Keys to the season
I have been thinking about this for a while now and I have come up with absolutely no reason that the Texans should not make the play-off this year if they all play up to their potential. (Barring injury of course) These are IMO the most important keys to success in the upcoming season.
1.) Carr's Production: I think that this is the year where Carr should really be able to show his stuff. He has a solid and versatile O-Line and a group of young targets that give him the opportunity to make plays. I expect him to make palys with his arm and his leg this season. He is comfortable with the offense and all th pieces are in place for a breakout season.
2.) The Front 7: Hopefully the Texans will improve their pass rush from the previouse years,which I think they will. With the additions of Robaire Smith and rookie Jason Babin we should be a very affective team pass rushing as well as plugging the run.
3.) Discipline: The Texans commited too many penalties last year to keep teams drives going or to stop their own drives. If we can cut the amount of penalties, our all around production will improve greatly.
4.) Production of the rookies: Now I am never one to place the success of a team on the rookies, and I am not doing it now but I do think they will play a big part in their success. Dunta will have his stuggles like any other rookie, but if he can play well and take his lumps he can add to a very good defensive backfield. As far as Babin goes, he is learning a new position and new techniques, I expect him to struggle the first couple of games before he will actually come in and be prouctive, its all just learning the position for him.
5.) The Defense Gelling: The defense is the best its ever been, as far as talent goes, and now it comes down to the D comiong together. We have a new CB, LB, and DL we also have a player Coleman switching from CB to FS. With all this going on, I think the D will still be very good, but it would be great if they could all gell and come together.
Two things I'm confidant of: the Texans have more experience and they are more talented than last year. Does that mean that they are better, improved compared to last year. Of course the answer is yes. Will that translate into a better record this year ? Who knows ? Injuries they or their opponents may or may not have, critical calls in close games will,as always, play a huge role. We lost some close ones last year, but we won about as many close ones, so a 5 win season was about right. Carr's performance this year is huge - it's time for him to produce big time. We could be anywhere from having fewer wins than last year to be in post season play.
The Texans will start two rookies on defense this year and three key veteran defensive starters are coming off serious injuries. I think the defense might struggle a bit early on, but if they can avoid a repeat of the injury bug they should be ok as the season progresses.
I don't think that our penalties were really a result of a lack of discipline last year. Instead, I believe they occurred more often because guys were overmatched... That problem, barring injuries, has largely been solved.
The keys to every season are
1) Start with defense 3 and outs are a must last year the defense used the bend don't break rule, (due to injuries) This year they need to get the offense on the field ASAP.
2) Red zone effiency.
They need to score every time they are on the red zone and score touchdowns more then field goals.
Those two things combined with a little luck and playoffs here we come.
for me ...
1. injuries. plain & simple. i'm loving how we've got MUCH better depth but we still probably dont have great depth yet. we saw what happens to our run defense with walker/payne and what happens without them. if davis, or d-linemen, or any critical player (or worse, group of players again) went down for a significant amount of time it's going to hurt us probably more than most other teams.
2. carr. i dont expect 4000 yards and mvp, but i hope for considerable improvement. the game should really be slowing down for him and the pain & shock of the first season & the timidness of the second season should be worn off. he's got a capable & possibly great back behind him, an emerging set of studs wide, fantastic te's, and the most improved line in the league. there's nothing in his way now & he can let loose, i hope he shows the league what we know he's got.
3. confidence. last season the texans proved that they can hang with the best of the best in the nfl. i hope that carries over to this season and they're convinced that they're better now and can BEAT the best of the best. 4th quarter of tight games is when the stars shine and as hard as the texans fought, they just didnt have enough for the more capable & experienced teams. the texans are becoming one of the capable teams and i hope they believe that and really take it to teams when it gets down to the wire.
