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Old 12-12-2004   #11
bckey
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Originally Posted by Hervoyel
I disagree with them and do not feel that the o-line has been blocking well in the second half of the season. I don't think DD is going to be the answer to our needs in the long run. Of course if he wants to bust loose for 1,500 yards next year to prove me wrong I'm not going to have a problem with that. I don't think it's likely to happen though.

This year the running game became a problem due to a convergence of reasons. Davis got off to a bad start against San Diego and Detroit with four fumbles and that set him back, the new blocking scheme and addition of new starters, Wade missing time in the middle of the year and the poor play of his backup, Carr calling what can only be described as absolutely stupid audibles at bad situations, and the move of Chester Pitts to guard for the first time all contributed to the running game being sub-par.

Saying DD is the sole reason the running game sucks is like saying that Palmer is the sole reason that the offense sucks. He's a part of it and should get his share of the blame but he's not the only problem there.

Well said. I'm still not liking the idea of switching to a zone blocking scheme in our 3rd year. Capers should have thought about doing it from the first game of the 2002 season. It is not a brand new scheme that he just got wind of. Man blocking does still work and we were progressing last year. It could eventually cost Capers his job if it ends up taking too long for our OL to learn. He got fired in Carolina after his 3rd year. I could only hope. I say he gets fired after our 4th year if we aren't at least 9-7 next year. .500 won't cut it our 4th year. My nightmare would be Capers getting fired and Palmer being promoted to head coach.

Here is an article from a couple of weeks ago on zone blocking.

Offensive line experiencing tough transition to new approach
By CARLTON THOMPSON


If Joe Pendry knows why the Texans' offensive line hasn't performed better, he's not sharing the reasons with the media.

The Texans' first-year offensive line coach said he didn't have time for an interview Wednesday, which is nothing new, considering he hasn't had time since taking the job. When asked if he thought he'd ever have time, Pendry smiled and uttered one of the few words he has said to a reporter this season.

"Nope."

Hopefully for the Texans, he has better answers for his players.

After making significant improvement from 2002 to 2003, the Texans have yet to hit a comfort zone with their new zone-blocking scheme.

The Texans used a man-blocking scheme during their first two years under Tony Marciano, who was reassigned to tight ends coach to make room on the staff for Pendry. During the offseason, the team switched to the zone-blocking scheme that has helped teams such as Denver, Green Bay and Baltimore rank among the NFL's best at running the football.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, and coach Dom Capers and the offensive linemen believe the switch ultimately will be for the best. Nevertheless, the transition has been anything but smooth.

The Texans rank last in the NFL, averaging just 3.4 yards per rushing attempt, and before quarterback David Carr scrambled for 24 yards last Sunday against Green Bay, they were the only team in the league without a run of at least 20 yards.

The Texans' longest run by a running back came courtesy of Jonathan Wells, who had a 14-yard carry Oct. 3 against Oakland.

"I don't think it's as much the zone blocking," Capers said. "I think you see the most successful running teams in the league use zone blocking. Are we getting what we want out of our running game? No. We're not happy with the yards per carry and that type of thing, but I think it all fits together. It's not necessarily just the zone-blocking scheme. I think that's an easy out."

Translation: If the Texans don't execute, it doesn't matter which blocking scheme they use.

"In a man-blocking scheme, you have a specific man to block no matter where he goes," left guard Chester Pitts said. "In a zone-blocking scheme, you basically have a track or a path, and whoever comes on that path, that's who you block.

"To me, I don't care what system is in. If I block my guy, do what I'm supposed to do, use good technique and do it the way I'm taught, that's going to work. Both ways have proven to work. If everyone does what they're supposed to do, you're going to get positive yardage."

The Texans ultimately hope to be able to run the ball as effectively as the Broncos, Packers and Ravens, but it's worth noting those teams' linemen have played together and in the same system for years. The Texans have new starters at three positions on the line, and right guard Zach Wiegert is the only player with previous experience in a zone-blocking scheme, and that was 11 years ago at Nebraska.

"We're a much better offensive line than we were last year," Wiegert said. "We're a lot more physical, better pass blockers. I know it doesn't show; we've been behind in a lot of games lately. We're a much-improved line, no doubt. Guys aren't getting physically beaten very often. It's just a play here or there.

"This system is good. Our running game was OK last year, but it wasn't where it needed to be. We ran the ball because we didn't want to throw too much. To be the kind of offense we want to be, where you get to the playoffs and things like that, we need to take the next step and learn this blocking scheme. Once you get it down, this is definitely the best blocking scheme. Look at Denver. It doesn't matter who they put in the backfield."

Are the Texans to that point yet? With apologies to Pendry ... nope.
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