, TC.

i just can't help but feel like his personnel has been as big, if not bigger, issue than his philosophy.
That's where I get stuck - can't tell what his philosophy is because of the injuries to and quality of the personnel. Does he really not want to blitz as indicated by the first few games of 06 and 07, or is he protecting a weak secondary...blah, blah, blah?

For the first time, I think we are actually getting a glimpse of the types of players, and subsequently, type of system they want to run. Despite the anticipation that they would play zone coverage with the hiring of Ray Rhodes, we've heard they want to play more press/bump and run man coverage, concident with the signing of Reeves, who is reportedly a better fit for this type of scheme. We've also heard they prefer speed over size up front. I'm concerned they'll continue to struggle to stop the run inside, but I'm willing to see how it works, particularly with the additions of Bentley and Thompson, and probably Diles starting at SLB.

Honestly, I'm not as worried about the pass rush. Though the stats don't reflect it, Amobi appeared IMO to get a second wind toward the end of the season, and I think it helped Mario's late push. If AO shows more consistency, which I think he will, I think the front four will be able to get enough pressure without having to draft a DE. Smith also showed some wrinkles, rushing Charlie Anderson from the weak side with good success - Thompson has a good track record here. Smith probably has got a better handle now on what works and what doesn't with the personnel he has. I don't really care so much about identity, but I don't think he'll have the excuse of personnel this season.

Polo
04-17-2008, 07:00 PM
Folks want Richard smith to blitz, but who is he going to blitz with ? Greenwood ? Danny Clark? Our DB's??? LOL...

Demeco has been our best Blitzing LB, but you don't want to blitz your mike all the time...

Look who he's had playing on the side of him...

I wouldn't say that we've had the best LB and DB core for blitzing...Not to mention our less than stellar secondary...

Blitzing takes instinct and atleticism...The LB's we have had minus Demeco have lacked in both IMHO...Our LB's haven't been overly quick, fast, or instinctive...

Most teams that blitz a lot/often have more than one LB capable of doing so...

IMHO, if we just had one more "play making" LB, our defense would look a hell of a lot better...

I know folks like Greenwood, but IMHO, he's nothing...He's steady and he can make tackles when the ball carrier is in his area, but he's not what I'd consider to be a "play maker"...Our SLB's have really been nothing...

Another LB with athleticism and playmaking ability would help out in blitzing, pass coverage and run stopping which would in turn allow us to open up our defense a little more......JMO...

Even if we got another shutdown DB, who are you planning on blitzing that you think can really bring some heat besides Demeco ?

nero THE zero
04-17-2008, 08:25 PM
I'm hesitant to reply to this because I certainly am not qualified to speak on something as complex as NFL schemes, but I feel like I am seeing something you guys aren't. First and foremost, I think it is a terrible oversimplification to want to "classify" your defense's scheme. Just because our defense doesn't have a "name" doesn't mean it lacks philosophy or scheme. And even defenses with names (Tampa 2) are really different variations of each other. Just as every team that runs a WCO runs a different variation of a similiar offense. What I'm trying to say is that NFL scheme is so entirely complex and dynamic that slapping some inane name on it really isn't telling you anything.

With that being said, I do feel like I have seen -- from quotes from the coaches to the type of players acquired -- some semblence of a preference in personnel.

With the line it seems like they want big, athletic guys. Franklin addresses that in this interview by saying they want big guys that can move, and that is reflected in the linemen they field. There is not a big difference in size from our DE to our DT. Our DE are all around 280 lbs with the exception of Kalu (265 lbs) and Mario (291 lbs). Our DT are all 290lbs-300lbs. Our starting linemen are 291 lbs 305 lbs 302 lbs 280 lbs. Big, athletic linemen.

In a safety it seems they want a guy who can hit hard and play the run. Then haven't seem to put much emphasis on a centerfield, ball-hawk type FS. I have said this since we passed up Reggie Nelson and several other opportunities to find a safety with ball skills. That's not to say that they don't want a safety with ball skills, but, from what I have seen, they put more emphasis on a safety who is physical.

In corner, from the quotes this offseason, they want big guys who can press. This is testing the limits of my knowledge because I'm not familiar with the intricacies of playing off the reciever with zone blitzes (apparently what Phillips runs in Dallas) versus playing on the reciever (apparently what we brought Reeves in here to do.) So, what I surmise from this is that we want our corners to have size, speed, and the ability to play on the reciever. Whatever that translates to in scheme is beyond me.

At linebacker I think we just want guys who are smart and make plays. Both Diles and Ryans have been characterized as smart, undersized linebackers, and they have both been drafted by Kubiak and are penciled in as starters for now. Greenwood is a holdover from the Capers era but I don't think you can argue much with his performance. He might not be ideal for what we want to do (or he might be) but I think his performance suffices until we can put someone better in his place.

So, to me, there are consistencies in what we have been doing. They want big (280-300-ish,) athletic guys on the line. They want big, physical guys in the backfield. And they want smart, instinctive guys at LB. Again, maybe I'm wrong, maybe my naivete to the intricacies of NFL scheme have caused me to misunderstand what they're doing personnel wise, but there seems to be a fairly clear pattern to me.

**And, as an interesting aside, Travis Johnson isn't listed on the '08 roster.
http://houstontexans.com/team/roster.asp?sort_by=3

Marcus
04-17-2008, 08:53 PM
Well thought out and well written post, TC. As always. Kudos.

But I fundamentally disagree with it because, IMO, you got it all bassackwards.

A team has never . . . and never will, get an "identity" until they are successful. You will never see what the philosophy is, until they are successful. If your defense is yes, 30, 31, and 32 in the league, then naturally you're not going to see any "identity" or any "philosophy". What's curious though, even though there are obvious references to the injuries, lack of talent, and lack of experience, why are those not taken into account when evaluating Richard Smith?

And it's real easy to find an "identity" and "philosophy" on the Colts, Steelers, and Patriots, being since they are playoff teams and all. Can you find any "identity" or "philosophy" on the teams that had losing records last year?

If Mario, Amobi, TJ, and the rest of the defense starts playing well because of the addition of talent and experience, would that mean the Richard Smith finally came up with a "philosophy", and the team gets an "identity"?

Player talent and experience is naturally highly underrated, because there are no shortcuts. But coaching and philosophy are naturally highly overrated, because there are.

TexansSeminole
04-17-2008, 08:56 PM
A team has never . . . and never will, get an "identity" until they are successful. You will never see what the philosophy is, until they are successful. If your defense is yes, 30, 31, and 32 in the league, then naturally you're not going to see any "identity" or any "philosophy". What's curious though, even though there are obvious references to the injuries, lack of talent, and lack of experience, why are those not taken into account when evaluating Richard Smith?

And it's real easy to find an "identity" and "philosophy" on the Colts, Steelers, and Patriots, being since they are playoff teams and all. Can you find any "indentity" or "philosophy" on the teams that had losing records last year?

If Mario, Amobi, TJ, and the rest of the defense starts playing well because of the addition of talent and experience, would that mean the Richard Smith finally came up with a "philosophy", and the team gets an "identity"?

Player talent and experience is naturally highly underrated, because there are no shortcuts. But coaching and philosophy are naturally highly overrated, because there are.

I actually agree with this.

edo783
04-17-2008, 09:23 PM
I now y'all might not climb on the TC bus, but the truth is we are not a defined defence. (y'all wont believed how hard that was to type when pissed) We need to develope a knock then snott of you mentality. Mother Pucker who goes acosse the middle. If we had knivi:mshadows: es I would inveserate them. But, well, that's just me.

Texans_Chick
04-18-2008, 10:11 AM
Well thought out and well written post, TC. As always. Kudos.

But I fundamentally disagree with it because, IMO, you got it all bassackwards.

A team has never . . . and never will, get an "identity" until they are successful. You will never see what the philosophy is, until they are successful. If your defense is yes, 30, 31, and 32 in the league, then naturally you're not going to see any "identity" or any "philosophy". What's curious though, even though there are obvious references to the injuries, lack of talent, and lack of experience, why are those not taken into account when evaluating Richard Smith?

