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View Full Version : Texans defense may work without a mountain in the middle


Wolf
08-14-2011, 04:39 PM
A day doesn't go by, it seems, without yet another debate about whether Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell are 'big enough' to handle nose tackle duty in Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense.

Just this morning, I ran into this AP article where Cody (6-4, 304) said he was reassured by Phillips before training camp that he was good enough, and big enough to handle the position.

"We’ve had small guys play this position, big guys play this position, and we’ve been successful both ways," Phillips told Cody.

But Texans fans are a fickle lot, and while there's evidence to support Phillips' claims [Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff (6-4, 285) has gone to the Pro Bowl twice playing in this scheme] many fans remain in the 'I'll believe it when I see it' mode.

'Nose tackle envy' discussions among Texans fans usually revolve around desires for a 330+ lb. space eater, clogging the middle.

That's the damage that one Kris Jenkins YouTube highlight can do to a fan's perception of what their team needs and doesn't need. Although I would kill to have a guy like B.J. Raji on the nose for the Texans.




http://www.examiner.com/houston-texans-in-houston/texans-defense-may-work-without-a-mountain-the-middle


the excellent video's that AJ mentioned

X's and O's: Herring on LB duties in 3-4 (http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-media/videos/Xs-and-Os-Herring-on-LB-duties-in-3-4/1d9a041c-aae4-4e04-890a-ab685987c628)

X's and O's: Herring on 3-4 switches (http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-media/videos/Xs-and-Os-Herring-on-3-4-switches/8289ecb4-147b-40a6-8140-c65b96df65d5)

X's and O's: Herring on 3-4 vs. 3 WR offense (2:44) (http://www.houstontexans.com/media-lounge/videos/Xs-and-Os-Herring-on-3-4-vs-3-WR-offense/d64fcd4d-5b0b-4e29-b465-cd8be0943225)

ObsiWan
08-14-2011, 05:27 PM
Excellent find. Thanks.
[must spread rep :( ]

The Pencil Neck
08-14-2011, 05:35 PM
Must. Spread. Rep.

Wolf
08-14-2011, 05:37 PM
X's and O's: Joseph on secondary (4:46)
Defensive backs coach Vance Joseph goes to the whiteboard and breaks down the responsibilities of the secondary in the Texans 3-4 defense. (http://www.houstontexans.com/media-lounge/videos/Xs-and-Os-Joseph-on-secondary-/01fd92ca-8428-4d2d-8fba-b5b520ce1c09)



DB coach Joseph on 2011 challenges (5:46)
Defensive backs coach Vance Joseph recently spoke about his expectations in 2011, how the secondary will be taught and much more in this exclusive 1-on-1 interview with Texans TV. (http://www.houstontexans.com/media-lounge/videos/DB-coach-Joseph-on-2011-challenges-/1f4d0767-a47f-4ba3-86e2-43bd9fb88acd)


some more links

Wolf
08-14-2011, 05:39 PM
forgot another link
X's and O's: Kollar on d-line and 'techniques'
Texans associate head coach/defensive line coach Bill Kollar goes to the whiteboard and explains 'techniques' on the defensive line.
(http://www.houstontexans.com/media-lounge/videos/Xs-and-Os-Kollar-on-d-line-and-techniques/e0480ad1-5d7b-4980-a721-a3c86c9207ef)

CloakNNNdagger
08-14-2011, 05:48 PM
http://www.examiner.com/houston-texans-in-houston/texans-defense-may-work-without-a-mountain-the-middle


the excellent video's that AJ mentioned

X's and O's: Herring on LB duties in 3-4 (http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-media/videos/Xs-and-Os-Herring-on-LB-duties-in-3-4/1d9a041c-aae4-4e04-890a-ab685987c628)

X's and O's: Herring on 3-4 switches (http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-media/videos/Xs-and-Os-Herring-on-3-4-switches/8289ecb4-147b-40a6-8140-c65b96df65d5)

X's and O's: Herring on 3-4 vs. 3 WR offense (2:44) (http://www.houstontexans.com/media-lounge/videos/Xs-and-Os-Herring-on-3-4-vs-3-WR-offense/d64fcd4d-5b0b-4e29-b465-cd8be0943225)

Pardon my skepticism with Mitchell at 290. But if I remember, last year Ratliffe played at around 300 and had no-one under 305 playing next to him. In fact, Marcus Spears played at 310-315 and Igor Olshansky played at a solid 315. Also, the Cowboys had another NT on the roster........Josh Brent 6'2" 318 pounds. Olshansky also played NT.

The lack of "fat boy in the middle" at least for some very important short yardage situations concerns me. I hope my fears will be proven wrong.

MUST ALSO SPREAD THE REP.

CloakNNNdagger
08-14-2011, 05:57 PM
This piece I came across should settle the Ratliff weight question.

Jay Ratliff: Don't worry about my weight (http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/cowboys/post/_/id/4681244/jay-ratliff-dont-worry-about-my-weight)
August, 2, 2011
By Tim MacMahon


SAN ANTONIO – The roster lists Jay Ratliff as 18 pounds lighter than last season.

Ratliff insists that isn’t right.

The two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle is listed at 285 pounds, down from 303 last season. However, he says his weight hasn’t changed much since his second season in the NFL.

“This is the last time I’m going to talk about this, period,” Ratliff said when asked about losing weight. “My first year I came in at 303. Every year since then I’ve been playing at 290, 295.”

There is speculation after every season about Ratliff moving to defensive end, the position he played when he broke into the league as a seventh-round pick. He might line up at defensive end occasionally in Rob Ryan’s scheme, but the Cowboys didn’t consider moving him from nose tackle on a full-time basis.

Worry about Ratliff being undersized for a 3-4 nose tackle if you want. His weight isn’t a concern for him.

“I really don’t care,” Ratliff said. “It really doesn’t matter to me. It just makes me unique.”

JB
08-14-2011, 06:03 PM
I think strength and low center of gravity is more important than weight.

CloakNNNdagger
08-14-2011, 06:06 PM
A major factor in Ratliff's success.

VIDEO (http://aft.usafootball.com/roster/player/64)

DocBar
08-14-2011, 06:09 PM
A major factor in Ratliff's success.

VIDEO (http://aft.usafootball.com/roster/player/64)Good find, doc. I kmow your position on this, but I'm content with seeing how it works out for us at this position. I truly believe that Phillips would've aquired personnel if he thought we needed it at NT.

CloakNNNdagger
08-14-2011, 06:13 PM
Good find, doc. I kmow your position on this, but I'm content with seeing how it works out for us at this position. I truly believe that Phillips would've aquired personnel if he thought we needed it at NT.

Hopefully, Phillips hasn't caught "Texans Decision-Making Deficiency Syndrome" during his short stay.:wadepalm:

House of Pain
08-14-2011, 06:22 PM
Hopefully, Phillips hasn't caught "Texans Decision-Making Deficiency Syndrome" during his short stay.:wadepalm:

I agree with that, but I think the majority of that 'syndrome' is caused by the fact that Kubiak and Co. didn't know the first thing about having a successful defense.

DocBar
08-14-2011, 06:26 PM
Hopefully, Phillips hasn't caught "Texans Decision-Making Deficiency Syndrome" during his short stay.:wadepalm:I don't think that'll be a problem. Phillips has too good a reputation as a DC to be worried about what Kubiak says/thinks. It's also a lose/lose proposition for Kubiak and Phillips if the Texans, especially the D, stink it up this year. It seems, to us fans anyway, that Phillips has had a pretty free hand with the D all offseason.

prostock101
08-14-2011, 06:39 PM
Where's Curly Culp when we need him?

House of Pain
08-14-2011, 06:42 PM
I don't think that'll be a problem. Phillips has too good a reputation as a DC to be worried about what Kubiak says/thinks. It's also a lose/lose proposition for Kubiak and Phillips if the Texans, especially the D, stink it up this year. It seems, to us fans anyway, that Phillips has had a pretty free hand with the D all offseason.

