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Wolf
07-03-2009, 01:15 AM
his is the ninth in a series of team-by-team breakdowns that will run on SportingNews.com before the start of training camp.

Reporting date: July 30

Houston finished the 2008 season on an upward tick, winning five of its last six games to tie a franchise record with an 8-8 record.

The Texans entered '08 with high expectations after posting a .500 mark in '07, too. So mediocrity appears to be wearing out its welcome in Houston. The club now expects to make a push toward the postseason.

"We've obviously gotten better over the course of the last two years," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "We have a bunch of young players. They are not young anymore. It's time for us to take the next step."

Central to that evolution into playoff contender will be significant improvement on defense. After another season of inconsistency and underperformance, Kubiak fired defensive coordinator Richard Smith, secondary coach Jon Hoke and line coach Jethro Franklin, promoting Frank Bush to coordinator and hiring Bill Kollar to coach the line and David Gibbs the secondary.



An opponent breaks down the Texans:

"Their strength on defense is the defensive line. They've got some quick inside guys in (Amobi) Okoye and (Travis) Johnson, and they've got Mario (Williams) coming off the edge. They've got a pretty good middle linebacker (DeMeco Ryans), who is somewhat overrated but still a good player. I'd say Ryans is the only linebacker considered a 'real' NFL starter.

"In the secondary, they've got only the corner (Dunta Robinson) who is a good player. After that, they didn't really have any other starters on the back end. If they couldn't get pressure up front—which they did sometimes—the secondary would give up a lots of plays deep because they don't have any players back there.

"Offensively, they're real aggressive. They're going to get the ball to Andre Johnson—short, on slants, on crossing routes—and they're going to make you have to account for him. Because teams focus so much attention on Andre, the tight end (Owen Daniels) is going to come open on crossing routes and (Kevin) Walter is also going to make plays. (Running back Steve) Slaton came on strong last season, but at his size you have to wonder if he can do it again."
Bottom Line

http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/article/2009-07-02/texans-camp-countdown-offense-playoff-worthy-d-doesnt-pass-grade

Thorn
07-03-2009, 07:31 AM
from the article: Led by end Williams, the defensive line is a solid unit, capable of becoming dominant. But if the linebackers and defensive backs behind them don't produce, the Texans could be eyeing a third consecutive .500 season.



True, very true, and also completely obvious. The key to this year is defensive improvement, if that doesn't happen, we don't compete like we want to.

Texan4Ever
07-03-2009, 09:07 AM
http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/article/2009-07-02/texans-camp-countdown-offense-playoff-worthy-d-doesnt-pass-grade

Travis Johnson, a quick guy? He's anything but quick IMO! :wild:

False Start
07-03-2009, 09:23 AM
They've got a pretty good middle linebacker (DeMeco Ryans), who is somewhat overrated but still a good player.

:ok:

Maddict5
07-03-2009, 09:36 AM
i dont think the d-line is 'solid'. doesnt rush the passer well (bar mario) and just about average in stopping the run

TheRealJoker
07-03-2009, 09:56 AM
Interesting article but I think the writer overrates the DL just a tad. For all intensive purposes Mario has been a 1 man pass rush and nobody other than him stands out against the run or the pass. Okoye showed flashes the first half of his rookie season, Bulman is a good change of pace high motor type player, but other than that we dont deserve the "close to dominant" label the writer gives us. Hopefully Okoye makes the jump Mario made and someone emerges at NT, sprinkle in Antonio Smith not being Anthony Weaver and Connor Barwin being someone other than Mario that QBs have to look out for and maybe the DL will be a solid unit!

nero THE zero
07-03-2009, 10:57 AM
i dont think the d-line is 'solid'. doesnt rush the passer well (bar mario) and just about average in stopping the run

I've been wondering about this. We constantly hear from NFL-people that we have a very talented defensive line. Lance Zierlein, prior to our opening game last season, said his dad focused on our d-line and was very worried about it, I remember getting a lot of praise from a coach last season about the d-line (Belichick I want to say,) and now this "opponent" parrots those sentiments.

It seems to be unanimous among people in the game (re: not pundits, but people in the know) that we have a very talented defensive line. Yet, we aren't realizing that potential. Is the switch to Bush and Kollar going to help bring it out? Will the upgrade at LB have a positive effect? Or will it be same story, different season?

gtexan02
07-03-2009, 10:58 AM
So we have Dunta an Demeco on defense behind our DL, and those are our only 2 "starters"? Yeah, right... this guy only cares about name recognition

gary
07-03-2009, 11:30 AM
Maybe the DL wasn't a solid unit last year but this year I think the Texans have enough tools in place to start becoming a solid unit. TJ better start getting his game more up to par or I don't see him being the Texans roster much longer. Now that there is different coaching in place maybe TJ's game will improve significantly to ensure him a spot on the roster same goes for Amobi. As for Smith and Barwin they should help out the pass rush if not this year then certainly down the line as they both learn together the way the way the Texans run their D plays which will help out the play of the second dary in a huge way.

