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EllisUnit
08-17-2011, 08:06 PM
http://espn.go.com/blog/afcsouth/post/_/id/26532/camp-confidential-houston-texans-2

didnt see this posted sorry if it has.


HOUSTON -- Yes, they brought in a top- defensive coordinator, drafted well and signed some good-looking free agents.

Still, the Texans have been the breakout pick so often in recent years and have come up short that it’s completely fair to ask, even with those changes: Why should people believe? Why should they buy this team?

“I couldn’t sell it to anybody,” said Chris Myers, the team’s underrated center. “We’re doing what we do here in camp. If you’re a Texans fan, you’re a Texans fan. Our offense is the same offense that we’ve had and we’re going to try to make it better. Our defense has brought in who we think can change it, take it in the right direction and make us that complete team.

“That’s the pitch. If you’re going to buy it, you’re going to buy it. If not, we’re still rolling.”

To find their way to the playoffs for the first time since the franchise began play in 2002, the Texans need to find the consistency they’ve lacked on many levels -- start to finish in a game, week to week over the course of the season.

Camp Confidential: AFC South

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That new defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, has a great record of turning defenses around. Gary Kubiak carries questions as a head coach, but not as an offensive mind.

It’s a now or never deal for Kubiak, and he’s got a lot of talent on his roster that knows it.

Receiver Andre Johnson, one of the league’s top players, says the team’s spent the past few preseasons talking about breaking through. This time he wants less talk and more action.

THREE HOT ISSUES

1) How quickly can Phillips shape the defense?

He's coming off a poor term as head coach in Dallas, but his track record as a coordinator is excellent.

Mario Williams is adjusting to life as a stand-up linebacker in Wade Phillips' scheme. Players on the Texans' defense say he’s funny, yet pointed. He’s already infused the group with confidence, and he quickly identified things that amounted to easy fixes. Mario Williams’ false step should disappear, for example, and Kareem Jackson is unlikely to be seen in press coverages.

“Wade Phillips and [linebackers coach Reggie Herring] have brought a credibility and a confidence to the system that they run,” said end-turned-outside-linebacker Connor Barwin. “I feel like it carries over to us. You know if you do what you’re coached up to do that it’s going to work.”

The change from a 4-3 to a 3-4 isn’t as extreme as some imagine, because Phillips’ 3-4 doesn’t demand a gigantic space-eating nose tackle, and it doesn’t ask linemen to be responsible for two gaps. The linemen are really playing roles akin to what they did in the previous system, with Williams now standing up as an on-the-line 'backer on the weak side.

Creating that matchup as often as possible is key, and Williams should be the centerpiece of the retooling.

Though Williams didn’t look comfortable in the preseason opener, end Antonio Smith thinks offenses will really struggle with Williams and his bull rush.

“It has not been stopped in camp yet,” Smith said. “Since he decided to do it, I ain’t seem him lose. You know what you need to do to beat a person. I think that throughout this camp, he’s figuring out how to use that. He’s added it into his bag of tricks and he’s going to figure out how to use it along with his other moves.”

Matt Schaub and Johnson have both talked about how many more balls are contested and broken up in a typical practice. That difference suggests the new philosophy’s growing on a unit that’s needed not just players like Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning but also the sort of direction Phillips is providing.

2) Will Arian Foster be able to have another big season on the ground?

It wasn’t long ago that Steve Slaton ran for 1,282 yards. He’s disappeared since the 2008 season, however.

Foster said that what he did over 16 last season proved him capable and that the notion of a fluke is ridiculous. But for the Texans’ offense to get better, he’ll have to follow up his 1,616-yard season and rushing title with another big showing.

“When you come out and have a season like that, then everybody wants to see what you’re going to do the next season,” Johnson said. “I think that is important for him, to come out and show people that he is the guy that he was last year.

“I think he’ll do it, there is no doubt in my mind. Because he works hard and he plays with a chip on his shoulder.”

Houston’s play-action can be spectacular with Foster running as he did in 2010. His style is perfectly suited for the team’s blocking scheme, which encourages him to cut once and take all he can get.

