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Old 08-28-2004   #1
JustBonee
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Default Kendrick Starling

What does everyone think of this guy?

He was all over the field last night, and also the previous game .. he really comes to play.
While they are deciding if he should make the team or not, I say he should be a starter.
He has a real knack for following the action of each and every play and being in the thick of it.
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Old 08-28-2004   #2
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I've said in other threads that I think he's ahead of Sloan Thomas. He did nothing but help himself last night. I think he was the first one downfield on every punt. He's doing a great job as a gunner and an adequate job as a ko returner, plus he's shown great speed from the WR position on reverses and deep patterns. Sloan can do almost everthing Starling can do (except for ko returns apparently) but it seems that Starling is doing it a little better. He's one of those guys who seems to have a knack for being around the ball and making plays.

Forgot to mention his 23.2 yard average on 5 ko returns last night (Moses had a 23.4 average last year). If Starling keeps that up and continues to hold on to the ball, he's making a strong case for himself.

Last edited by aj.; 08-28-2004 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 08-28-2004   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
Forgot to mention his 23.2 yard average on 5 ko returns last night (Moses had a 23.4 average last year). If Starling keeps that up and continues to hold on to the ball, he's making a strong case for himself.
He's making a case for the backup kick returner, but he's not the guy to field kicks all year long. Starling is tentative running into the wedge. And his upright running style is great for speed but he's going to take some huge hits.

As a gunner, Starling has all the speed you need. But he canít finish the play because he hasnít learned to tackle yet. Kendrick has the tools to develop, but heís not ready to help a team win. Just about every team has a guy like him, such as the Broncos rookie WR Luke. Iím sure that they will have a similar tough decision to make regarding his roster status.
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Old 08-28-2004   #4
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Wasn't there a character issue with Starling? I recall some talk around the time that we signed him saying there were character concerns and that was why he wasn't drafted. Does anyone else recall this?

I think clearly the Texans want him to make the team and accordingly they must have resolve the character issue (if any) in their minds.

Gaffney also had some issues from early years in Florida and the Texans must have decided he had grown out of it.
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Old 08-28-2004   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistril48
Wasn't there a character issue with Starling?
You know, I've never heard anything about a character issue with Kendrick. He bounced around college because of grades/test scores, that's why he's a little older (24) than most rookies. The Texans bio on Starling has him as active in Boys & Girls clubs.

Here's the HPF Bio on Kendrick:
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WR Kendrick Starling, San Jose State. Starling was an all-everything prospect at Marshall (Texas) High School, but academic shortcomings forced him to Navarro Junior College. He became a junior college All-American and rewrote the conference record book in his two seasons at Navarro, averaging over 20 yards per catch. Starling then signed with and enrolled at Marshall University, which makes one wonder if he realized that the school is in West Virginia, and not his northeast Texas hometown. Again he failed to qualify under NCAA rules, so he moved on to a California junior college (where he did not play football) and then transferred to San Jose State. He flashed his great talent at the I-A level, but, in part due to injury, did not put up big numbers. Starling also returned kickoffs at San Jose State. He is a vertical receiver who fits the Texans' offense.
Here's a little part of an interview with Starling from Longview News-Journal:
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ďThe thing about the Texans is itís a good program with great coaches, surrounded by a group of really good guys. I had heard things that because I wasnít drafted they wouldnít accept me and I wouldnít be able to get close to anyone, but that wasnít the case at all.

ďIíve gotten a lot of good positive things from positive people. What I ím looking forward to playing is a little bit as a receiver, but mostly as a special teams player. Because Iím not as familiar with the offense, they want me as a specialist, from punt returns to blocking punts. Theyíre trying to keep me on the field, because the thing I excel in is my speed. My ability to get down the field ... whatever I can do to help.Ē
From everything I've seen or heard, Starling seems to be a good guy. His problem has been not being in one place long enough to develop. Really, Kendrick is a poster boy for why the NFL came up with the developmental squad. But his attitude regarding what he has to do to help the team may be the difference from the practice squad to the 53 man roster.
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Old 08-28-2004   #6
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He's making a case for the backup kick returner, but he's not the guy to field kicks all year long
Backup to JJ I assume?

JJ may very well still be the man because he is a very good kick returner, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. Starling is getting a long audition for a reason. I think it may be because he's being considered as the team's primary kick returner.

Last edited by aj.; 08-28-2004 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 08-28-2004   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky
He's making a case for the backup kick returner, but he's not the guy to field kicks all year long. Starling is tentative running into the wedge. And his upright running style is great for speed but he's going to take some huge hits.

Not too bad for his first real shot at returning kicks. He will get better as he gets more practice. With the same return average as JJ, we can stand to let him develop now. I know this is the preseason, and it may be tougher for him when the season begins, but I believe he will get better as he gets more opportunities.

