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View Full Version : Travis Johnson's Role on the DL


bigtex77
06-09-2005, 05:52 PM
I was just curious if anyone thought Travis Johnson would be able to challenge Seth Payne for the starting spot in the middle.

texan279
06-09-2005, 05:54 PM
No, not this season yet anyways. Johnson will need time to learn our system.

Vinny
06-09-2005, 06:38 PM
TJ will end up on the end and may play the nose in obvious passing situations. Payne is a fine NT when healthy.

bigtex77
06-09-2005, 06:49 PM
TJ will end up on the end and may play the nose in obvious passing situations. Payne is a fine NT when healthy.

I agree, I am a big Payne fan. Thats why I was asking, I figured with all of his injuries the team might give Johnson a look, but I hope Seth is the starter.

Double Barrel
06-09-2005, 07:01 PM
yeah, I think this could be Payne's year, on the condition of his health holding up. TJ will give him some stiff competition, for sure, but it is Payne's job to lose, IMO.

BornOrange
06-09-2005, 07:31 PM
Travis Johnson seems more like an end in the 3-4 to me. Ioane will probably be the primary backup at NT, especially if Payne gets injured. Johnson could get some reps there if they want to just stick with a four man rotation on the line with Johnson getting reps at all three spots to relieve the starters.

Mr Shush
06-10-2005, 11:50 AM
Depends a little how much Johnson eventually bulks up. For the moment he's more suited to DE in a 3-4, but I think his frame could carry the weight to play nose.

beerlover
06-10-2005, 12:30 PM
Depends a little how much Johnson eventually bulks up. For the moment he's more suited to DE in a 3-4, but I think his frame could carry the weight to play nose.

thats interesting point. one that may be revisited in 2-3 years when Payne becomes one of the original expansion franchise retired Hall of Fame Texans. you very well may be right he certainly has the frame but he will have to learn to play less upright and keep the pads low, NT in a 3-4 is better suited to squat low center of gravity things that like to move piles & tug of war :cool:

LikeABoss
06-10-2005, 01:04 PM
^^I agree

wiley2002
06-10-2005, 01:33 PM
TJ vs Gary Walker

I bet TJ beats walker for the starting spot. :highfive: ZING!!!!
Now that I could see moreso than TJ taking Payne's spot. I can't wait to see this guy play!

Vambo, the Marble Eye
06-10-2005, 01:45 PM
Raw talent isn't enough in the NFL and certainly not to beat out a competitor like Payne that has EXPERIENCE on this defense. It would be great to have TJ have an immediate impact... but my guess he is hoping he doesn't embarass himself as a rookie.

texasguy346
06-10-2005, 02:04 PM
My best guess at how it shakes out is that TJ will rotate in at DE relieving Walker and Smith from time to time. Walker will probably remain the starter early on in the season, and TJ will probably rotate in more often as the season progresses. I wouldn't be surprised if TJ is getting more playing time than Walker as the season draws near its close.

throwANDREtheBALL
06-10-2005, 02:19 PM
I hope that he bulks up and improves his run-defence even more........cuz his pass-rush ability is way overrated..........he had something like 2 and a half sacks last year.

And we are expecting him to come in and beat out Gary Walker ?

:bomb:

our previous first round picks were good and they all became starters in their first years...........I have a feeling that TJ won't...........and therefore adds fuel to the argument that he was a reach.

infantrycak
06-10-2005, 02:29 PM
our previous first round picks were good and they all became starters in their first years...........I have a feeling that TJ won't...........and therefore adds fuel to the argument that he was a reach.

Or it adds fuel to the observation it is easier to start immediately on a building team than a more mature team. Basically Carr, AJ, Robinson and Babin didn't have to beat anyone out to get their starting jobs. TJ does. That is actually a sign of a healthy team rather than a sign of bad drafting.

TommyS
06-10-2005, 02:30 PM
there's no way TJ was a reach. Walker - (former) probowler, payne - top quality nose tackle, smith - pricey, young, highly rated freeagent from last year. on paper, IF all are fit and playing well, thats one of the best 3-4 lines in the league. thats why TJ might not start as a rookie, but here's betting he replaces walker in a years time and starts for us for 10 years after that.

throwANDREtheBALL
06-10-2005, 02:32 PM
OK then.........so what kind of numbers is this guy going to put up, when he does start ?

is he going to fix our pass rush problems that we so drastically wanted to improve heading into the draft ?

is a guy with 2 and a half sacks in college going to get it done for us ?