And it's real easy to find an "identity" and "philosophy" on the Colts, Steelers, and Patriots, being since they are playoff teams and all. Can you find any "identity" or "philosophy" on the teams that had losing records last year?

If Mario, Amobi, TJ, and the rest of the defense starts playing well because of the addition of talent and experience, would that mean the Richard Smith finally came up with a "philosophy", and the team gets an "identity"?

Player talent and experience is naturally highly underrated, because there are no shortcuts. But coaching and philosophy are naturally highly overrated, because there are.


I see your point but I believe you are wrong. I don't see "identity" the same way as philosophy, which I see as more scheme-what talent you value oriented.

I'm not talking about identity--that a dominating defense is known for its style of play. I am just talking basics. What attributes are valued by the defense at different positions? If you can compare the Texans defense to some other defenses in the league, when the Texans have all their pieces and parts, who would they most resemble?

I've asked that last question to people from reporters to coaches to fans, and never really get any good answers. I don't have a good answer to that because I have no idea what the heck they are trying to do on defense.

Tony Dungy along with Monte Kiffen installed a very specific defense at Tampa Bay before TB became good. He installed his philosophy of defense with the Colts when he went to the Colts.

When Kubiak came to the Texans, he had a very specific philosophy for the team's offense that you could see right away, even though they were not a successful team, and it didn't work all the time and he didn't have all the right personnel. You could see it when they drafted and when they acquired personnel.

You could also see the scheme making players better than the collection of random talent.

(You could also see that when offensive philosophies collided Green Bay/Denver, it maybe didn't create such a good direction as it related to acquiring offensive linemen/running backs).

My point is this:

Either:

a. The Texans do not have a clearly identifiable defensive philosophy and they are just making stuff up as they go along.

b. The Texans defense does have a specific philosophy but that it hasn't been articulated very well to the fanbase, and the real form of it hasn't been seen on the field due to injuries and inexperience.

We have repeatedly been told that a lot of things have been simplified down because of problems in the secondary and inexperience up front. They did end up mixing it up in the front a little. Originally, Smith unleashed his defense at the beginning of 2006, and it was so bad and so confusing to the players, that Kubiak had to step in and help the defensive side of the ball out.

You might think that "a" above is ridiculous, and that no NFL team would do such a thing. Of course, the Texans didn't have much of a rational offensive philosophy in its early years. At first, they were doing stuff that wasn't working because of personnel. Then they simplified it down. Capers did some tinkering. And eventually this evolved to the awful Palmer/Pendry mishmashed train wreck that resulted in 2005.

The defense philosophy I have seen so far is completely reactionary. That from week to week, their game plan has been to not do the thing that sucked so bad the week before.


With the line it seems like they want big, athletic guys. Franklin addresses that in this interview by saying they want big guys that can move, and that is reflected in the linemen they field. There is not a big difference in size from our DE to our DT. Our DE are all around 280 lbs with the exception of Kalu (265 lbs) and Mario (291 lbs). Our DT are all 290lbs-300lbs. Our starting linemen are 291 lbs 305 lbs 302 lbs 280 lbs. Big, athletic linemen.

By NFL standards those aren't big linemen. The Jaguars, for example, have carried some big DTs. Albert Haynesworth with the Titans is what I would consider a big DT.

But my question about the defensive roster is, are we picking guys to suit our system (whatever the heck that is) or are we picking guys because we are just making do with the best we can get in a short period?


But going back to my original point, I think this goes to an NFL bias I have. I believe the best teams in the league have a staff that works well together, and believes in the same distinct philosophy. That it is no surprise that some of the best coaching changes happen when a head coach comes to a team with a lot of "his disciples" to help him mold his vision for the team. And that teams have a harder time when they have a staff that has a mismash of philosophies.

It is hard enough for a team to come together behind a way of doing things if the coaching staff doesn't know what their way of doing things is. Having a proven philosophy/scheme of the way you do things means that you know that it works. It's been battle tested.

This is one of the reasons why I was skeptical about the Sherman/Kubiak mix of WCO. And it is one of the reasons why I wonder about the defense.

Of course, the Texans have huge personnel deficits on defense. You only need to look at how few players are left from the 2005 roster. We have years of draft picks who are no longer are on the team but would be in the primes of their careers if they were any good. And as you know, I am willing to be patient for player development, and I don't go off the handle about that stuff.

But....you can't tell me you don't have any concerns about an unproven defensive coordinator, who has never had any success building a defense from scratch, who has made a number of questionable decisions, whose defense craters if he tries to unleash it to what it is "supposed to look like," and whose defense is ranked in the bottom of the league for two years in a row.

I do not think coaching and scheme is overrated. In the modern salary cap era of player movement and relying on young players in key positions, you need coaches who can install a proven scheme the players can understand quickly, so that they can just get on the field and play. Yeah, the Texans need more talent, but talent can be wasted if you don't get the right guys for what you are trying to do. That they compliment each other and suit your scheme.

Coaching changes can make a huge difference to a team, for better and for worse.

Marcus
04-18-2008, 11:06 AM
I'm not talking about identity--that a dominating defense is known for its style of play. I am just talking basics. What attributes are valued by the defense at different positions? If you can compare the Texans defense to some other defenses in the league, when the Texans have all their pieces and parts, who would they most resemble?

I've asked that last question to people from reporters to coaches to fans, and never really get any good answers. I don't have a good answer to that because I have no idea what the heck they are trying to do on defense.
Tony Dungy along with Monte Kiffen installed a very specific defense at Tampa Bay before TB became good. He installed his philosophy of defense with the Colts when he went to the Colts.

Referring to the statement in bold . .

Do you have an idea what the Patriots, Steelers, and Colts are trying to do on defense? I know that their defenses are successful, but specifically tell me what each of those teams are "trying to do on defense". Tell me what each of those "philosophies" are.

Are you looking for things like "46 defense" like Buddy Ryans, or "Tampa 2" or something?

I don't know why an "aggressive 4-3" is not an appropriate scheme. But you you have to have your multiple million dollar defensive line get pressure on the quarteback, right? Which is something they haven't consistantly done. And you have to have better secondary play. Need I mention DeMarcus Faggins? And you have to not be so depleted by injuries, that you're forced to play rookies. (what I guess you call "dumbing down")

Again, I'm observing that make you make note of the player/talent/injury/experience issues, but it seems that you still don't take them into account regarding Richard Smith.

Bottom line TC, I just get the feeling your mind is already made up about Smith. He didn't come in here with a proven track record of success, therefore, he won't be successful here.

I think he deserves a little bit more time.

Polo
04-18-2008, 11:16 AM
My only thing about not having a defined defensive philosophy is that we play different teams every week...

We cannot play the Colts the same way we play the Jags, and we Can't play Vince the same way we play the Browns....

Every defense changes up how they play week to week and the less talent you have, the more you have to compensate with those changes...

We haven't had the kind of talent on our defense that would allow us to dictate a game defensively....Our LB corp is below average...Our D-line is just starting to come together and I need not mention the secondary...

Don't blame Franklin, blame the previous regime for leaving a jumbled mess that needs to be sorted out...How could he have put together a unit that has defined itself with what we have out there ?

Let these guys have their time to try and sort it out...

nero THE zero
04-18-2008, 11:16 AM
By NFL standards those aren't big linemen. The Jaguars, for example, have carried some big DTs. Albert Haynesworth with the Titans is what I would consider a big DT.

But my question about the defensive roster is, are we picking guys to suit our system (whatever the heck that is) or are we picking guys because we are just making do with the best we can get in a short period?


I should have said bigger DE and smaller DT. Honestly I don't see much difference in personnel preference between the offensive and defensive lines. They want athletic guys that can move. If they can find a bigger guy that is still capable of moving (parallel between Spencer and Mario) then they'll take him. But obviously, they don't want a guy that cannot move around the field.

I don't know. Their personnel preferences don't seem to fit any conventional schemes, but that doesn't mean there isn't one. Apparently they want an athletic line that can get to the QB and big, physical DB that can press. In addition to that they want smart LB who makes plays. I don't know what kind of philosophy, or scheme, or whatever that translates into but it seems like a pretty clear pattern to me.