Another big year will go a long way toward setting the Texans’ course.

3) Do enough guys have killer instinct?

The Texans' slow starts and inability to finish were major issues last season. Better personnel and coaching will need to be accompanied by a killer instinct this franchise has too frequently lacked.

The Texans are counting on Danieal Manning to bring some veteran leadership to the defense.
“You could put it that way,” tight end Owen Daniels said. “There’s definitely never been a lack of effort. I think it’s been missed opportunities at finishing games. ... We need to find something different this year in order to close out those games.”

A guy like Johnson, soft-spoken but intense, certainly has a personality you can win with. But are the Texans, in total, too low-key? I think it’s a fair question.

“You’ve got to have that [killer instinct],” said Manning, one of the key newcomers. “... If you believe, all this other stuff is going to come into play: working together, supporting your man, pushing him, making him work hard, holding him accountable. All that stuff goes hand in hand. I’ve never seen a championship team that didn’t believe, that didn’t finish.”

BIGGEST SURPRISE

When they grabbed him during the 2010 season, I don’t think the Texans expected much from veteran cornerback Jason Allen. But the secondary was better with him than it was without him. Now, with a fresh start, he’s mounting a serious challenge to Jackson, the 2010 first-round draft pick. The team would be well served to go with Allen if things come out roughly even. Jackson’s seasoning would be better for now as a role player.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Antwaun Molden looks the part as a 6-foot-1, 200-pound corner. But the team has finally stopped talking up the fourth-year man from Eastern Kentucky. He’s not sturdy enough and doesn’t show enough gumption to be a factor in a group where he’s had a chance to add some depth. He had an interception in the preseason opener, but only after he committed a penalty that washed it away.

OBSERVATION DECK

Joel Dreessen is consistently underrated. Dreessen can block and, while not as dynamic as Daniels, has a knack for finding open spaces and presenting himself to Schaub. The Texans have a lot of quality tight ends. Look for the team to put three tight ends on the field at times, when they can operate as a heavy package or shift Daniels, Dreessen, James Casey or Garrett Graham into space, depending on the defensive personnel. Anthony Hill is the blocker of the bunch.

After facing questions about durability, Schaub’s played two full seasons. Now the questions are about play in the clutch. He needs to eliminate moments like the one when he threw an overtime pick-six against Baltimore last season.

I expect the Texans to look closely at receivers when the league cuts down rosters. Dorin Dickerson currently looks to be fourth in line, but I saw him fighting some passes in practices and he’s still relatively new to the position. Jeff Maehl heads the undrafted group but didn’t look great, either. Receiver depth is an issue.

Inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton could be the best non-starter on the roster come opening day. He’s in a tough spot behind DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing, though injuries are often in play with Cushing.

Myers is a key cog in making the Texans’ offensive line work, and he could be taking his place right alongside Jeff Saturday as an indispensable center in the division.

The team could be an injury away from trouble at end and safety.

Trindon Holliday’s speed is not enough for him to overcome his size as even a situational receiver. Plus, he seems easily hurt. The return jobs are open if the team wants to avoid using as the punt returner and Manning as the kick returner.

Undrafted rookie Brett Hartmann beating out veteran punter Brad Maynard is a definite possibility.

Count me among those not convinced that Matt Leinart can’t play. If this team needs a few spots starts, I bet he can do OK. One of the NFL’s quarterback-needy teams was foolish not to add Leinart to the mix. He’s better than a lot of guys with a chance to start some games this season.

Lawrence Vickers is better equipped to work as the fullback than Casey, and he should get far more frequent opportunities to lead the way for Foster.

Kimmy
08-17-2011, 08:10 PM
I sure hope so!

ObsiWan
08-17-2011, 08:20 PM
I found this comment rather perplexing given all the raves I heard from our training camp "scouts"...
expect the Texans to look closely at receivers when the league cuts down rosters. Dorin Dickerson currently looks to be fourth in line, but I saw him fighting some passes in practices and he’s still relatively new to the position. Jeff Maehl heads the undrafted group but didn’t look great, either. Receiver depth is an issue.
I think I'm going to trust our TT "scouts" over a ESPN talking head

EllisUnit
08-17-2011, 08:30 PM
I found this comment rather perplexing given all the raves I heard from our training camp "scouts"...

I think I'm going to trust our TT "scouts" over a ESPN talking head

yeah they didnt even mention jean who looked awesome. I do wish Dickerson had got some looks, i saw him break loose deep a few times but our young QBs kept checking down, i think it was when leinart was in the game.

DocBar
08-17-2011, 09:20 PM
All in all, I thought that was a fairly accurate article. I don't understand why he said Cush has injury concerns, unless it's his reputation after serving a four game suspensions for "over training" that was injured.

badboy
08-17-2011, 11:10 PM
The ingredients are in the kitchen & it will be interesting how the chefs assemble the banquet. I am not sure yet if I'll reach for a fine wine at the end or an Alka Seltzer.

Kimmy
08-17-2011, 11:14 PM
The ingredients are in the kitchen & it will be interesting how the chefs assemble the banquet. I am not sure yet if I'll reach for a fine wine at the end or an Alka Seltzer.

Perfect analagy. My favorite things. Food, wine & football. Not so much the alka seltzer

The Pencil Neck
08-17-2011, 11:15 PM
All in all, I thought that was a fairly accurate article. I don't understand why he said Cush has injury concerns, unless it's his reputation after serving a four game suspensions for "over training" that was injured.

IIRC (and I may not), Cush had some questions about his durability while he was at USC. Then his first TC he tweaked his hammy and now, this off-season he's got his knee thing.

But, yeah, since he's been here, I thought he'd laid that injury thing to rest.

*** knock on wood ***

DocBar
08-17-2011, 11:18 PM
IIRC (and I may not), Cush had some questions about his durability while he was at USC. Then his first TC he tweaked his hammy and now, this off-season he's got his knee thing.
But, yeah, since he's been here, I thought he'd laid that injury thing to rest.

*** knock on wood ***I thought about that, but it hasn't impacted regular season games yet. I guess I've just never been ubder the impression that he was innjury prone.

Allstar
08-18-2011, 12:38 AM
Been asking that question the last 5 years.

Wolf6151
08-18-2011, 01:02 AM
Could be, but honestly I ain't drinking the Kool-aid any more so they're going to have to prove it to me on the field.

Hookem Horns
08-18-2011, 02:11 AM
Sorry, I am going Debbie Downer here.

When McNair announced at the end of the season that he was retaining Kubiak and the only change would be bringing in Wade Phillips I felt it was a huge mistake. IMO Kubiak doesn't have the fire to be the head coach of a winning team.

I would be a hypocrite to say anything different now just because the season is starting and everyone is excited again. We are always excited in August.

The Texans now have 2 real good coordinators but are lacking a take charge guy to really fire up and lead the team. Kubiak really lost me last season down the stretch when he was admitting that he didn't have the answers. How many times did he say "I don't know John" or "I just don't have the answers" in his press conferences last season? He sounded like a defeated guy that had accepted that his job was lost. I just don't see the team rallying around him.

Then you see teams like the Bucs (who were much worse than the Texans at 3-13 in 2009) with new HC Raheem Morris and he completely turn things around with less talent in one season. Morris takes charge/kicks ass in just his second season and they finish 10-6 last season. A seven game swing in one season. They will challenge the Saints this season in that division with the youngest roster in the league and a 23 year old QB.

The Texans on the other hand have never gone 10-6. Under Kubiak 6-10, 8-8, 8-8, 9-7, 6-10. Honestly, nothing I saw Monday night made me think the 5 year pattern is going to change.

Wade Phillips will be the head coach before next season.

aussie_texan
08-18-2011, 09:00 AM
Sorry, I am going Debbie Downer here.

When McNair announced at the end of the season that he was retaining Kubiak and the only change would be bringing in Wade Phillips I felt it was a huge mistake. IMO Kubiak doesn't have the fire to be the head coach of a winning team.

I would be a hypocrite to say anything different now just because the season is starting and everyone is excited again. We are always excited in August.