WOW I hope your right, BUDDY!

:highfive:

TommyS
06-10-2005, 02:41 PM
someone help me out here, help me explain to this guy that 3-4 linemen dont get sacks, dont make exciting highlight-reel plays...

3-4 LINEMEN TAKE ON BLOCKERS TO ALLOW THE LINEBACKERS TO MAKE PLAYS

now, if babin/peek/wong/anderson et al dont get any sacks this year, then complain at the linemen for not helping out.

pats linemen sacks last year: wilfork 2; warren 3.5; traylor 0; seymour 5; green 4.
these arent the exciting numbers that freeney/peppers etc put up. they dont even have great tackle counts. THATS NOT WHAT THEYRE THERE FOR.

the best teams dont have to throw rookies in starting roles. thank CC that we're getting to that stage.

infantrycak
06-10-2005, 02:52 PM
someone help me out here, help me explain to this guy that 3-4 linemen dont get sacks, dont make exciting highlight-reel plays...

IMO no coach says 3-4 DLmen aren't supposed to get sacks, but a function of the system is they will get less. More important is collapsing the pocket from the inside so the play flows to the OLB's or tieing up the OLmen so the ILB's can shoot gaps and make plays. But, good 3-4 DE's do get sacks--ex. New England's DE's had 12.5 sacks last year, Walker in his pro-bowl year - 6, Pittsburgh's DE's had 10 sacks last year. So both DE's in a good 3-4 may contribute like a great RDE in a 4-3. Unfortunately, the Texans only got 2.5 sacks from the DE position last year.

TommyS
06-10-2005, 03:00 PM
point taken, maybe i should have worded my statement better.

but he's still a good pick...

infantrycak
06-10-2005, 03:10 PM
point taken, maybe i should have worded my statement better.

but he's still a good pick...

Hopefully the Texans end up with something very like the Seymour & Jarvis Green tag team. Seymour had 5 and Green had 4. That's what we need--5 or 6 from Walker and 3 or 4 from TJ. You see that kind of production from LDE and Robaire, Babin and Peek's production will all go up as well.

dalemurphy
06-11-2005, 09:04 AM
Experience my foot......


If TJ can provide more upfield pressure than G-Funk (by the way walker has been playing lmao!!!!) he will start.


Who starts is irrelevant. My hope is that Johnson will play well enough to be very involved in the DL rotation. It is unlikely that Capers would start a rookie ahead of a vet like Gary Walker, though it wouldn't be unlikely that Johnson could play more snaps than Walker.

dalemurphy
06-11-2005, 09:14 AM
I hope that he bulks up and improves his run-defence even more........cuz his pass-rush ability is way overrated..........he had something like 2 and a half sacks last year.

And we are expecting him to come in and beat out Gary Walker ?

:bomb:

our previous first round picks were good and they all became starters in their first years...........I have a feeling that TJ won't...........and therefore adds fuel to the argument that he was a reach.

Well, our previous first rounders, outside of Babin, were all top 10 picks. Perhaps if he doesn't start this year it is because we're getting good value from SPayne, RSmith, and Gary Walker. Regardless, he'll play enough for us to see what he can do.

Leave it to fans like yourself or Bottle of Bud or IBAR to setup arbitrary criteria before the season starts to use as a basis to criticize the organization. Success of first round picks aren't determined by starting status in their rookie season. Otherwise, I guess you could say that Ryan Leaf was a good pick and Steve McNair was a bust. Is that what you're trying to say?

nunusguy
06-11-2005, 09:29 AM
If TJ can provide more upfield pressure than G-Funk (by the way walker has been playing lmao!!!!) he will start.
It would suit me fine if the Texans would just award that starting DT
slot to TJ, making it his to lose or stated another way, putting Walker in the postion of having to "win" back his starting spot. I think most would agree that Sharper and Glenn, who are of course both gone, made much more of a contribution to the defense than Walker did last year. FWIW, I think Walker is much more over compensated and much more of under achiever than those 2 departed players ever were. And what's more, we basically gave rookies D-Rob & Babin their starting jobs last year to lose, and both of those positions, especially Babin's convertion from Downlineman to LB, were more challenging for an NFL rookie that what TJ would face.