Polo
04-18-2008, 11:19 AM
And you can't compare the offensive side of the ball (identity wise) with the defensive side...

Defenses tweak the way they play week to week based on offensive personnel and style, not the other way around...

barrett
04-18-2008, 11:43 AM
I don't know why an "aggressive 4-3" is not an appropriate scheme. But you you have to have your multiple million dollar defensive line get pressure on the quarteback, right? Which is something they haven't consistantly done. And you have to have better secondary play. Need I mention DeMarcus Faggins? And you have to not be so depleted by injuries, that you're forced to play rookies. (what I guess you call "dumbing down")

Again, I'm observing that make you make note of the player/talent/injury/experience issues, but it seems that you still don't take them into account regarding Richard Smith.

Bottom line TC, I just get the feeling your mind is already made up about Smith. He didn't come in here with a proven track record of success, therefore, he won't be successful here.

I think he deserves a little bit more time.

totally agreed.

Texans_Chick
04-18-2008, 01:39 PM
Referring to the statement in bold . .

Do you have an idea what the Patriots, Steelers, and Colts are trying to do on defense? I know that their defenses are successful, but specifically tell me what each of those teams are "trying to do on defense". Tell me what each of those "philosophies" are.

Are you looking for things like "46 defense" like Buddy Ryans, or "Tampa 2" or something?

I don't know why an "aggressive 4-3" is not an appropriate scheme. But you you have to have your multiple million dollar defensive line get pressure on the quarteback, right? Which is something they haven't consistantly done. And you have to have better secondary play. Need I mention DeMarcus Faggins? And you have to not be so depleted by injuries, that you're forced to play rookies. (what I guess you call "dumbing down")

Again, I'm observing that make you make note of the player/talent/injury/experience issues, but it seems that you still don't take them into account regarding Richard Smith.

Bottom line TC, I just get the feeling your mind is already made up about Smith. He didn't come in here with a proven track record of success, therefore, he won't be successful here.

I think he deserves a little bit more time.

I think we are talking past each other some.

Where did I say bring out the pink soap for Richard Smith? The main premise of my article is that going into year three of Smith, it is amazing that we don't have a better sense of the players he covets for what his ideal defense would be. That doesn't mean he has no philosophy, though it clearly isn't a proven one because he hasn't run a 4-3 defense before.

It just means the defense is a question mark to the fans, and two years of bad defensive performances makes you uneasy for the future because you are unsure of his direction. Other than bad, because every time it seems he wants to unleash his defense, they have to simplify it again because bad things happen.

And of course, I acknowledged the youth, inexperience and injuries, but you know what, that happens all over the league. You have to draft and acquire players to your strengths, to your scheme.

Let's say you were asked to write up a wiki article about what the Texans offensive philosophy and scheme were and the Texans defensive philosophy and scheme.

Sort of what this wiki freak did with the New England Patriots here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_England_Patriots_strategy).

It would be easy for me to write the part about the Texans offense. Because it is well known what they are trying to run and you can see it on the field, even if it isn't complete.

What would you write for the defense? The Texans run an aggressive 4-3? Nope. The Texans want to run an aggressive 4-3 when they get all their pieces and parts together? I'm not saying that isn't appropriate, but I am just saying that doesn't tell you anything. It's vague. That doesn't mean anything. It doesn't say how they run their secondary or their line. It doesn't say how often they want to blitz, and how well disguised the blitzes are going to be.

When the Texans are done with their perfect defense, will it look like the Eagle's version aggressive 4-3, with quick undersized linemen, physical secondary, a premium put at the linebacker position, and blitzes from all over the place? Who knows.

As it relates to Richard Smith, I would love him to have success. But it is easier to preach patience to me if a guy has more of a track record. To be honest, my complaint as it relates to this is probably more towards the mainstream media to articulate what we are supposed to be seeing on the field. Did you know that Travis Johnson was considered the perfect guy to be next to Amobi Okoye before listening to that interview? Not me.

I pay attention to this stuff because I want to know what the ideal player would be for a Texans defense and what I am supposed to be seeing. It makes it more fun for me to watch the game. I would like to watch the defense without being in constant fear that they are going to give up yet another big play to an aging or inexperienced quarterback.

The biggest change from that awful last year defense to this year is a couple of players, another year in the system whatever that is, and some seasoning. Does this mean we go from the bottom of the league to even average by next year? It makes me worry.

Texans_Chick
04-18-2008, 01:44 PM
And you can't compare the offensive side of the ball (identity wise) with the defensive side...

Defenses tweak the way they play week to week based on offensive personnel and style, not the other way around...

The offensive game plans get adjusted too, depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the defenses you are facing. It's all matchups.

You have a sense of the type of team you are playing from week to week, but every week the offenses and defenses look to exploit matchups.

The Pencil Neck
04-18-2008, 02:08 PM
Here's what I've picked up about our scheme:

1. We want to get pressure from the front four alone and only blitz on occasion.

2. We want to play press man coverage. Although we played a lot of zone during stretches last season, by the end of the season, we were playing more press coverage.

3. We want our DB's to generally be responsible for a side of the field and not switch, e.g., we have a right and left CB and we have a right and left safety.

4. We want tweener safeties so that they don't have to switch sides of the field based on alignment and function as either free or strong safety based on the play.

5. Our LB's appear to normally be in a read/react mode. The mike is frequently left in charge of the deep middle zone similar to a tampa 2.

6. We drop our d-linemen into coverage. That includes DT's as well as DE's. We especially like to do this as our "prevent" style of defense.

Those were just some things I noticed during the year but there are people on this MB who know more about the x's and o's than I do.

barrett
04-18-2008, 03:53 PM
i think those are good general observations. the only thing i can think of differently is the coverage. i still felt like our "big aggressive CB's" when in man were still kind of read and reacting as well. it would have been nice to see where we would be if Dunta had stayed healthy and Bennett had progressed as he did. I feel like Bennett was much better at this "aggressive press coverage" thing than any other corners we had on the field.

i'm not convinced that our "tweener" safeties are skilled enough to perform the tasks required of them. but i do see that they are a certian type of player. they all seem like SS's that are a bit "tweenish". and i do see that our DLine has a certian direction.

I think the most talked about, repeated and reiterated thing over the Richard Smith / Kubiak era has been "we want to get pressure on the QB from our front four". How exactly that translates to the LB's and DB's i'm not sure exactly but I do think that, in part, is the defense style that we run

Lucky
04-18-2008, 04:19 PM
it would have been nice to see where we would be if Dunta had stayed healthy and Bennett had progressed as he did. I feel like Bennett was much better at this "aggressive press coverage" thing than any other corners we had on the field.
That's an excellent point. Robinson and Bennett started only one game as a tandem (in Oakland), and Dunta went down in the 1st Quarter. Just how much improvement would the defense have made with those two on the field together over the 2nd half of the season?

Regarding the safety spots, I'm very interested in how the two Brandons (Harrison & Mitchell) progress during the mini camp and training camp. I remember these guys lining up together in last year's camp thinking they could be the starting combo down the road. They looked like Tampa 2 will LBs. I can't wait to see Ray Rhodes work with them.

Fox
04-18-2008, 04:51 PM
Did you know that Travis Johnson was considered the perfect guy to be next to Amobi Okoye before listening to that interview? Not me.

Of course, there's no point in Franklin dumping these guys in the grease because Weaver's cap situation is bad, and the Texans aren't likely drafting Dlineman high yet again.

:lightbulb:

Here's what I've picked up about our scheme:

1. We want to get pressure from the front four alone and only blitz on occasion.

2. We want to play press man coverage. Although we played a lot of zone during stretches last season, by the end of the season, we were playing more press coverage.

3. We want our DB's to generally be responsible for a side of the field and not switch, e.g., we have a right and left CB and we have a right and left safety.

4. We want tweener safeties so that they don't have to switch sides of the field based on alignment and function as either free or strong safety based on the play.

5. Our LB's appear to normally be in a read/react mode. The mike is frequently left in charge of the deep middle zone similar to a tampa 2.