Attempts/% comp/TD's/INT's/Yds per att/Rating
Pre-Injury: 204/59.8%/6 TD's/8 INT's/7.27 ypa/75.7
Post-Injury: 91/49.5%/3 TD's/5 INT's/5.82 ypa/55.7
Seems like a pretty stark contrast. IMO the benchmark for improvement should be Carr's pre-injury performance. Projected over an NFL season with an average # of offensive plays, the pre-injury performance would translate to:
497 att/15 TD's/19 INT's/3613 total yards
The Texans could do well with that if Carr would just knock the INT's down significantly. Decent improvement over pre-injury last year looks like slightly over 60% completions, 20 TD's and 15 or less INT's.
I think the schedule has alot to do with the wins this year. We have a favorable lineup IMO.
Game's the Texans SHOULD win.
1. San Diego Chargers Reliant Stadium
2. Jacksonville Jaguars Reliant Stadium
3. Oakland Raiders Reliant Stadium
4. Detroit Lions
5. New York Jets
6. Chicago Bears
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
8. Cleveland Browns
Game's the Texans will have to work for.
1. Indianapolis Colts Reliant Stadium
2. Green Bay Packers Reliant Stadium
3. Tennessee Titans Reliant Stadium
4. Minnesota Vikings Reliant Stadium
5. Tennessee Titans
6. Denver Broncos
7. Indianapolis Colts
8. Kansas City Chiefs
There is no reason that we should hit any less than 8 games. And with a little luck 9 or 10.
I view this year as our last year in our "expansion build". We will have 35% of our defense either rookies or new starters at new positions so we will struggle at times early.
Defensively my "keys" to this season are Babins and Robinson playing like first round picks and becoming two more core players to go along with Sharper, Glenn, Walker, Payne, R Smith and Coleman.
Offensively you can look at how we put together our offense and look at the Browns offense, and it is easy to appreciate Casserly investing so much time and energy on the line. The Browns were born only a couple of years earlier than us and they still have giant question marks in their line and football is won and lost in the trenches. They have never really ever given their skill players a chance. They were so caught up in drafting a Running back, QB and WR's early in their first drafts that they did not give any of them a chance to develop behind good blocking. Sure they won a few games but we are miles ahead of them in the trenches. We didn't spend a ton of early picks on the line either but we spent lots of money on guys like Weigert, Wade, and McKinney to give us a shot. The Browns went with lesser players because they were spending their money on over-priced linebackers.
Having a healthy offensive line that learns our new scheme, and starts to gel over the 16 game season is our offensive key. I'm not worried about our skill players. Anyone 'expecting' wins is foolhardy. We are still a lesser staffed NFL team with players at new positions at far too many places to 'expect' wins over NFL teams. Stay healthy guys.
I am pretty confident in defense being able regain '02 yr form...possibly better. I understand that there may be some hiccups with Babin and Robinson and the LB corps jockeying around but overall I am willing to say that they will be a competitive defense that will be able to keep games close for the offense.
I am a big Carr believer, BUT this is the year that he is going to have to step up and look into the eyes around that huddle during a 4th quarter final 2 minutes and say, "Get on my back, I'll carry this team to the win" then actually make it happen. I honestly believe that Carr has about the best overall physical package of any QB that's come out since the early 90's. If he can translate that potential to some production and harness assets of Davis and Johnson he is going to have an outstanding year. I agree that good numbers to set the bar at are 60% completion rate, 20/12 td/INTs, and just over 3000 yrds passing. If he hits those marks you can set your watch to DD and AJ having 1000yrd seasons as well.
All that said...yeah, I think he'll get it done.
I believe we need to be a better 3rd down team on both sides of the ball. I also hope to see Carr connect on more homerun type plays to keep defenses honest this year. I am not asking to take the league by storm yardage wise offensively but we need to see the big plays more often this year.
I would really like Carr to hit Gaff more. I think thats a key
Gaff averaged 4 receptions and 53 yards the first four games of the season, when we found DD against the Titans Gaff averaged only 1.5 receptions and only 16 yards a game. And Gaff's most productive games after week 4 were when Tony Banks played: Buffalo, first Indy game and Carolina.
So Gaff had 212 yards in the 4 games pre-DD, after-DD Gaff had 200 yards in 10 games and 128 of those yards came with Tony Banks at QB.
I think Carr needs to look Gaff's way more, no more of this AJ long, DD short stuff.
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