Vinny
06-11-2005, 03:46 PM
The guy on our line that has achieved least or was the least impressive when you watch the games over the years when 100% healthy is Robaire Smith. He was flat out unimpressive for much of last year. 2-gap techniques take a few years to really learn in the NFL, and a reason that TJ will likely be our situational pass rushing DL at first. I can see him replacing any of the 3 down linemen depending on down and distance and freshness. We need 4 -5 guys to run a proper 3-man line an entire game anyway.

cadahnic
06-11-2005, 03:58 PM
Vinny I think that TJ will replace Gary Walker by mid-season as the starter. Robaire and TJ on the outside gives us alot of athleticism. Payne, Sears, Walker, and the other guys will provide depth and rotation. Look for TJ to try and pattern his game after Richard Seymour. He is a poor mans Richard Seymour anyway.

Vinny
06-11-2005, 04:06 PM
TJ really has more of a one-gap game than Semour does. TJ is really a Gary Walker clone moreso than a Seymour type imo. Walker is our best linemen if he is healthy - Smith our least effective, but I need to see him after a full year as a two gap player.

F-minus67
06-11-2005, 04:46 PM
Can any of the starters play other postions on the line? Because I remember that in our first season SI had Payne projected as a DE and Deloach as the NT. So I was wondering if the could switch around the DEs and the NTs to give offenses different looks and try to confuse them.

Vinny
06-11-2005, 04:51 PM
All our linemen are pretty much 4-3 DT's. Walker and TJ are the two that are probably least likely to be NT's on first or second downs in running situations though.

TexansTrueFan
06-11-2005, 05:00 PM
TJ may not start this year, but expect to see him on the line with R. Smith before long.

astrofan
06-11-2005, 05:10 PM
I just want someone to keep the RTs off of #93

nunusguy
06-11-2005, 07:11 PM
TJ really has more of a one-gap game
Virtually all of the big, athletic downlineman coming into the NFL played as
one-gappers in college. One exception last year was Marcus Spears, who
played as a two-gap DE at LSU. Spears and TJ were generally considered the 2 best defensive lineman in this years college draft, the Texans had their
choice of the 2, and of course their pick was TJ. So I don't think they have
too many reservations about TJs ability to pick up and apply his skills to the
two-gap configuration. The biggest challenge is of course not being the hero
and going for the home run - gotta be more disciplined as a two-gapper in the 3-4. In addition to being a tremendous athelete for such a big man, the
Texans obviously feel that TJ has the stength and size to be a two-gapper.

ArlingtonTexan
06-11-2005, 07:33 PM
Virtually all of the big, athletic downlineman coming into the NFL played as
one-gappers in college. One exception last year was Marcus Spears, who
played as a two-gap DE at LSU. Spears and TJ were generally considered the 2 best defensive lineman in this years college draft, the Texans had their
choice of the 2, and of course their pick was TJ. So I don't think they have
too many reservations about TJs ability to pick up and apply his skills to the
two-gap configuration. The biggest challenge is of course not being the hero
and going for the home run - gotta be more disciplined as a two-gapper in the 3-4. In addition to being a tremendous athelete for such a big man, the
Texans obviously feel that TJ has the stength and size to be a two-gapper.

Good breakdown.

Vinny
06-11-2005, 10:09 PM
nunusguy, I often say it takes a few years to learn 2-gap techniques in the NFL. I'm not excluding TJ and never implied that he can't learn them....but right now he will likely be used more for his penetration skills on passing situations than a pure all-around 3-4 linemen.

BornOrange
06-11-2005, 10:57 PM
We need to differentiate between the responsibilities of defensive linemen in the base 3-4 defense and their responsibilities in the nickle package (which the Texans run 40% of the time).

In the base 3-4 defense all the defensive linemen play 2-gap technique. The nose tackle lines up against the center and the DE's line up against the tackles. Each defensive lineman is responsible for the 2 gaps on either side of his opponent.

However, in the nickle package the nose tackle is removed for a nickle back giving the defense a 4-2-5 look with the DE's becoming DT's and the OLB's becoming DE's. In the nickle the two "OLB/DE's" line up outside the tackles and the "DE/DT's" can lineup in a variety of places depending on what kind of look the defense wants to have. Thus the "DT's" can have either 1-gap or 2-gap responsibilities.