6. We drop our d-linemen into coverage. That includes DT's as well as DE's. We especially like to do this as our "prevent" style of defense.

Those were just some things I noticed during the year but there are people on this MB who know more about the x's and o's than I do.

Good post Pencil Neck. These are all things I've noticed as well. Our defense definitely has some consistent characteristics to it (even if one of them is being bad). Another thing that was made fairly evident is that a lot of our X's and O's in the defensive line revolve around Mario. They move him from side to side and even inside to create mismatches and confusion.

I was under the impression that we ran quite a bit of press man coverage until Dunta went down, then we used more zone. Did we come back to man at the end of the year? I know some people have been speculating Rhodes influence will cause us to run more zone this year, should be interesting.

I still have patience for Smith, but it'll be running very low if we have another repeat performance. No history of success elsewhere + a 3 year history of failure here with all of the young talent we've been accumulating = we might need to move on if we don't see some improvement.

Marcus
04-18-2008, 05:25 PM
Here's what I've picked up about our scheme:

1. We want to get pressure from the front four alone and only blitz on occasion.

2. We want to play press man coverage. Although we played a lot of zone during stretches last season, by the end of the season, we were playing more press coverage.

3. We want our DB's to generally be responsible for a side of the field and not switch, e.g., we have a right and left CB and we have a right and left safety.

4. We want tweener safeties so that they don't have to switch sides of the field based on alignment and function as either free or strong safety based on the play.

5. Our LB's appear to normally be in a read/react mode. The mike is frequently left in charge of the deep middle zone similar to a tampa 2.

6. We drop our d-linemen into coverage. That includes DT's as well as DE's. We especially like to do this as our "prevent" style of defense.

Those were just some things I noticed during the year but there are people on this MB who know more about the x's and o's than I do.

I think #2 thru #5 are all dependent on #1.

If you want to cut it down to the bare bones, #1 IS the defensive philosophy. Kubiak has much as said so. I agree with this philosophy. I know a lot of people don't, because like I mentioned earlier, that multi-million dollar front 4 isn't doing that consistently enough without "manufacturing a rush with the blitz" . . . (his own words)

I think that's the philosophy, and I think it should be the philosophy.

You send more people in on a blitz to make up for the lack of a rush by the front four, then you can't disguise it, they'll know it's coming, and then they'll burn that man to man coverage that Faggins is forced to use.

For all the money that's being spent on that defensive line . . . that philosophy is sound. And I think with a little more playing time under their belts, that philosophy will be proven.

Polo
04-18-2008, 05:28 PM
I still don't know who you guys want us to blitz...

Quick....Name a good blitzer we have on our team besides Demeco or Dunta...

AustinJB
04-18-2008, 05:48 PM
I still don't know who you guys want us to blitz...

Quick....Name a good blitzer we have on our team besides Demeco or Dunta...

Isn't that supposed to be Chaun Thompson's specialty? Probably a lot of the reason he was signed....not sure, but what about Diles, Bennett?

Polo
04-18-2008, 05:51 PM
Isn't that supposed to be Chaun Thompson's specialty? Probably a lot of the reason he was signed....not sure, but what about Diles, Bennett?

I'm talkign about the '06 '07 Texans...

From those teams who should we have been blitzing ?

barrett
04-18-2008, 06:50 PM
i remember C.C. Brown making a few big plays in the backfield on a blitz. Miami I think? hmmmm Or was it Earl? I hate one of them, can't tackle. I like the other one. The one who can.

J-Russ
04-18-2008, 06:54 PM
i remember C.C. Brown making a few big plays in the backfield on a blitz. Miami I think? hmmmm Or was it Earl? I hate one of them, can't tackle. I like the other one. The one who can.

It was Earl. He got a sack on the first play of the game against Miami, in 2006-07. This past year he didn't play because of the pre-season injury.

aj.
04-18-2008, 09:25 PM
Where did I say bring out the pink soap for Richard Smith? .

If there is someone better out there and available, I would like to get him because I have little faith that Smith can turn it around.http://texanstalk.com/forums/showpost.php?p=822138&postcount=12

I always try to hope that out of bad stuff, good stuff happens. That if a defense is so obviously clueless, maybe this means that we can get rid of Richard Smith, for example.
http://texanstalk.com/forums/showpost.php?p=773189&postcount=37

---------------------
We get it. You don't like Smith as DC because of no track record, lack of identity and repeated trauma. We all want the same thing and frankly I don't care who's right or wrong. Whether Smith can turn it around will most likely be answered this year and if the defense doesn't improve significantly he's probably done. Ours may be a case of too many cooks in the defensive kitchen, especially this year with the addition of Rhodes to a very veteran staff.

Texans_Chick
04-18-2008, 09:53 PM
I think #2 thru #5 are all dependent on #1.

If you want to cut it down to the bare bones, #1 IS the defensive philosophy. Kubiak has much as said so. I agree with this philosophy. I know a lot of people don't, because like I mentioned earlier, that multi-million dollar front 4 isn't doing that consistently enough without "manufacturing a rush with the blitz" . . . (his own words)

I think that's the philosophy, and I think it should be the philosophy.

You send more people in on a blitz to make up for the lack of a rush by the front four, then you can't disguise it, they'll know it's coming, and then they'll burn that man to man coverage that Faggins is forced to use.

For all the money that's being spent on that defensive line . . . that philosophy is sound. And I think with a little more playing time under their belts, that philosophy will be proven.


Is this the philosophy or is this what we are doing because the Texans can't blitz without exposing the backside because of personnel, injuries and inexperience?

I'm not asking that to be rude. I'm asking this because I really do not know.

I thought that this is what the Texans were doing because that was what was working the best. That the team tended to do worse when they blitzed.

If that is the philosophy, it is not what I would identify as an aggressive 4-3.

Texans_Chick
04-18-2008, 10:26 PM
http://texanstalk.com/forums/showpost.php?p=822138&postcount=12


http://texanstalk.com/forums/showpost.php?p=773189&postcount=37

---------------------
We get it. You don't like Smith as DC because of no track record, lack of identity and repeated trauma. We all want the same thing and frankly I don't care who's right or wrong. Whether Smith can turn it around will most likely be answered this year and if the defense doesn't improve significantly he's probably done. Ours may be a case of too many cooks in the defensive kitchen, especially this year with the addition of Rhodes to a very veteran staff.

Wow. It's nice to know that you are paying that much attention. I only brought this philosophy stuff up in this thread because Marcus asked me directly about this subject matter. And I brought it up in the blog post because most readers there do not read what I write here.

There's a time when it makes sense to fire your defensive coordinator if you are going to do it, and that time this year has already passed. I was hopeful that maybe a change would happen in the early offseason if they could find a 4-3 guy who was better, available and interested. No sense beating the drums for him to be canned now. It would be nice to know what he is doing though.

At this point of the year, I am mostly looking to see what players make sense for drafting for whatever the defense they are running. The Jethro Franklin interview were a few breadcrumbs tossed our way giving some idea of what their thought processes.

I do think that there is a concern with too many cooks, especially from very varied backgrounds. As for being a very veteran staff, the Texans staff has a random mishmash of kind of odd backgrounds. Lots of different coaching trees. Rhodes ends up having the most relevant experience in running the show, yet he is an assistant to a guy whose only NFL coaching experience is working for the Texans. Strange.

All this being said, I would be interested to hear your insight of what you believe Smith's plan for the defense is. I bring up the issue of "no philosophy" with sort of the hope that someone here actually does know what the plan is.That maybe I've missed something.

threetoedpete
04-19-2008, 05:17 AM
I loved the comments about Travis Johnson! Watching him at the games last year I really felt like he was playing with a higher "motor" than anyone on the field other than maybe Robinson. I remember him flying sideline to sideline (and picking up 15 for a late hit) but he was flying. Making tackles in the numbers, taking up space in the middle. I thought he played outstanding. I've been trying to defend him all year. I think he is playing great. I'd like to see him improve against the pass but as a tackler and a ball hawk, I think he's really doing well.