Also, the other thing is that if the conspiracy theorists are right about the Wade hire, he doesn't want to do anything to screw up his chance to be HC if/when Kubiak gets ****-canned for his poor clock management skills and failing to prepare his players for the game.

CloakNNNdagger
08-14-2011, 06:42 PM
I think strength and low center of gravity is more important than weight.

The video I posted demonstrates this. What most fans don't know is how an "unnaturally" strong a specimen Ratliff is. For the three years prior to last season, he played with TWO excruciatingly painful bum elbows. In fact, during 2008 and 2009 seasons, he wasn't able to touch a bench press. He finally told the Cowboys' training staff about his problem after the 2009 season. Upon x-ray, he was found to have large bone spurs in both of his elbows and underwent surgery during the offseason.

CloakNNNdagger
08-14-2011, 06:52 PM
I don't think that'll be a problem. Phillips has too good a reputation as a DC to be worried about what Kubiak says/thinks. It's also a lose/lose proposition for Kubiak and Phillips if the Texans, especially the D, stink it up this year. It seems, to us fans anyway, that Phillips has had a pretty free hand with the D all offseason.

DocBar,
I know you know that I was being somewhat fascitious, but I just don't think that Mitchell is anywhere the physical specimen that Ratliff is. I respect other people's opposing opinions, including yours, but I am having a tough time accepting the gamble that such a great deal of the anticipated D's turnaround may be resting on the Mitchell factor.

With that said, I will more than welcome an "I told you so" from you and others midway through the season.:thisbig:

DocBar
08-14-2011, 06:58 PM
DocBar,
I know you know that I was being somewhat fascitious, but I just don't think that Mitchell is anywhere the physical specimen that Ratliff is. I respect other people's opposing opinions, including yours, but I am having a tough time accepting the gamble that such a great deal of the anticipated D's turnaround may be resting on the Mitchell factor.

With that said, I will more than welcome an "I told you so" from you and others midway through the season.:thisbig:I can't wait to be the 1st to give you that "I told you so". :smooch:

badboy
08-14-2011, 08:55 PM
I would love to have a big old nasty nose tackle and for that matter a center, but Myers has done ok and I'm hopeful Cody/Mitchell will work.

DocBar
08-14-2011, 08:58 PM
I would love to have a big old nasty nose tackle and for that matter a center, but Myers has done ok and I'm hopeful Cody/Mitchell will work.Maybe this season the Texans can make you shiver with what they've accomplished....just sayin...

Wolf6151
08-14-2011, 10:27 PM
Regardless of what Jay Ratliff has done add me to the list with CND of skeptics regarding Mitchell and Cody's ability to play NT and stop the run up the middle. I also be glad to be proven wrong, but only time will tell and right now I'm not optimistic. I hope both Cody and Mitchell have been putting in alot of time in the weight room, especially squats, leg strength is so important at NT.

HJam72
08-15-2011, 08:46 AM
I would love to have a big old nasty nose tackle and for that matter a center, but Myers has done ok and I'm hopeful Cody/Mitchell will work.

I still think we need a bigger center just to go against certain 3-4 nose guards--JMO.

No doubt Myers is the king at getting down-field blocks against the 4-3 Ds.

On the main subject here, I'm kind of worried too, but surely Phillips knows what he's doing. :kitten:

badboy
08-15-2011, 08:51 AM
I still think we need a bigger center just to go against certain 3-4 nose guards--JMO.

No doubt Myers is the king at getting down-field blocks against the 4-3 Ds.

On the main subject here, I'm kind of worried too, but surely Phillips knows what he's doing. :kitten:Since we are going to carry a deep snapper, it would be sweet if that player could do as you suggest. Better if we had a center who could do it all.

powda
08-15-2011, 12:33 PM
im tired of hearing about giant nose tackles.

We are a 3-4 in name only...its more of a 4 -3 based on how it will be played.

and

olb - Barwin
De- watt
Nt- Mitchell / Cody)
De - Smith
old - Williams

are all natural defensive linemen. We have enough "beef" to stop the run. Its the pass im concerned about.