It is in the nickle package that Gary Walker and Travis Johnson can utilize their 1-gap abilities to apply pressure on the quarterback. This is where I thought Marcus Spears would have been a great addition to the Texans, but hopefully Travis Johnson will be able to make an impact. I expect that Walker and Johnson will usually be the two "DT's" in the nickle package and thus will be the linemen who have the best chance at getting sacks. Robaire Smith and Seth Payne will see most of their action in the base 3-4 and short-yardage packages.

bigtex77
06-12-2005, 11:56 AM
I am not sure what the Houston Texans saw in Florida State defensive tackle Travis Johnson. Johnson will flash occasional quickness through the gap, but is very inconsistent. He lacks lateral quickness and gives up on a lot of plays in pursuit. Johnson also will struggle anchoring at the point of attack.

I srumbled across this on ourlads.com, not sure how reputable the site is and I'm not saying I agree, I was just putting it out there.

Lucky
06-12-2005, 12:13 PM
I srumbled across this on ourlads.com, not sure how reputable the site is and I'm not saying I agree, I was just putting it out there.
It's the same site that claimed the Texans made a mistake taking Carr over Harrington. They'll hit on some & miss on some. Just like any internet site. As far as what the Texans saw in TJ, all Ourlads had to do was ask Dom Capers (http://www.houstontexans.com/news/news_detail.php?PRKey=1642).
Travis Johnson is a very active interior lineman, a guy we think has a combination of the size and strength to play the run yet the athletic ability to penetrate, and add pass rush to our defensive front. We see him fitting into our nickel scheme right away as an inside rusher and a guy we can fit into the rotation with our front people. We felt he had the most speed, athletic ability, size combination really of any interior lineman in the draft. He plays very aggressively, we like the motor, plays hard, has been very productive and we certainly liked what we saw of him on video.
For the record, I agree with the Texans evaluation of TJ.

bigtex77
06-12-2005, 12:20 PM
It's kind of funny how two sets of people who are both supposed to be professionals can look at the same prospect and get two totally different scouting reports. I personally think the Texans will ultimately be right, though.

Vinny
06-12-2005, 12:27 PM
Just shows you how tough it is projecting players to the NFL level. Just because guys dominate NCAA kids doesn't mean it will translate to the NFL level. Drafting a 'sure thing' is like trying to pick out who will be most successful person in your graduating class.

ArlingtonTexan
06-12-2005, 12:55 PM
It's kind of funny how two sets of people who are both supposed to be professionals can look at the same prospect and get two totally different scouting reports. I personally think the Texans will ultimately be right, though.

Since I grade for a living, it is not uncommon as you think in all professions. In the NFL, there are players who one GM looks at as undraftable and another who thinks he is a 3rd round pick. In this, I am only talking about two guys looking at film and maybe combine data to determine the difference.

Once you starting adding in personal interviews, character concerns, injury history, the team's particular scheme, the varience widens not close. the player who is thought of in the same manner by a huge majority is the exception, not the rule.

ArlingtonTexan
06-12-2005, 02:06 PM
If you do any kind of comprehensive analysis of how the the football media rated DTs in this just finished college Draft, you'll find that TJ and Marcus
Spears were the top 2 rated DTs and you'll find that the it was a relatively weak draft for DTs. Very often multiple tackles are taken in the top 10 selections and since TJ wasn't taken until 16, that tends to support the claim about a less than steller froup of tackles this year.
What's very interesting to me is that the top 2 were taken by us and Dallas - both 3-4 teams(Dallas reportedly has commited going 3-4 this Fall). Its my understanding that historically part of the appeal of the 3-4 was that the
Downlineman used were the type who were the more cap friendly very large, strong guys but not necessaryly the quick, explosive, athletic types that were one-gappers in the 4-3; however, both TJ and Spears clearly fit into
the latter category.
Another interesting related topic - the purest, best LB in the draft was Derrick Johnson but 2 3-4 teams (Dallas & SD)both turned their noses up at him to draft tweener DEs D.Ware & Merriman to play LB for them. I gotta wonder if a Demarcus Ware would have even been taken in the first round 5 years ago ? Its all supply and demand, and the renewed popularfity of the
3-4 is placing new demands on the supply of college talent.

While I think supply and demand play a significant factor in the draft process...the notion that 3-4 lineman could be found later in the draft was always over played, if not incorrect. IMO, some 4-3 team were drafting guys who would be great in 3-4 along with the history of NE and Pittsburg drafting Dlman in the first round made this theory just that a theory that had little to no basis in practice.