Yeah his best play of the year: Had his head up his kister, missed his rotation. comes onto the feild at the last second ...litterally so late onto the feild, he couldn't get into his stance at the snap of the ball...good two feet out of position....and the qb hits him dead in the chest with a pass...interception. better lucky than good I always say. He's a marginal player they were stuck with by a bad CC move. That is all he is. all he is ever going to be...He's an effort guy, not a first round tallent. and no adjective(s) in the world will ever change that. Costs more to ship him out than to keep him.

aj.
04-19-2008, 07:31 AM
Wow. It's nice to know that you are paying that much attention. .

It's kind of hard not to notice, actually.

I would be interested to hear your insight of what you believe Smith's plan for the defense is. I bring up the issue of "no philosophy" with sort of the hope that someone here actually does know what the plan is.That maybe I've missed something.

I'm guessing Smith's plan for his defense is to be tough against the run, get after the quarterback, force turnovers, and don't get beat deep. If they did all that, I'm guessing they would be better statistically and have the identity and readily apparent to fans philosophy you desire.

nero THE zero
04-19-2008, 09:18 AM
Yeah his best play of the year: Had his head up his kister, missed his rotation. comes onto the feild at the last second ...litterally so late onto the feild, he couldn't get into his stance at the snap of the ball...good two feet out of position....and the qb hits him dead in the chest with a pass...interception. better lucky than good I always say. He's a marginal player they were stuck with by a bad CC move. That is all he is. all he is ever going to be...He's an effort guy, not a first round tallent. and no adjective(s) in the world will ever change that. Costs more to ship him out than to keep him.

The Texans re-signed Earl to a 1 year deal on March 10.

painekiller
04-19-2008, 11:00 AM
Yeah his best play of the year: Had his head up his kister, missed his rotation. comes onto the feild at the last second ...litterally so late onto the feild, he couldn't get into his stance at the snap of the ball...good two feet out of position....and the qb hits him dead in the chest with a pass...interception. better lucky than good I always say. He's a marginal player they were stuck with by a bad CC move. That is all he is. all he is ever going to be...He's an effort guy, not a first round tallent. and no adjective(s) in the world will ever change that. Costs more to ship him out than to keep him.

Me think you need to go back and hear the Kubiak post game press conference again. The coaches sent him in late, he did not miss a rotation. Kubiak tried to override Franklin's call for Johnson to be on the field on that play, In the mean time, Johnson gets a bad rap for late substitution.Kubiak's comments on the int (http://www.houstontexans.com/news/Story.asp?story_id=3602)(on DT Travis Johnson’s interception) “That’s a heck of a substitution on (defensive line coach) Jethro’s (Franklin) part. I was screaming at him. I didn’t want him to sub guys in that situation. I’m over there raising hands, and Travis goes in there and gets a pick, so it was a good job by Jethro. I don’t like them swapping personnel like that.”

Vinny
04-19-2008, 11:39 AM
If we are going to be tougher against the run I'd like to see some more size in the middle of the field. DeMeco and both of our starting DT's are a bit on the smallish side so I'd like to see more of a two gap type player next to Okoye next year to keep the guards off Ryans. Playing tougher vs the run and getting teams in 3rd and longer is a key to playing better pass defense.

edo783
04-19-2008, 11:57 AM
If we are going to be tougher against the run I'd like to see some more size in the middle of the field. DeMeco and both of our starting DT's are a bit on the smallish side so I'd like to see more of a two gap type player next to Okoye next year to keep the guards off Ryans. Playing tougher vs the run and getting teams in 3rd and longer is a key to playing better pass defense.

To sort of play off this thought. TJ is pretty quick, but typically the run stoppers are big and not so quick. Could we get TJ to the size needed to be a run stopper and still have him be effective? Not saying, just asking.

Vinny
04-19-2008, 12:11 PM
To sort of play off this thought. TJ is pretty quick, but typically the run stoppers are big and not so quick. Could we get TJ to the size needed to be a run stopper and still have him be effective? Not saying, just asking. I think TJ's game probably suffers when he gets too heavy since most of his highlight moments center on his quickness. He's really good in pursuit and running to the ball since he moves well for a big man....I think he is getting better at the point of attack and perhaps the Texans think he can mature into the kind of player who can man the inside credibly...but I'm a cynic on that one.

Texans_Chick
04-19-2008, 12:52 PM
If we are going to be tougher against the run I'd like to see some more size in the middle of the field. DeMeco and both of our starting DT's are a bit on the smallish side so I'd like to see more of a two gap type player next to Okoye next year to keep the guards off Ryans. Playing tougher vs the run and getting teams in 3rd and longer is a key to playing better pass defense.

That's what I thought too, and that was what was so good about the interview, because LZ asked Franklin this specific question directly, and Franklin said that they had their guy, Travis Johnson. You know, the sort of question, in a perfect world, would you want a space eater, and Franklin said "The perfect world is what we have in Johnson."

So, it is hard to say whether Franklin is sticking up for the guy he has knowing he is unlikely to get anyone else, or if he really does want some more girth at the two-gap DT position.

I am thinking that if the defense wanted some big guys there, they would have got one in free agency. But the guys the Texans tend to acquire in that position are all about the same basic size. No beefy outlier.

Vinny
04-19-2008, 01:21 PM
So, it is hard to say whether Franklin is sticking up for the guy he has knowing he is unlikely to get anyone else, or if he really does want some more girth at the two-gap DT position.

I am thinking that if the defense wanted some big guys there, they would have got one in free agency. But the guys the Texans tend to acquire in that position are all about the same basic size. No beefy outlier.that's exactly why coach-speak has to be looked at with some cynicism. They may feel they can go with "swing tackles" like the offensive line system used by Kubiak. It's like getting the combo TV/VCR/DVD/game system/Home entertainment all in one system that give you the ability in all the areas you need but since none of it specializes you get something that can do many tasks but most of them are done in a mediocre manner.

Texans_Chick
04-19-2008, 01:56 PM
It's kind of hard not to notice, actually.



I'm guessing Smith's plan for his defense is to be tough against the run, get after the quarterback, force turnovers, and don't get beat deep. If they did all that, I'm guessing they would be better statistically and have the identity and readily apparent to fans philosophy you desire.


I do not understand why you are being sarcastic with me. Maybe defensive schemes and philosophies aren't interesting to you, but I think it is a legitimate thing to discuss on a MB, especially when there is nothing else going on.

As I said, I brought this subject up in the thread because Marcus asked me directly about it. And I have been interested in the discussion that has come up talking about it.

Yes, of course, all defenses want to do the things you enumerate and yeah, those are all the things that the Texans have done very poorly over the last three seasons. You listed the objectives of all defenses, and I find it interesting how there is no one scheme or philosophy that can lead to that result.

The Franklin interview, on its face, suggests that the Texans value speed to stop the run at the DT position, and not so much size. Even though Franklin has worked with big size/ guys who can move in his past at the DT position. I'd like to have a better sense of other things that they value on defense.

As I said before, this may be more of a function of the media not asking football-oriented questions on this subject and not a function of Smith not having a plan. And if he had a background as a 4-3 coordinator, we could look to that to see what the plan is, but we don't. So those of us who are interested in this sort of thing have to dig through the scraps to try to figure it out.

Sorry if I bored you with belaboring something you think isn't worth discussing. As you know as a writer, you can't make everybody happy with the things you write. It's just the way it is.

Texans_Chick
04-19-2008, 02:00 PM
that's exactly why coach-speak has to be looked at with some cynicism. They may feel they can go with "swing tackles" like the offensive line system used by Kubiak. It's like getting the combo TV/VCR/DVD/game system/Home entertainment all in one system that give you the ability in all the areas you need but since none of it specializes you get something that can do many tasks but most of them are done in a mediocre manner.

Agreed.

Sort of like how they discuss their safeties. How they say they don't put a premium of distinguishing between strong and free, but that may be more of a function of not having the ability to find a free safety of their liking while remaking the rest of the defense.

Besides, how would a sloppy fat DT survive our hot Houston training camps? :cool:

Marcus
04-19-2008, 03:15 PM
I do not understand why you are being sarcastic with me. Maybe defensive schemes and philosophies aren't interesting to you, but I think it is a legitimate thing to discuss on a MB, especially when there is nothing else going on.