TimeKiller
08-15-2011, 12:51 PM
im tired of hearing about giant nose tackles.

We are a 3-4 in name only...its more of a 4 -3 based on how it will be played.

exactly. How they line up, as it's explained, in the 3/4 covers up what they intend to do, even if they rush vanilla, from the second they set up there is no indication of anything but a base defense. So Mario rushes almost always. Yeah, teams will know that. They'll also be aware when they expect that and get a big handful of something else.



olb - Barwin
De- watt
Nt- Mitchell / Cody)
De - Smith
old - Williams

are all natural defensive linemen. We have enough "beef" to stop the run. Its the pass im concerned about.

Yeah, we have a small NT but Watt and Smith both go about 280/290 and that's perfect. Not to mention the giant sized OLBs, Mario is 280, a good 30 pound and 3 inches bigger than anyone has ever been at OLB. Barwin is 265ish and that's a big ol' backer too. The pounds are there, just not all at the nose.

The Pencil Neck
08-15-2011, 12:57 PM
im tired of hearing about giant nose tackles.

We are a 3-4 in name only...its more of a 4 -3 based on how it will be played.

and

olb - Barwin
De- watt
Nt- Mitchell / Cody)
De - Smith
old - Williams

are all natural defensive linemen. We have enough "beef" to stop the run. Its the pass im concerned about.

Don't think of it as a 4-3 or a 3-4. Think of it as a Zone Blitz 5-2. We've got 5 DL lined up across the line. Either of the guys on the ends could be rushing or they could be dropping at any time and frequently, they'll both be coming.

In the passing game, it uses some of the concepts from the old Chicago 46 defense, you get pressure and cause turnovers by bringing a lot of heat. The danger with this sort of defense is against short, quick passing attacks. But hopefully, we'll gameplan it so we don't walk into that ambush.

TheCD
08-15-2011, 12:57 PM
Good find, doc. I kmow your position on this, but I'm content with seeing how it works out for us at this position. I truly believe that Phillips would've aquired personnel if he thought we needed it at NT.

Perhaps he felt as though the biggest issue at hand was the secondary, and that after this was addressed there wasn't a quality NT available? I wouldn't put it past him next year to pass on a great NT available in the draft or FA.

silvrhand
08-15-2011, 01:17 PM
Hopefully, Phillips hasn't caught "Texans Decision-Making Deficiency Syndrome" during his short stay.:wadepalm:

Texans have a lot of holes, and unfortunately we just can't plug them all in the first year. 3-4 NT's are a rare breed, but we have relatively strong players hopefully in Ryans/Cushing in the MLB role as well. This was probably a concession of some sort to fix up the secondary first, and get Mario converted to LB, while moving Cushing inside..

We can expect to fix everything, but at the same time hopefully we can get our defense around the 15th rank +/- 2. I'd be happy with that for a first year conversion to the 3-4.

Too bad we didn't pick up Cody..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01j8FdjWPlc&NR=1

BigBull17
08-15-2011, 02:44 PM
I still think we need a bigger center just to go against certain 3-4 nose guards--JMO.

No doubt Myers is the king at getting down-field blocks against the 4-3 Ds.

On the main subject here, I'm kind of worried too, but surely Phillips knows what he's doing. :kitten:

Myers played well last year against the 3-4 teams. Just that one super embarassing Jenkins low lite makes you sad

CloakNNNdagger
08-15-2011, 03:55 PM
im tired of hearing about giant nose tackles.

We are a 3-4 in name only...its more of a 4 -3 based on how it will be played.
and

olb - Barwin
De- watt
Nt- Mitchell / Cody)
De - Smith
old - Williams

are all natural defensive linemen. We have enough "beef" to stop the run. Its the pass im concerned about.