The Texans now have 2 real good coordinators but are lacking a take charge guy to really fire up and lead the team. Kubiak really lost me last season down the stretch when he was admitting that he didn't have the answers. How many times did he say "I don't know John" or "I just don't have the answers" in his press conferences last season? He sounded like a defeated guy that had accepted that his job was lost. I just don't see the team rallying around him.

Then you see teams like the Bucs (who were much worse than the Texans at 3-13 in 2009) with new HC Raheem Morris and he completely turn things around with less talent in one season. Morris takes charge/kicks ass in just his second season and they finish 10-6 last season. A seven game swing in one season. They will challenge the Saints this season in that division with the youngest roster in the league and a 23 year old QB.

The Texans on the other hand have never gone 10-6. Under Kubiak 6-10, 8-8, 8-8, 9-7, 6-10. Honestly, nothing I saw Monday night made me think the 5 year pattern is going to change.

Wade Phillips will be the head coach before next season.

You don't need a coach to fire up the players nor should you. its up to the players to bring there own passion to the game and the coach to put them in positions to win. otherwise coaches like rex ryan would have won 5 super bowls buy now.

Obviously nothing i can say will change your opinion, i on the other hand believe that kubiak is the right man for the job.

We have one of the best offensive minds in the game and one of the best defensive minds in the game also. How many teams can say that!

I know kubiak has been in the job for awhile but I'm one of the people that believe in all pro sports that coaches get fired too quickly. and this continuity will serve us very well.

Thorn
08-18-2011, 10:29 AM
Re: So is this the texans year ?

Sure it is. So was last year, and the year before that.

I would love it for the Texans to kick ass this year, but until they actually get out there and do something and make the playoffs, they are what they are: nobodys with talent. I blame the unit Smithicak for that and will continue to do so until proven otherwise. Which I hope is soon because I'm getting damn frigging tired of waiting for these guys to do something.

Hookem Horns
08-18-2011, 11:38 AM
You don't need a coach to fire up the players nor should you. its up to the players to bring there own passion to the game and the coach to put them in positions to win. otherwise coaches like rex ryan would have won 5 super bowls buy now.

Obviously nothing i can say will change your opinion, i on the other hand believe that kubiak is the right man for the job.

We have one of the best offensive minds in the game and one of the best defensive minds in the game also. How many teams can say that!

I know kubiak has been in the job for awhile but I'm one of the people that believe in all pro sports that coaches get fired too quickly. and this continuity will serve us very well.

I strongly disagree with the first part there. That's like the old saying "the coach doesn't play on the field, the players do". I cringe when someone says. When that starts being said you know the coach has just about run his course. I have seen too many times in different sports (especially agressive sports like football and hockey) the coach competely change the energy, drive, and focus of a team. Just look at the Cowboys last season. Phillips had lost the team and they were not motivated to play for him. They fire him and plug in Jason Garrett and all of a sudden they look like a completely different team.

Say what you want about Rex Ryan and to be honest I am not even a fan of his. However his teams over achieve oppose to Kubiak's underachieving. He has gone now 2 straight years to the AFC championship game? Have the Jets really been that much more talented than the Texans the last 2 seasons? I don't think so at all.

badboy
08-18-2011, 11:42 AM
I strongly disagree with the first part there. That's like the old saying "the coach doesn't play on the field, the players do". I cringe when someone says. When that starts being said you know the coach has just about run his course. I have seen too many times in different sports (especially agressive sports like football and hockey) the coach competely change the energy, drive, and focus of a team. Just look at the Cowboys last season. Phillips had lost the team and they were not motivated to play for him. They fire him and plug in Jason Garrett and all of a sudden they look like a completely different team.

Say what you want about Rex Ryan and to be honest I am not even a fan of his. However his teams over achieve oppose to Kubiak's underachieving. He has gone now 2 straight years to the AFC championship game? Have the Jets really been that much more talented than the Texans the last 2 seasons? I don't think so at all.I think Bum Phillips was the epitome of a coach impacting players ability to excell.

Hookem Horns
08-18-2011, 11:56 AM
I think Bum Phillips was the epitome of a coach impacting players ability to excell.

