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Old 07-25-2013   #1
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Default LZ: Texans training camp previews

TEXANS TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: DEFENSE
Lance Zierlein, TSV


Quote:
Here are the defensive story-lines for the Texans headed into camp.

1. When will Ed Reed be ready to play?

This may sound simple and even obvious, but it is no less important for the Texans. The Texans let Glover Quin walk because they thought they could add a veteran safety in Ed Reed who could help them get over the top. Right now they are hoping he can get over his hip issue. If he's not back, the Texans will have to start rookie D.J. Swearinger and no matter how talented they believe him to be, he's still a rookie.


2. Can the Texans get more pressure off the edge this year?

The combination of Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed was outstanding in 2011 only to be disappointing in 2012. We will find out if having Whitney Mercilus coming off the edge makes a difference. Mercilus adds more speed out there, but a big part of the Texans pass rush is their T/E and E/T twists so the OLBs have to work together well with Antonio Smith and J.J. Watt at various times. Regardless, a Watt-only pass rush won't work in 2013.


3. Can Brian Cushing come all the way back from his ACL tear?


Brian Cushing isn't Adrian Peterson, and nobody else is Peterson either. I also don't think Peterson is the measuring stick for everyone coming back from an ACL tear. Cushing will have had enough time between his surgery and the beginning of the season to make it back on the field, but the question is going to be whether or not it affects his lateral quickness. LBs don't have to cut and explode like RBs so there is a greater chance of recovery the year after injury for a LB, but we still need to see it play out like that for Cushing.


POSITION-BY-POSITION ANALYSIS

NOSE TACKLES
From what I've seen on tape and in practices, Earl Mitchell is ...
The Texans drafted Chris Jones in the 6th round...
Jared Crick has added 10 pounds..

DEFENSIVE ENDS
J.J. Watt is coming off...
Antonio Smith wasn't as...
Tim Jamison is a big part of...
Jared Crick, as I mentioned previously, is bigger...
The Texans carry four DEs so making the 53 man roster will be very difficult for guys like...

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS
Brooks Reed took plenty of OTA snaps at ILB, but...
whitney Mercilus showed edge speed and quickness that was...
Sam Montgomery flashed at times in OTAs, but...
Kubiak seemed to think that Travardo Williams was slightly ahead...
Bryan Braman may...
Willie Jefferson is an UDFA who...

INSIDE LINEBACKERS
Brian Cushing will take...
Darryl Sharpton needs to...
Tim Dobbins certainly didn't...

CORNERBACKS
Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson have their spots locked down, but...
The nickel CB position will likely go to Brice McCain...
brandon Harris lacks deep speed...
Roc Carmichael...
There is some cornerback talent at the back end of the depth chart headed into camp... Johnny Adams or A.J. Bouye.

SAFETIES
Danieal Manning is obviously locked into his spot and camp won't really do anything new for him. The problem, in my eyes, is...
Until Reed is ready, Manning...
Rookie D.J. Swearinger can play inside the box or in deep middle, according to the Texans, but I'm not sure...
Shiloh Keo ...days are likely numbered...
Eddie Pleasant, Ohrian Johnson...
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Old 07-25-2013   #2
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

TEXANS TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: OFFENSE

Quote:
There are always storylines heading into each camp that will either define the way a roster is shaped, or can define how good a team can be. Here are three offensive storylines to watch during the preseason for the Texans.

Can DeAndre Hopkins become an instant threat as the new starting WR2?
The Texans haven't ever had a consistently dangerous WR2 since, well, since ever. While I think DeAndre Hopkins can certainly become a quality NFL WR, the question is whether or not he can make an immediate impact while the window for success is still open with Andre Johnson as the Texans WR1. We will see how quickly QB Matt Schaub and Hopkins can gel in the preseason.

Will anyone step up and prove that they deserve to be the starter at right tackle?
The Texans thought Derek Newton had the size and athleticism to take over as the starting RT of the future, but that future was hastened last year once Rashad Butler was lost for the year. Truth be told, neither guy looked very good in preseason. Newton had an average to below average first year and the Texans drafted Brennan Williams in the third round because of it. The problem is that I'm not sure Williams or Newton are better than veteran Ryan Harris and I'm not sure that any of the three are good enough for what the Texans want this season. My early money is on Ryan Harris winning the job.