Our D gave up 16 defensive rushing TDs last year without any heavy in the middle. That was the 7th worst in the league. I remain concerned.

playa465
08-15-2011, 06:18 PM
Count me in as a skeptic who wants to be proven wrong...so much is being made of pass rushing that I hope the run D doesn't suffer... I will have nightmares if our DL just wants to pin their ears back and get after the QB and get blasted by inside trap runs

DocBar
08-15-2011, 06:27 PM
Our D gave up 16 defensive rushing TDs last year without any heavy in the middle. That was the 7th worst in the league. I remain concerned.Our whole defense was porous last year. Did that have to do with scheme, personell or a combination of both? We finished 13th against the run, overall. That's not too shabby. As far ar the rushing TD's are concerned, more than a few of them were set up by the fact that EVERYBODY was passing like crazy on us and we got caught in some pass blitzes that left gaping holes for RB's to exploit. I'm guessing on that last part.

Corrosion
08-15-2011, 09:32 PM
Im not buying this after watching the Jets open up some pretty big holes in the running game ..... with their 3rd string center. Gonna have to get stronger up the middle.

WolverineFan
08-15-2011, 09:58 PM
Phillips defense doesn't need a 340 lb guy plugging the middle. This has been harped on for months and it's really annoying because the information has been out there all along.

All the complaints are just another example of fans trying to play armchair GM and they just don't know what they're talking about.

Corrosion
08-15-2011, 11:00 PM
Phillips defense doesn't need a 340 lb guy plugging the middle. This has been harped on for months and it's really annoying because the information has been out there all along.

All the complaints are just another example of fans trying to play armchair GM and they just don't know what they're talking about.

Then explain some of those holes in the running game , my old ass coulda run thru a few of them.

leebigeztx
08-16-2011, 07:57 AM
Phillips defense doesn't need a 340 lb guy plugging the middle. This has been harped on for months and it's really annoying because the information has been out there all along.

All the complaints are just another example of fans trying to play armchair GM and they just don't know what they're talking about.

He had ted washignton in buffalo and jamal williams in sd and those were his best defenses. Last night, cody was being handled by the backup center. When u get handled by 1 guy inside, it allows the guards to get on the lbs and create huge holes which hapened last night.

CloakNNNdagger
08-16-2011, 12:08 PM
What concerns me a great deal is that there has been so much press to date on "we don't need that big strong tackle in the middle" and so much has come from the Texans that Wade has had success taking this route in the past and "we'll be just fine,"...............that if this comes to be a "failed experiment," Wade and the Texans will find themselves in a corner and will stubbornly refuse to give up the ghost..........as has been a very familiar pattern that we have enjoyed throughout our team's history.

Again, I would hope not, but would not be shocked in the least with such an end.

BullsOnParade
08-16-2011, 03:06 PM
Watching the game last night, this moves near the top of my concerns. I'm not sure I agree with the consensus in this thread.

Wolf
08-31-2011, 08:10 PM
http://www.examiner.com/houston-texans-in-houston/texans-defense-may-work-without-a-mountain-the-middle


the excellent video's that AJ mentioned

X's and O's: Herring on LB duties in 3-4 (http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-media/videos/Xs-and-Os-Herring-on-LB-duties-in-3-4/1d9a041c-aae4-4e04-890a-ab685987c628)

X's and O's: Herring on 3-4 switches (http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-media/videos/Xs-and-Os-Herring-on-3-4-switches/8289ecb4-147b-40a6-8140-c65b96df65d5)

X's and O's: Herring on 3-4 vs. 3 WR offense (2:44) (http://www.houstontexans.com/media-lounge/videos/Xs-and-Os-Herring-on-3-4-vs-3-WR-offense/d64fcd4d-5b0b-4e29-b465-cd8be0943225)

just bumping this in case some haven't seen the video and with reg season about 10 days a way, it pretty much looks like we won't be picking up any big guys off waiver.
(of course anything is possible.)

Corrosion
08-31-2011, 10:56 PM
What concerns me a great deal is that there has been so much press to date on "we don't need that big strong tackle in the middle" and so much has come from the Texans that Wade has had success taking this route in the past and "we'll be just fine,"...............that if this comes to be a "failed experiment," Wade and the Texans will find themselves in a corner and will stubbornly refuse to give up the ghost..........as has been a very familiar pattern that we have enjoyed throughout our team's history.