There you go, prime example. The players would run through a wall for Bum. Too bad his son doesn't have the same effect on his players.

BTW, Ed Biles replaced Bum right? I don't know the answer to this question however would be curious to know how drastically different was the roster from the year Bum got fired (after taking the team to the playoffs again) to the one Ed Biles inherited. Biles had Campbell his first season correct? I think Biles went 7-9 that first season. IMO a coach can easily be the difference between 10-6 to 7-9 with the same roster.

The Pencil Neck
08-18-2011, 12:07 PM
I strongly disagree with the first part there

There are coaches that are rah-rah guys and there are coaches that aren't. I'm of the mind-set that if you need a coach to get you pumped up, you should be fired and sent back to high-school.

There have been lots of VERY successful coaches over the years that were not rah-rah guys. Chuck Noll is the first to come to mind. I believe Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, Andy Reid and Bill Belichik fit into that category.

I don't want a coach who's talking a bunch of smack. I don't want a coach who's getting his players fired up with speeches and crap. I don't want a coach who goes into a press conference and tells you things. I don't want a coaching staff that tells you which players are really doing well and which ones aren't OR giving you "good" information about who's injured or how bad.

I want a team with professional players on it that are doing their jobs and doing their jobs well.

Ranger Tom
08-18-2011, 12:45 PM
I will always say, "No, this isn't our year." That way I can only be pleasantly surprised, never disappointed/depressed/anguished/etc. as I was in the past.

Hookem Horns
08-18-2011, 12:54 PM
There are coaches that are rah-rah guys and there are coaches that aren't.

You don't have to be a rah rah guy to get the most out of your players. Bum Phillips was not a rah rah guy, Bill Parcells is not a rah rah guy. Personally I don't like those guys either because they always fizzle out once the players figure out they are full of it (Buddy Ryan, Jerry Glanville, etc).

All those coaches you named earned the respect of their players and were in total command of their team. They also came off extremely confident.

Kubiak does not come off confident to me.

michaelm
08-18-2011, 01:05 PM
You don't have to be a rah rah guy to get the most out of your players. Bum Phillips was not a rah rah guy, Bill Parcells is not a rah rah guy. Personally I don't like those guys either because they always fizzle out once the players figure out they are full of it (Buddy Ryan, Jerry Glanville, etc).

All those coaches you named earned the respect of their players and were in total command of their team. They also came off extremely confident.

Kubiak does not come off confident to me.

He may not come off as confident necessarily, but even s bad as it got last season, I don't think he ever came close to losing his players.
We can say what we want from our view on the outside, but I think these players will always keep fighting under Kubiak.
Mind you, I'm not saying that Kubiak is the guy for the job. I only recently took down my "No Kubiak" avatar, so I'm definitely not saying that he's the best coach for the job.
What I am saying is that whether he's fiery, or rah-rah, or whatever, he never lost the team, IMO.

The Pencil Neck
08-18-2011, 01:25 PM
You don't have to be a rah rah guy to get the most out of your players. Bum Phillips was not a rah rah guy, Bill Parcells is not a rah rah guy. Personally I don't like those guys either because they always fizzle out once the players figure out they are full of it (Buddy Ryan, Jerry Glanville, etc).

All those coaches you named earned the respect of their players and were in total command of their team. They also came off extremely confident.

Kubiak does not come off confident to me.

See... that's the part that doesn't matter.

People see Kubes in the press conferences and they judge him from what they see there and/or on the sidelines.

I think Kubes is a very confident guy. He's built an offense that works. Repeatedly. How many Coordinators have been "gurus" of one side of the ball and brought in as HCs expecting to "fix" that side of the ball only to fail? MANY.

I think the players respect Kubiak and I think they have more faith in him than most of the fans do. I think Kubiak has done a lot of admirable and honorable things. I think Kubiak has manned up and taken the blame for mistakes his assistants have made and deflected the heat away from the players. And judging from how hard the team continued to play last year, I think they respect him for that.

I would have fired him after last season. And I would have been sad to do it. But I do think that he may be in a good spot now if Wade can get the defense together.