As I said, I brought this subject up in the thread because Marcus asked me directly about it. And I have been interested in the discussion that has come up talking about it.

Yes, of course, all defenses want to do the things you enumerate and yeah, those are all the things that the Texans have done very poorly over the last three seasons. You listed the objectives of all defenses, and I find it interesting how there is no one scheme or philosophy that can lead to that result.

The Franklin interview, on its face, suggests that the Texans value speed to stop the run at the DT position, and not so much size. Even though Franklin has worked with big size/ guys who can move in his past at the DT position. I'd like to have a better sense of other things that they value on defense.

As I said before, this may be more of a function of the media not asking football-oriented questions on this subject and not a function of Smith not having a plan. And if he had a background as a 4-3 coordinator, we could look to that to see what the plan is, but we don't. So those of us who are interested in this sort of thing have to dig through the scraps to try to figure it out.

Sorry if I bored you with belaboring something you think isn't worth discussing. As you know as a writer, you can't make everybody happy with the things you write. It's just the way it is.

Well TC, AJ certainly does not need me to speak up for him, or come to his defense in any fashion, but I'm going to fess up and say I positive rep'd his obvious sarcasm. The reason why, is that he and I both find your statement "Where did I say bring out the pink soap for Richard Smith?" rather disingenuous at best, downright insincere at worst.

You need to go back to the beginning of this discussion and re-read. If you try, you'll see the obvious anti-Smith bias. You're a writer, you should be able to see it if you'd be honest with yourself. There are times that you try to disguise it with "well, maybe the media needs to do a better job" statements and the like, but believe me, you're not fooling anyone.

The Pencil Neck
04-19-2008, 03:24 PM
If we are going to be tougher against the run I'd like to see some more size in the middle of the field. DeMeco and both of our starting DT's are a bit on the smallish side so I'd like to see more of a two gap type player next to Okoye next year to keep the guards off Ryans. Playing tougher vs the run and getting teams in 3rd and longer is a key to playing better pass defense.

I'm going to say something that might not be very popular.

It's always looked to me like our problem with the running game is based on what we have in the middle of the field. I love Demeco but if he's going to be the middle linebacker, then we need bigger DT's in front of him to shield him. I think the original thought with Demeco was to have him on the outside but when we had injuries to our projected starting mike lb's, he got pressed into duty there and did a great job... EXCEPT he's at his worst when people run right at him and the DT's don't stuff it.

A few years ago, the Eagles' D was having a big problem stopping the run and it got fixed when they put big 300# Jeremiah Trotter in as the mike lb. I think our run D would improve with a big thumper in the middle and by moving Demeco to the outside.

Since it appears that our "philosophy" is to have smaller DT's, I'm not sure Demeco is the right guy in the middle.

:hides:

Fox
04-19-2008, 04:07 PM
I'm going to say something that might not be very popular.

It's always looked to me like our problem with the running game is based on what we have in the middle of the field. I love Demeco but if he's going to be the middle linebacker, then we need bigger DT's in front of him to shield him. I think the original thought with Demeco was to have him on the outside but when we had injuries to our projected starting mike lb's, he got pressed into duty there and did a great job... EXCEPT he's at his worst when people run right at him and the DT's don't stuff it.

A few years ago, the Eagles' D was having a big problem stopping the run and it got fixed when they put big 300# Jeremiah Trotter in as the mike lb. I think our run D would improve with a big thumper in the middle and by moving Demeco to the outside.

Since it appears that our "philosophy" is to have smaller DT's, I'm not sure Demeco is the right guy in the middle.

:hides:

Maybe I'm just wearing my steel blue shaded glasses but I disagree. I think Demeco has the athleticism and instincts to be a great LB no matter where we line him up, but when I see our LB's missing plays and tackles in the run game it's rarely Demeco who's left grasping at air. I think a "space eating" DT would help in obvious run downs, but I don't think we'd see a significant improvement by moving Demeco outside unless we found a player of equal or similar caliber to fill his shoes at the mike, which is no easy thing. People are always toying with the idea of moving him to OLB, and I'm not saying it's a bad idea, just saying the guy's a pro-bowl MLB for us and in order to move him you need to find a suitable replacement or else you're just swapping one problem for another.

As an aside, the size of the DT's in front of Demeco (6-1, 240) reminds me of the situation with Ray Lewis (6-1, 250) in Baltimore a few years ago. Ray Lewis was at his best as a play maker with mammoth DT's like Tony Siragusa, Sam Adams, and Maake Kemoeatu in front of him to tie up blockers and let him run free. When they left via FA and retirement his production dropped, he made his concerns known, and they drafted Haloti Ngata to fill the void. Ray Lewis is certainly athletic enough to move around at linebacker, but he was a pro bowler and cornerstone of their D at MLB. Demeco is becoming the cornerstone of our D at MLB. If we make a change in personnel to help via the run I'd like to see it be made at nosetackle.

The Pencil Neck
04-19-2008, 04:34 PM
Maybe I'm just wearing my steel blue shaded glasses but I disagree.

You disagreed and then you didn't disagree. :)

Part of the point of my post is that I see us having 2 options for fixing our run defense:

1. Get bigger DT's to keep them off of Demeco (like they did with Ray Lewis back in the day)
2. Move Demeco to the outside and find a bigger runstuffing type of player for the Mike.

You agreed with me on option #1. However, if Franklin's interview is to be believed, they like the smallish DT's. So we're not going to go with #1.

When I go back and watch games, I see Demeco occasionally getting manhandled on the runs up the middle. Occasionally, he had guys run through him. It wasn't very often but it did happen.

And I'm not saying he's *not* a great LB. He's great wherever we line him up. But we need to design the defense to get the most out of him.

Fox
04-19-2008, 04:39 PM
You disagreed and then you didn't disagree. :)


Yea I kinda noticed that half way through but I'd already started so I just went with it, lol.

I see your point, I just like the idea of getting a bigger nosetackle more than finding a replacement for Demeco at the mike. It seems to me like it'd be easier to find a space eater than it would to find someone who could man the MLB as well or better than Demeco.

Polo
04-19-2008, 04:43 PM
I don't think we need a bigger DT nor a bigger MLB...

I think what we need is better LB's areound Demeco...AKA guys that can actually go and make plays and not guys who just play their responsibilities well...

If every run play we got hurt on was directly up the middle then yeah...I'd agree...

But fact is we get hurt on alot of off tackle and outside stuff...

Give me DB's and LB's more capable of "making plays" or good stick on the ball carrier and we'll be fine...

How many times do we remember a LB or DB coming up to "make a play" on a ball carrier not named Demeco or Dunta ? Not often...

TJ is fine, Demeco is fine....The problem is the lack of support from the other LB's and DB's...Moreso the LB's though....Those guys have been invisible and non-agressive...

Giants were 4th against the run last year and their biggest DT wasn't much bigger than TJ...Te thing they did have was a good LB corp in regards to making plays in the run game...


JMO...

Lucky
04-19-2008, 04:52 PM
Since it appears that our "philosophy" is to have smaller DT's, I'm not sure Demeco is the right guy in the middle.

I don't know if it's really the Texans philosophy so much as dealing with the hand your dealt. The really big 2 gap DTs are hard to find. Per Parcells' planet theory, huge guys who are athletic are a rare commodity. That's why guys like Ted Washington, Keith Traylor, and Grady Jackson can have such a long career. They're very difficult to replace. And that's also why jumbo DT prospects like Red Bryant and Frank Okam will go earlier in the draft than the experts predict.

Ryans is of typical size for the modern 4-3 MLB. One reason is that they're asked to make deep drops in the middle zone. Another is that they're asked to make plays sideline-to-sideline. I don't see Ryans as being rare in needing protection up front. Even a XL MLB like Urlacher is better served by keeping blockers off him.

The Pencil Neck
04-19-2008, 04:59 PM
If every run play we got hurt on was directly up the middle then yeah...I'd agree...

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/dl.php

If you go down about 3/4's of the way down the page, you'll see the rankings for our defensive line for runs at different areas.

