Originally Posted by Hervoyel
I can respect that take. We just disagree on where the line is.
After watching the Texans try to put together a line for most of a decade I've concluded that I'm looking for something to happen that's never going to happen. Who's "set" on their OL across the board in this league? Almost nobody I'd wager. Everyone's working a rookie in here or a free agent in there. Everybody loses a player in camp or during the season. Everybody's trying to get more out of the offensive line.
I watched the best running back I ever saw play behind a line that wasn't even as good as the one the Texans field these days. That was of course Earl Campbell but his line was just absolute garbage and no amount of fond memories can wipe that memory away. After Earl was almost entirely used up the Oilers got serious about drafting offensive linemen in a big, big way and before long put together what might very well be the best line I'll ever see play football in my lifetime. Then I watched a bunch of lesser backs do very little behind that line. R&S offense or not Mike Rozier, Alonzo Highsmith, Allen Pinkett, and Lorenzo White all looked pretty damned ordinary back there.
The way I see it the Texans line is good enough to get the job done in terms of personnel. You put a guy back there with some vision and some burst and you can make trouble for people. Slaton proved that in 2008 and Arian Foster drove home the concept over the last three weeks of 2009. Our running game is functional as it is with a back playing the system correctly. Now Foster was an UDFA but he looked pretty good back there. Not much speed but he made the cuts and he got the yards.. Slaton was a 3rd and appeared to be getting his running game back but just couldn't stop putting the ball on the ground. They're guys with obvious flaws but they're solid runners (when Slaton isn't fumbling).
I want to see what a legitimate franchise running back does behind this line. I predict that with a real back this group (assuming Pitts and Brisiel come back) are more than enough line to get it done. Nothing is absolute or without an exception to the rule but I think more often than not a great running back can go a long way towards hiding an offensive lines warts. At the same time I don't think there's a line in the world that can make a bad running back look good. It just doesn't happen.
That running back has to have something to begin with in order to take advantage of what he's given. He has to have some quality to leverage be it speed, "burst", vision, strength, what have you. We'll never get that guy though if we spend forever looking for the perfect replacement for every imperfect lineman we have.
The teams that are still playing have invested heavily in their OL.
Jets Woody Fa Faneca FA Mangold 1st rd pick Moore (dont know) Ferguson 1st rd pick
Colts Deim and Ugoh were high picks, Saturday is the exception to the rule They signed one of their G's in FA. Plus Manning could make any OL look good.
Minny. McKinney 1st rd pick Hutchinson FA (highest contract ever signed by a G) Sullivan 4th rd pick Herrrera (dont know) Loadholt 2nd rd pick.
Dont know about the Saints
As for Campbell that he didn't have a good OL is a mis conception. his OL was this.
Leon Gray All pro (one of the greatest OL of his time) OG Bob Young former pro bowler (later became Oilers OL coach) C Carl Mauck Leader of the OL and one of the toughest OL you could ever have. OG John Schumacher an average OG but a good and tough run blocker. RT Conway Hayman A very underrated RT IMO.
Also when you factor in Tim Wilson who was the best blocking FB of his time and they ran a 2 TE set with Mike Barber above Avg run blocker and Dave Casper who was a great blocking TE you can see why they had success running the ball. Not taking anything away from Earl because he was the best RB I have ever seen for a 6/7 yr period.
If I told you that the Texans could finally fix their OL problems by trading a 3rd rd pick for Chris Kuper and spending a 1st rd pick on Iupati would you be willing to do that? The OL would be set for the next 8-10 yrs. Next years draft is the one that you want to spend a high draft pick. Ingram,Royster,etc.
I'm not saying dont take a RB this year. Take one in the middle rds and get the franchise RB after your OL is set next year.