Will the running game still be the headliner of this offense, or will Kubiak look to attack through the air more in 2013?
I don't think we'll ever see Gary Kubiak abandon what he believes in which is a solid running game that helps to balance a play-action passing attack that threatens defenses on the intermediate and deep levels. With that said, I also don't think Kubiak has much interest in putting Schaub in many second-and-long and third-and-long positions, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a more aggressive approach from the offense with the passing game being used to open things up for the running game. The Texans passing game usually comes out looking sharp in the preseason and early in the year so we may not have this question answered until we get 2 or 3 games deep into the season.

POSITION-BY-POSITION ANALYSIS
QUARTERBACK
We all know that Matt Schaub is...
T.J. Yates is probably the...
Case Keenum is one to keep an eye on in camp.
Stephen McGee is a bit...

RUNNING BACK
The more I studied the running game this offseason, the more...
Arian Foster has been used...
Ben Tate was in the...
Deji Karim is a veteran who...
Ray Graham, Cierre Wood and Dennis Johnson...

WIDE RECEIVER
They forgot about Dre...
The key to the offense is likely going to be the rookie Hopkins because...
Keyshawn Martin was a big...
I would like to say that I'm excited about Lestar Jean, but...
Rookie draft pick Alan Bonner isn't very big, but...

TIGHT END
There isn't really much to say about Owen Daniels since...
Garrett Graham has more potential than some might think...
Even though rookie Ryan Griffin has the size and potential blocking ability... Phillip Supernaw is a guy the Texans...

TACKLES
Duane Brown weighed just...
Derek Newton is physically ready for camp, but...
Ryan Harris may not be the sexy selection, but...
Brennan Williams is a rookie and he missed OTAs due to injury. That's a bad combination...
Andrew Gardner isn't going to...
Nick Mondek was a...
I like rookie David Quessenberry, but...

GUARDS / CENTERS
Chris Myers is steady and more than...
There were snaps late in the year where I thought Brandon Brooks looked...
As for Wade Smith, he had his...
Quessenberry and Ben Jones who might be able to play LG...
Ben Jones showed that he was a...
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Old 07-25-2013   #3
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Playoffs View Post
Quote:
Will anyone step up and prove that they deserve to be the starter at right tackle?

The Texans thought Derek Newton had the size and athleticism to take over as the starting RT of the future, but that future was hastened last year once Rashad Butler was lost for the year. Truth be told, neither guy looked very good in preseason. Newton had an average to below average first year and the Texans drafted Brennan Williams in the third round because of it. The problem is that I'm not sure Williams or Newton are better than veteran Ryan Harris and I'm not sure that any of the three are good enough for what the Texans want this season. My early money is on Ryan Harris winning the job.
A simple matter of Last Man "Standing."
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Old 07-26-2013   #4
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

Perhaps it's my suspicious nature but I think putting Arian on the preseason PUP is just Kubiak giving Tate his chance to show he's back to his near-1000 yard form and give the other guys a chance to grab a choke hold on that third spot. That spot paid off in a nice way for Justin Forsett as he's now the #2 RB for the Jags. This is Tate's contract year so he needs to put some "good tape" out there if he wants to get paid with a new contract
...or if Rick Smith wants to turn him into draft picks via trade.
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Old 07-27-2013   #5
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

Was Lance at opening day of training camp?
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Old 07-27-2013   #6
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

IMO, Newton was better than Ryan Harris last season and if healthy should be this season. I like Harris and he should be better and healthier but everything being said from team is Newton and Williams both will be ready to go game 1.
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Old 07-29-2013   #7
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

Quote:
Originally Posted by ObsiWan View Post
Perhaps it's my suspicious nature but I think putting Arian on the preseason PUP is just Kubiak giving Tate his chance to show he's back to his near-1000 yard form and give the other guys a chance to grab a choke hold on that third spot.
You are probably right.

RB is maybe the hardest position on your body...Arian has gotten a lot of touches the past few years...He's your big money back...

I'm fine if Kubiak is doing like you say he is.
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