LZ
07-21-2009, 04:26 PM
I've been wondering about this. We constantly hear from NFL-people that we have a very talented defensive line. Lance Zierlein, prior to our opening game last season, said his dad focused on our d-line and was very worried about it, I remember getting a lot of praise from a coach last season about the d-line (Belichick I want to say,) and now this "opponent" parrots those sentiments.

It seems to be unanimous among people in the game (re: not pundits, but people in the know) that we have a very talented defensive line. Yet, we aren't realizing that potential. Is the switch to Bush and Kollar going to help bring it out? Will the upgrade at LB have a positive effect? Or will it be same story, different season?

I think the feeling on the defensive line pre-season vs. postseason was much different.

DocBar
07-26-2009, 11:32 AM
I agree with most of this analysis. The DL IS very talented but they have been very poorly coached and put into situations that don't suit the talents of the players. This is very obvious and commented on constantly. Are Bush and Kollar the answer? We're about to find out. I think the LB corps was better than expected last year but still not up to snuff. I've never heard ANYONE but the opponent analysis guy say Ryans is OVERrated. He's been the one standout at LB we've ever really had. The guy hit the secondary on the head. Reeves wasn't as bad as he seemed last year, but was still FAR from dominant. IMO he needs to work on his neck flexability. He can't turn to look for the ball for sh*t. All in all, I think we're in for a much more productive season on the D side because of a change in scheme, better personnel at some key positions and MW and DRYANS are being great leaders.

Vinny
07-26-2009, 12:41 PM
This team reminds me of the Rams team before Lovie Smith took over the D (Smith used his successful stint as Rams DC to land the Bears HC job). Before Smith, the Rams were all high powered offense and a defense only a Mother would love. Perhaps Bush can do what Lovie did for that SB bound Rams team.

dalemurphy
07-26-2009, 12:56 PM
This team reminds me of the Rams team before Lovie Smith took over the D (Smith used his successful stint as Rams DC to land the Bears HC job). Before Smith, the Rams were all high powered offense and a defense only a Mother would love. Perhaps Bush can do what Lovie did for that SB bound Rams team.

Vinny, I like the analogy. I was so angry last year at the soft and unaggressive defense. If a team has a potent offense, it only makes sense to be aggressive on defense, makes some plays- even at the expense of giving up more big plays. At the end of the day, if our defense increases the tempo of the game, the end result is a couple more posessions a game for our best unit: offense. I'm encouraged that we actually will see an aggressive defense this season. As long as they can make plays, I won't cry over them giving up some long TDs in the second quarter.

Vinny
07-26-2009, 01:02 PM
This team reminds me of the Rams team before Lovie Smith took over the D (Smith used his successful stint as Rams DC to land the Bears HC job). Before Smith, the Rams were all high powered offense and a defense only a Mother would love. Perhaps Bush can do what Lovie did for that SB bound Rams team.

Vinny, I like the analogy. I was so angry last year at the soft and unaggressive defense. If a team has a potent offense, it only makes sense to be aggressive on defense, makes some plays- even at the expense of giving up more big plays. At the end of the day, if our defense increases the tempo of the game, the end result is a couple more posessions a game for our best unit: offense. I'm encouraged that we actually will see an aggressive defense this season. As long as they can make plays, I won't cry over them giving up some long TDs in the second quarter.Smith brought an uptempo style to the Rams just like what Bush is trying to install here...a more of an attacking style, instead of a more passive read and react with the front 7
Last season, pre-Smith, the Rams' defense allowed a league-high 471 points, the worst performance ever by a playoff team. The defense was so soft that running back Marshall Faulk volunteered to be a two-way player and double as a cornerback.

Coach Mike Martz, tired of knowing that his offense had to score 30 or more points a game to have a chance to win, fired four defensive coaches. Then he hired Smith away from Tampa Bay, where he was an assistant under Tony Dungy.

Smith, from Big Sandy, Tex., population 500, had earned his stripes, first building an impressive résumé as a college assistant working at Tulsa, Wisconsin, Arizona State, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio State. It was the last program where Smith, as coach of the defensive backs, developed six players into first- or second-round draft picks.

Once in St. Louis, Martz and Smith brought in a number of new Rams defenders, with this year's defense featuring an incredible eight new starters.

This is where almost everyone in football shakes their head in amazement. In football it normally takes years for a system to jell after that kind of turnover, but the Rams are enjoying a smooth transition. The defense is allowing just over 13 points a game, down more than two touchdowns from last season.

Last year St. Louis gave up 70 points in its first two games; this season it has allowed only 67 points after five. St. Louis's defense, after spending much of last season ranked at the bottom, is now in the top 10.

''Defensively, I am real excited about where we are,'' Martz said. ''I think we are a complete football team right now.''

Smith has engineered the turnaround by bringing the Buccaneers' style of play to St. Louis. He tells his players to be aggressive, pursue the football and create turnovers.
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/17/sports/football-lovie-smith-turns-rams-defense-around.html

Norg
07-26-2009, 01:12 PM
well good thing our divison isnt a pass happy Divison other then the colts who i think will regress this season

IMO aganist Titans Jags and COlts our team will not need to get to the QB maybe just pressure him and play zone all the teams will throw short yardage dinks and dunks