He never had a chance to make a tackle from what I saw, except for the last punt where he flew by the receiver. Everytime they fielded the punt, Starling was in their face forcing a fair catch. He beat his man off the line and down the field on every punt I saw. CC seemed very impressed w/him when they interviewed him in the booth. He mentioned thtat he didn't cover kicks in college and he would get better. You can't teach speed and hustle, but you can teach tackling and how to get in better position.
How many times has JJ helped on special teams? He has more to offer than JJ at this point, and he will only get better as he is allowed to develop.
JJ's only value is as a return man, and he has to be head and shoulders above everyone else this year to keep that spot.

Last edited by dredge; 08-28-2004 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 08-28-2004   #8
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I'm rooting for Starling. He's shown a ton of heart this preseason, and I love the kick-coverage speed he brings. Whether he takes Moses' job remains to be seen, but I imagine that he will probably get on the roster. No way he's starting material on this team, though...we have a lot of talent at WR, as evidenced in the first half in Denver!
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Old 08-28-2004   #9
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The Texans are definately looking for a reason to cut JJ beacause he can't contribute elsewhere. But, Starling didn't look near as good returning kicks as JJ. He runs too straight, can't make anyone miss. JJ's still the man.

That being said, I bet the Texans find a place on the team for both of them.
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Old 08-28-2004   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
Forgot to mention his 23.2 yard average on 5 ko returns last night (Moses had a 23.4 average last year). If Starling keeps that up and continues to hold on to the ball, he's making a strong case for himself.
Just to be fair:
Moses had a 23.4 average last year against guys who had made the final cut.
Starling's competition hasn't been at that level.

In this preseason:
Moses has a 37.0 average on two returns, with a long of 55.
Starling has a 22.2 average on six returns. with a long of 29.
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Old 08-28-2004   #11
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Moses has a 37.0 average on two returns, with a long of 55
So in other words, Moses has two returns, one for 55 and one for 19.
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Old 08-28-2004   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
So in other words, Moses has two returns, one for 55 and one for 19.
Sounds right, what's the point?. I'll take the 55 and 19 over Starling's 23.2 against Denver every time.
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Old 08-28-2004   #13
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I don't think Starling has to better than Moses on his kickoffs returns especially if the staff believe Straling can contribute in other parts of special teams and if forced into action as a WR would be the better player.

The same or close enough maybe enough. The attitude of the Texans has been we know JJ Moses can (presuming can't) do. If Moses had more of an extra gear then his shiftiness would make him special.
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Old 08-29-2004   #14
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I haven't seen anybody in the preseason that looks as good as J. J. at kickoff returns. I guess it comes down to whether they think its worth a roster spot. I believe one of the knocks on Kendrick Starling was that he didn't do much after the catch in college. Also some teams might have been turned off by the fact that he has very small hands (8 1/4"). Great speed though (4.32).
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Old 08-28-2004   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
So in other words, Moses has two returns, one for 55 and one for 19.
No, in other words Moses did better last season against legitimate NFL competition than Starling has done so far in the preseason against a lower level of competition.

I'm with you. I would prefer to have someone beat out Moses so the Texans could better utilize that roster spot. But until that happens the Texans will keep Moses because even though he is a one-trick pony, that trick is an important one.

As of now I think Moses is still on the 53 man roster, and that Starling has made the team as well.
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Old 08-29-2004   #16
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I don't think I've ever said I 'prefer' that Moses get beat out by anyone, although I've discussed the possiblity (like everyone else) and kicked around why it could be advantageous. I'm pretty much willing to go with what the coaches think are the right combo of players.
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Old 08-28-2004   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BornOrange
Just to be fair:
Moses had a 23.4 average last year against guys who had made the final cut.
Starling's competition hasn't been at that level.

In this preseason:
Moses has a 37.0 average on two returns, with a long of 55.
Starling has a 22.2 average on six returns. with a long of 29.
Good point, but I would imagine that even the worst return man averaged close to 20 yards a return in the regular season. With speed and good hands, you should be able to get the ball to the 20 on most kicks. The guys w/higher averages probably broke some for long runs to boost it.

Someone help me out here, because this is just a guess; Do you think JJ's running style (east west and a lot of cutbacks) contributes to the high number of blocking in the back penalties we seem to incur? I did not notice any tonight when Starling and Gaff were taking it up the gut. No evidence of this, just more of a feeling.
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Old 08-28-2004   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SassyTexan
...While they are deciding if he should make the team or not, I say he should be a starter...
Really? Who would you have Kendrick start over? I just don't think Starling has enough experience in terms of routes and coverage to be an everydown player yet. But, he's making his case as an all-around player. He could be the backup at kick returner & gunner while being the 5th WR.
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