We gave up:

left end: 4.51 ypc (24th)
left tackle: 4.73 ypc (20th)
between guards: 4.40 (25th)
right tackle: 3.66 (7th)
right end: 4.33 (19th)

We're great at runs at the right tackle. That's normally Mario.

Everywhere else, we have problems. We give up the most over the left tackle but we're rated lowest in the middle. That's what I think we need to shore up. But, except for Mario, we need help across the board on the run game.

If you go down to the very last bit, we have:

left end: 11%
left tackle: 9%
middle: 59%
right tackle: 10%
right end: 11%

Now, you said that all the big runs weren't in the middle and that may be true, but other teams have recognized that we're weak in the middle and they concentrate on running against us up the middle. There were only 4-5 teams that got run on in the middle more than we did.

Polo
04-19-2008, 05:10 PM
[url]

If you go down to the very last bit, we have:

left end: 11%
left tackle: 9%
middle: 59%
right tackle: 10%
right end: 11%

Now, you said that all the big runs weren't in the middle and that may be true, but other teams have recognized that we're weak in the middle and they concentrate on running against us up the middle. There were only 4-5 teams that got run on in the middle more than we did.


All the top portion of your post proves is that we were poor across the board regarding run support...


1) The main point of my post still stands...

2) Those percentages are meaningless without a comparison to other teams


The high number of runs in the middle can probably be attributed to several things...

...maybe teams in the NFL in general run more towards the middle
...Maybe playing the Jags and Titans 2 times a piece has something to do with that...

Regardless, those numbers by themselves don't prove that teams have "noticed a weakness"....

Polo
04-19-2008, 05:16 PM
As I go back and look at those percentages EVERY TEAM is run on more heavily towards the middle of their defense according to those statistics...

Jacksonville, with their big DT's, were sitting at 55%....

Tennessee with Haynseworth was sitting at 60%...

The Pencil Neck
04-19-2008, 06:03 PM
As I go back and look at those percentages EVERY TEAM is run on more heavily towards the middle of their defense according to those statistics...

Jacksonville, with their big DT's, were sitting at 55%....

Tennessee with Haynseworth was sitting at 60%...

Yes... BUT... like I said, there were only a handful of teams (Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Baltimore, and Buffalo) that were run on in the middle to a greater degree than we were.

Jacksonville was at 55% but that's less than we were. (And despite their tackles, they didn't do a good job of stopping people running up the middle. They gave up 4.46 ypc, which is even worse than what we gave up.)

Most teams were in the 40-50% range. Some were as low as 30%. We were at 59%.

If the majority of rush attempts against you are in the middle, wouldn't you want to make that the stingiest part of your defense?

If you take the numbers and run with them:

Left End: 186 yards
Left Tackle: 160 yards
Middle: 976 yards
Right Tackle: 137 yards
Right End: 179 yards

Should we upgrade our outside LB's? Yes. But we need to reduce how much yardage people are picking up running up the middle on us.

However we get that done.

Rex King
04-19-2008, 06:35 PM
...Maybe playing the Jags and Titans 2 times a piece has something to do with that...

Regardless, those numbers by themselves don't prove that teams have "noticed a weakness"....

I'm sure the Jags and Titans noticed, because they've had great success doing it (151, 153, 244, 96 yds) - and we're going to have to play them 2 times apiece again. Those are the 2 teams I've been most worried about when I argue for a bigger front seven.

DeMeco had injury issues to contend with, and I'm sure he could use more help from his fellow LBs, but a lot more of the tackles he was making in 07 were downfield rather than at the LOS. In most sets, OLBs can't react that quickly to be a factor in runs up the middle. The safeties can't either unless they run blitz or just sit in the box, which we can't afford to have them do. Sure there's more than one way to skin a cat, but the Giants have a very creative scheme that takes advantage of their personnel, which is very different from ours, as is our scheme as we know it. More comparable in terms of personnel IMO (with better LBs overall), Denver in 06 had a small, fast front seven that blitzed a lot, like the Giants, and started out gangbusters. But they got worn down in the second half of the season. I'm worried that's going to happen to DeMeco unless he gets more protection.

I'm hopeful Amobi and TJ will both be able to improve in the run game. But it'll still be a concern until they prove it.

dalemurphy
04-19-2008, 07:00 PM
I'm sure the Jags and Titans noticed, because they've had great success doing it (151, 153, 244, 96 yds) - and we're going to have to play them 2 times apiece again. Those are the 2 teams I've been most worried about when I argue for a bigger front seven.

DeMeco had injury issues to contend with, and I'm sure he could use more help from his fellow LBs, but a lot more of the tackles he was making in 07 were downfield rather than at the LOS. In most sets, OLBs can't react that quickly to be a factor in runs up the middle. The safeties can't either unless they run blitz or just sit in the box, which we can't afford to have them do. Sure there's more than one way to skin a cat, but the Giants have a very creative scheme that takes advantage of their personnel, which is very different from ours, as is our scheme as we know it. More comparable in terms of personnel IMO (with better LBs overall), Denver in 06 had a small, fast front seven that blitzed a lot, like the Giants, and started out gangbusters. But they got worn down in the second half of the season. I'm worried that's going to happen to DeMeco unless he gets more protection.

I'm hopeful Amobi and TJ will both be able to improve in the run game. But it'll still be a concern until they prove it.


The interior line weakness last year against the run was clearly A. Okoye. That will improve this year. A rookie starting in the interior line usually struggles a great deal. Okoye played most downs also... Frankly, I would have had him more in rotation but they were probably trying to give him as many reps as possible. Haynesworth, Henderson, Stroud all struggled their rookie seasons' as well. Having said that, a big space-eater in the 4th or 5th round makes sense so he can be used situationally on short yardage downs.

Polo
04-19-2008, 07:35 PM
Yes... BUT... like I said, there were only a handful of teams (Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Baltimore, and Buffalo) that were run on in the middle to a greater degree than we were.

Jacksonville was at 55% but that's less than we were. (And despite their tackles, they didn't do a good job of stopping people running up the middle. They gave up 4.46 ypc, which is even worse than what we gave up.)

Most teams were in the 40-50% range. Some were as low as 30%. We were at 59%.

If the majority of rush attempts against you are in the middle, wouldn't you want to make that the stingiest part of your defense?

If you take the numbers and run with them:

Left End: 186 yards
Left Tackle: 160 yards
Middle: 976 yards
Right Tackle: 137 yards
Right End: 179 yards

Should we upgrade our outside LB's? Yes. But we need to reduce how much yardage people are picking up running up the middle on us.

However we get that done.

Even if everything you say holds true, it still doesn't dispute my main point...

Besides all that, Amobi clearly had a lot to do with weakness up the middle against the run...

Better LB's, Amobi getting better at the point of attack and we'll be o.k IMO...

Texans_Chick
04-19-2008, 08:34 PM
Well TC, AJ certainly does not need me to speak up for him, or come to his defense in any fashion, but I'm going to fess up and say I positive rep'd his obvious sarcasm. The reason why, is that he and I both find your statement "Where did I say bring out the pink soap for Richard Smith?" rather disingenuous at best, downright insincere at worst.

You need to go back to the beginning of this discussion and re-read. If you try, you'll see the obvious anti-Smith bias. You're a writer, you should be able to see it if you'd be honest with yourself. There are times that you try to disguise it with "well, maybe the media needs to do a better job" statements and the like, but believe me, you're not fooling anyone.

Disingenous and insincere. Gee. I know that tone can get misinterpreted on the internet so I let me speak very straightly and at the risk by some of belaboring. Anti-Smith bias? I don't know him as a person, but yeah, I think it is obvious that I'm unimpressed with the work he has done but at this point we have no other options.

I dearly hope that he has a clear plan for what he wants to do, that he is acquiring players to do it, and that at the end of more seasoning, the Texans have the most dominating defense in the league. I have no idea whether that will happen or not.

I dearly hope that people like the 1560 folks get fans more information about the defense.

At this point there is no right or wrong with this. There are only possibilities, and things to be looking for. Richard Smith, for all anybody knows, could end up being the best defensive coordinator in the history of personkind.