As for Ware and Merriman being drafted in the first round now versus five years ago, I think teams draft their pass rushing skill not 4-3 end versus 3-4 LB. Given that, I think Ware and Merriman would have been drafted in the first like John Abraham, who at 6'4" 250-255 who would 3-4 OLB or Andre Carter, a little heavier, who is now making the conversion from DE to OLB with the 49ers.

nunusguy
06-12-2005, 03:03 PM
While I think supply and demand play a significant factor in the draft process...the notion that 3-4 lineman could be found later in the draft was always over played, if not incorrect. IMO, some 4-3 team were drafting guys who would be great in 3-4 along with the history of NE and Pittsburg drafting Dlman in the first round made this theory just that a theory that had little to no basis in practice.
As for Ware and Merriman being drafted in the first round now versus five years ago, I think teams draft their pass rushing skill not 4-3 end versus 3-4 LB. Given that, I think Ware and Merriman would have been drafted in the first like John Abraham, who at 6'4" 250-255 who would 3-4 OLB or Andre Carter, a little heavier, who is now making the conversion from DE to OLB with the 49ers.
I dunno Arlington, none of our current starting downlineman were taken higher
than the 3rd Round but on the other hand I would have to admit they sure done good in FA when it came time to resign - TJ set a precedent there.
And as far as LBs go, I think some have questioned whether Ware would be even adequate size to be a 4-3 end - he might just be a 3rd down player, Merriman is big enough. But Dallas takes Ware 11 overall to play OLB in their 3-4.
But how about this, if Antwaan Peek was just coming out this year, do you really think someone would not grab him before the 3rd round. I mean really, what's the difference between Peek and Ware ?
I really think the rapid increase in pop of the 3-4 has changed the draft value of a lot of these guys.

Vinny
06-12-2005, 03:10 PM
I gotta wonder if a Demarcus Ware would have even been taken in the first round 5 years ago ? Its all supply and demand, and the renewed popularfity of the 3-4 is placing new demands on the supply of college talent.Guys like John Abraham, Julian Peterson, Peter Boulware, Willie McGinest, Andre Bruce, Derrick Thomas, Keith McCants were all high draft picks and played DE in College and have tweener bodytypes. Edge rushers are edge rushers and they always have value.

Vinny
06-12-2005, 03:12 PM
I dunno Arlington, none of our current starting downlineman were taken higher
than the 3rd Round but on the other hand I would have to admit they sure done good in FA when it came time to resign - TJ set a precedent there.We haven't been drafting for many years either so I don't think you can see a trend in our drafts yet. Pittsburgh and New England have taken several first round DL's and done quite well themselves. I don't know why we would be different.

ArlingtonTexan
06-12-2005, 04:15 PM
I dunno Arlington, none of our current starting downlineman were taken higher
than the 3rd Round but on the other hand I would have to admit they sure done good in FA when it came time to resign - TJ set a precedent there.
And as far as LBs go, I think some have questioned whether Ware would be even adequate size to be a 4-3 end - he might just be a 3rd down player, Merriman is big enough. But Dallas takes Ware 11 overall to play OLB in their 3-4.
But how about this, if Antwaan Peek was just coming out this year, do you really think someone would not grab him before the 3rd round. I mean really, what's the difference between Peek and Ware ?
I really think the rapid increase in pop of the 3-4 has changed the draft value of a lot of these guys.

I believe teams draft skills, not position. Even if a team projects a guy in the same pro position as his college one, there is still a serious adjustment. Ware's passing rushing skills have been stated as special and compared to Derrick thomas and others of that status...Peek was never spoken of in those terms and has done nothing to prove that he is a high end pass rusher in the league.

Actually, I think Peek would have been draft in the 3rd or 4th round, because he has the pass rushing skills are of 3rd or 4th player round player. Remember a 4th tweener Shaun Phillips was drafted in 2004's 4th round and has more sacks that Peek does in two seasons.

Davis37
06-13-2005, 05:52 AM
I dont think TJ will ever start this year unless there are injuries on the DL. He will get a good amount of playing time though. He will rotate in with Smith and Walker to keep everyone fresh. He might play a little at NT, but IMO he is undersized for the position at the moment. I think he will win a starter position next season, but will only be a situational player this season. Hopefully when he is in on passing downs, he can bring the pressure we need up the middle and let Babin and Peek grab the sacks when the qb tries to advoid the interior pressure. Im looking forward to see him in action this season! :highfive: