Originally Posted by Texian
According to PFF out of 106 ranked CBs, Joseph is ranked #23. That's respectable. Cutting Joseph and the Texans secondary is only getting worse not better. I think the pass rush and run defense are bigger problems facing the defense. Currently the Texans Passing D is ranked #1, the Texans Rushing D is #27.
Doubtful that we would have to cut Joseph... But, the threat of the cut encourages restructuring of the contract. Depending on any number of factors, having that $11 million salary available to cut without dead money being attached to it provides leverage and also freedom for the Texans should something happen (injury, another good CB surfaces at a bargain, etc..)
The rush defense was never designed to be very good. The Phillips' scheme is set up to make plays against the run (but not consistently shut the attack down) and the pass. But, because it is an aggressive one gap scheme, if teams are able to run the ball 30 times a game, they are going to gash us sometimes. Also, Phillips' defense is poor recognizing and defending draws and screens- partly due to the aggressiveness and partly due to poor situational recognition by the coaches and subsequently the players.
All that being said, the Texans biggest issue on defense is the situational predictability in coverage and in blitzing. Playcallers can be relatively certain, in passing situations, that the Texans will be sending both OLBs, one ILB, along with the three downlinemen on 3rd and moderate-long... Also, they can be quite sure that the Texans will be in a straight man coverage scheme based on the offensive package and WR alignment. This is why the Texans struggle against good QBs with good coaches. Lesser QBs wilt under the pressure or struggle enough with consistency and accuracy that they can't make enough plays against the press man and pass rushing pressure. Good QBs see those predictable pressure packages as an opportunity... and they know that if the offense can execute, they will succeed on the play. For an offense to line up in those difficult situations (3rd and 6 or more) with that kind of confidence, well, that spells trouble.
Combine those defensive limitations with injuries to the two most versatile playmakers (Manning, Cushing) in the middle of the defense, and we are in a world of trouble against Indy, Denver, New England.
As a Kubiak and Schaub supporter, even I recognize our best hope to salvage this (once very promising season) is for Keenum to play and perhaps create/develop an offensive mentality that is more aggressive, unpredictable, and will hopefully create plays at opportune times in those games where we are over-matched.
I still think this is an 8 win team, even with the injuries and poor start. It needs to get to 10, though, and with the loss of Cushing, it will be one hell of an exciting and hope-invigurating ride if we get there. And, I can't imagine it happening without a set of peculiar variables: Keenum being one, and the surprising emergence of a couple other young players on defense being some others (safety and LB).