If anyone cares, my boring views on Richard Smith in whole so that people don't have to selectively search things I've written about him and the defense:

1. He was the best we could get at the time we needed to hire him. (Better I thought than Jim Bates, who had qualifications but was supposed to be full of himself and is no longer employed by the Denver Broncos)

2. Smith did not have a background that made you believe that he was going to be a guy who would do a remarkable job in building a defense from scratch.

3. Smith was given a very bad hand. The reasons why the Texans were so awful as opposed to normal awful in 2005 is that the defense was terrible. There are few people left from that squad. Robinson was the only playmaker.

4. Because of the complete remaking of the defense, I think you need to be patient. I also think the offensive turnover epidemic did the defense no favors.

5. There was a lot of coaching things in Richard Smith's first two years running the Texans defense that made you scratch your head (actually, use massive profanity). The first three games made you think he had no idea what he was doing and was out of his element. The offense did some headscratching things as well, but at least you could see where they were going and some vast improvement.

6. I expressed after some particularly bad defensive performances that if they could find a better 4-3 coach in the offseason, I hope they would get him.

7. It is too late in the coaching cycle to find anybody good, so at least at this point we should concentrate on figuring out what he is trying to do so: 1 you can understand what the Texans aredoing in the draft; and 2. to increase your enjoyment of what you watch on the field--that if you know what they are trying to do, you can see that development.

8. My lists never include 8.

9. This list is boring me too.

10. I believe that the most stable organizations only fire people during certain times of the year. I do not like mid season firings, and believe they should only be used as a last resort and when you have a better Plan B option that won't turn a bad season into a catastrophic clown car.

11. So, in sum, and to make this list go to 11, my position has been that yeah, I was underwhelmed with the Richard Smith hiring from the start, that I have been actively looking for reasons to think that this might be a good thing but generally that has been a utterly depressing thing to do, that given what I saw, I hoped that they would make a change in the offseason to someone better at that role, but they didn't.

So now, I am just continuing in my quest to try to understand the team I root for better and discuss such things with people who care to find out the same things. If some people think that my efforts in this regard are disingenous or insincere, well then, they don't know me very well. I'm terribly, sickeningly earnest in person.

I'm not trying to convince people of anything. I am just saying how I see things, and if people disagree and bring up stuff I might not have thought about, that's always a good thing. It's part of a dialogue and getting people talking. It's what good MB do--they make you think about stuff.

I adore being wrong about stuff I was pessimistic about. Absolutely love it. Because it means good things are happening to my favorite team.

So let's get back to talking defensive lines or whatnot. :fans:

NitroGSXR
04-19-2008, 10:35 PM
I have absolutely nothing to contribute to the discussion here. I wish I could contribute but I'm flat out outmatched here. You guys are just absolutely amazing. I wanted to let each and every one of you know that I have found this thread to by far be the most informative thread that I have ever encountered here on TexansTalk. Every one of you deserves rep for putting thought into the discussion. I love hearing you guys discuss this without flinging dung! I've learned so much about this Texans team by listening to your opinions and am developing my own insight as a result of this thread. Great job guys!!

By far the most informative thread... Wow! Amazing!! I'm proud to be a member of this board.

The Pencil Neck
04-20-2008, 12:38 AM
Even if everything you say holds true, it still doesn't dispute my main point...

Besides all that, Amobi clearly had a lot to do with weakness up the middle against the run...

Better LB's, Amobi getting better at the point of attack and we'll be o.k IMO...

I read your main point as our outside linebackers need to make more tackles up the field of play. But I don't see the outside linebackers helping on those runs up the middle which is what I see as our main problem.

Now, I will grant that Amobi growing into his role and stuffing the run more would help this immensely. So, I agree with you there. We all knew that his problem as a rook was going to be holding up at the point of attack in the run game. Most of us mentioned that as a problem going into the season and we weren't wrong. Hopefully he's gotten stronger and will be able to get more penetration as well.

But I don't know if I agree about TJ. In some games last year, he was getting mauled and he's not a rookie that's supposed to be weak at the point of attack. I'm not anti-TJ. He made some great plays last year. But for every time he got his hand up and deflected the ball (Danny Clark's interception in Oakland is an example), you get something like that big run by Selvin Young in the Denver game here TJ was just swept from the play (it didn't help that CC was playing in the box and whiffed on the tackle and Demps ended up having to make it even though he was playing the deep safety on that play.) Maybe he can grow into his role... although I'm worried that his role isn't to stuff runs like that.

If our defense's approach is to have all the linemen penetrating and pursuing, then I'm not sure we've got the right linebacker mix to work behind that kind of line.

After the moves we make this offseason, hopefully we'll have a mix of players closer to whatever philosophy Smith had when he was designing his defense.

Anyway, it's been a good discussion and made me think about my own beliefs on this.

dalemurphy
04-20-2008, 01:27 AM
But for every time he got his hand up and deflected the ball (Danny Clark's interception in Oakland is an example), you get something like that big run by Selvin Young in the Denver game here TJ was just swept from the play (it didn't help that CC was playing in the box and whiffed on the tackle and Demps ended up having to make it even though he was playing the deep safety on that play.) Maybe he can grow into his role... although I'm worried that his role isn't to stuff runs like that.

If our defense's approach is to have all the linemen penetrating and pursuing, then I'm not sure we've got the right linebacker mix to work behind that kind of line.

After the moves we make this offseason, hopefully we'll have a mix of players closer to whatever philosophy Smith had when he was designing his defense.

Anyway, it's been a good discussion and made me think about my own beliefs on this.

You're right that TJ isn't exactly the ideal NT. I also think you're right, certainly from what I've heard from coaches this off-season, that they're looking for more one gap penetrating from both DTs. What I didn't see much of last year was TJ getting beatin regularly. He was very active and disruptive. However, I was disappointed at how limited his role was compared to Okoye.

Regarding LBs, I'm pretty encouraged about the potential strength of our OLB with the draft ahead of us, the addition of Thompson who is highly athletic with excellent size, and Zac Diles. I am of the belief that Greenwood's job may be in jeopardy as the preseason gets going- depending on the health of the group.

Last year there was a definite reality of our weakness up the middle. On the DL, Okoye was manhandled quite a bit. Ryans, whom I love, naturally struggles with a guard on him and the OLBs were average at best. Finally, our safeties have been brutal against the run- which is ashame since they're so poor against the pass. So, I'd say that everything up the middle needs to improve- I also think it likely will.

ObsiWan
04-20-2008, 02:44 AM
don't laugh but I was hoping the Titans wouldn't re-sign Haynesworth. I'd love to have him in our mix.

barrett
04-21-2008, 11:49 AM
that guy's a thug. no way. i don't care how good he is. that's bad people. this is just a game.

barrett
04-21-2008, 11:58 AM
What I didn't see much of last year was TJ getting beatin regularly. He was very active and disruptive. However, I was disappointed at how limited his role was compared to Okoye.

This drove me nuts! Especially since his replacement was Jeff zgonoineoniinoen... who looked just like a defensive version of Mike Flannigan: 5 yards from the line of scrimmage on his back. Play him!



Regarding LBs, I'm pretty encouraged about the potential strength of our OLB with the draft ahead of us, the addition of Thompson who is highly athletic with excellent size, and Zac Diles. I am of the belief that Greenwood's job may be in jeopardy as the preseason gets going- depending on the health of the group.

Last year there was a definite reality of our weakness up the middle. On the DL, Okoye was manhandled quite a bit. Ryans, whom I love, naturally struggles with a guard on him and the OLBs were average at best. Finally, our safeties have been brutal against the run- which is ashame since they're so poor against the pass. So, I'd say that everything up the middle needs to improve- I also think it likely will.

i'm also of the thinking that it may be greenwood who's the odd man out by the end of camp. I don't know enough about Thompson to form any sort of educated opinion, it's more of a hunch. I just can't help but think that Greenwood is just "kind of, pretty ok, sort of" and it wouldn't take much better talent to overtake him on the depth chart. maybe not better talent at all. maybe just someone younger or more enthusiastic who works really hard. (not to suggest that Greenwood isn't a hard worker. everything i've ever read about him suggests that he is.)