Again, I would hope not, but would not be shocked in the least with such an end.

I dont think thats the case at all , they just didnt have the assets to address yet another need on the defense , which they spent a ton of money on in FA along with all those draft picks .... What do you expect them to say ?


They are ~$2.2m under the cap ? Where are they going to find a guy who fits the bill for that amount ?

powda
04-02-2012, 12:54 PM
Our D gave up 16 defensive rushing TDs last year without any heavy in the middle. That was the 7th worst in the league. I remain concerned.

As I said...plenty of beef up front. I still want to upgrade Kareem however and we need more depth.

CloakNNNdagger
04-02-2012, 01:57 PM
As I said...plenty of beef up front. I still want to upgrade Kareem however and we need more depth.

I'd be curious to see our last year's red zone run defense, and 3rd and short, and 4th and short run stats.

Texan_Bill
04-02-2012, 02:26 PM
I'd be curious to see our last year's red zone run defense, and 3rd and short, and 4th and short run stats.

Dunno the answer, Doc but fast forward to about 8:30 and the Texans "D" passes the eye test.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPlMdTGguE8&feature=related

Big Lou
04-02-2012, 03:19 PM
Dunno the answer, Doc but fast forward to about 8:30 and the Texans "D" passes the eye test.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPlMdTGguE8&feature=related

Damn Cushing is a damn beast man!!!!

Watching him reminds me of a Lion on a Wildebeest when he sacks a QB. It's like he jumps up on them and sinks his claws and teeth in and won't let go.

CloakNNNdagger
04-02-2012, 03:22 PM
Dunno the answer, Doc but fast forward to about 8:30 and the Texans "D" passes the eye test.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPlMdTGguE8&feature=related


No doubt, that was a beautiful play! We had a great D as a whole. Still wondering in general if anyone can come up with stats to address my question.

pec0sb0b
04-02-2012, 03:37 PM
What about the sub packages? The Texan's defense is in a nickel or dime at least sixty percent of the time. They spent years stopping Joseph Addai on first down only to have Manning take their lunch money on passing downs.

I would like to have a big heavy in the middle as much as anyone, but as the analysts continue to remind us it is a passing league. Realistically, there are but a few teams in the NFL that can run the ball well. The Texans would be better served looking for an ILB that can stay on the field on passing downs alongside Cushing.

That being said, my suspicion is that the Texans will draft either a defensive tackle or a defensive end by the fourth round. Mitchell spent a lot of time in rotation at DE in the latter part of 2011 due to lack of depth after Williams' injury. They could look early for a player like Fletcher Cox DT-MISS ST who could play at multiple positions along the defensive line much like JJ Watt, but I don't think they'll do it in the first round.

More teams will challenge the Texans through the air than will on the ground.

kingh99
04-02-2012, 06:53 PM
Draft another stud front 7 guy, then a couple of O linemen, then TE, FB whatever. Get a free agent WR and convince LeStar Jean to change his name. They don't need much other than protection on offense. That defense can win plenty of games if the offense just takes care of the ball and cashes in on the d's turnovers. The defense will be legendary if they stay healthy. They were historically great last year, Cam Newton's unconscious game play not withstanding. That guy is a freaking stud.

TejasTom
04-04-2012, 08:48 AM
Dunno the answer, Doc but fast forward to about 8:30 and the Texans "D" passes the eye test.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPlMdTGguE8&feature=related

At the 8:30 mark is Tim Dobbins on the goal line stop.

2slik4u
04-04-2012, 09:23 AM
Dunno the answer, Doc but fast forward to about 8:30 and the Texans "D" passes the eye test.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPlMdTGguE8&feature=related

Damn. That video is straight up bad ass. It makes me pissed that football season isn't 52 weeks long. It also makes me miss Mario.

Oh well...when one man steps down, another man steps up...