Originally Posted by CloakNNNdagger
Going from 54 tackles in 6 games (prior to injury) in 2010 to 64 tackles in 16 games in 2011 hardly displays improved health and improved production. With a 3-4, on 3rd down without 4 big dL in front of him, and with his lack of explosiveness to pass rush, and with his obvious loss of side-to-side coverage, his tackle numbers would decrease, and he would be exposed in all aspects of a 4 down ILB. If he were kept in 3 or 4 downs routinely, teams would know to how successfully game plan to those weaknesses. As for James, he was expected by Wade to be a player that could fill all those criteria to a decent extent. It didn't work out that way. The Texans, if cap allows, will still be looking for an ILB who can do a decent job of also covering to complement Cushing (unless James miraculously finds the "key" with an additional offseason in the system).
Comparing his 2010 to his 2011 stats is apples & oranges. Totally different scheme & responsibilities. In the 4-3 scheme, prior to injury, Ryans very rarely came off of the field. In the 3-4 scheme he was reduced to a lesser role which was obvious to all who watched & for those that didn't it was verified by Rick Smith, Kubiak, & Wade. Ryans was no longer on the field on obvious passing downs or passing formations as much. That is fact & is exactly the reasoning that was given when he wad traded. They could not afford to pay the type of money Ryans was earning to a player who essentially became a 2 down player. No big mystery considering it was stated by many multiple times. That being said, I think we can all agree that less opportunity could easily lead to less production. Thus your stats comparison is apples & oranges imo.
As far as his health, many acknowledged that Ryans was not 100% at the beginning of 2011, but as the season progressed so did his play & production. That seemed apparent to most & was acknowledged by Wade & Kubiak at seasons end. The improvement reference was not from season to season, it was from 2011 1st half of season to 2011 2nd half of season. So yes, that did display improved health & production DURING the 2011 season.
Concerning your scenario that 4 d-lineman would be needed in passing downs to protect Ryans, I once again politely disagree. 1st off, Ryans, nor James for that matter, were expected to be a 3 down LB. Plain & simple. Verified by the Texans coaching staff. 2nd, if he was on the field I think the scheme is a bit more complicated & could disguise who's rushing & who's not enough to prevent teams from focusing on 1 player100% of the time. Sure mismatches will be attempted but that goes w/out saying & a less then 100% DeMeco held his own while learning the system on the fly in 2011. Assuming that some how he would've gotten worse w/ increased knowledge of the system & being 100% healthy just seems silly to me. The guy returned to 100+ tackles & some how we are suppose to believe he would've been worthless in a 3-4 & all of his tackles were "funneled" to him w/ him making no plays on the edges. Okkkkk...
Once again, Ryans issue in Houston was the money he was making compared to his new role. No big secret & stated by many. I do agree the Texans are in need of an ILB that is possibly similar in skill set to Cushing to ensure versatility w/in the defense & make it more potent. Let's hope it happens because James is not the answer.