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Old 04-08-2013   #1
ASidd_1990
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Default [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-tr...tdated-offense

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When the Texans’ season ended in New England, where Houston got its second beatdown in as many trips to Foxborough, most of the panic was directed at Matt Schaub. Yes, Schaub threw for 343 yards — one less than Tom Brady — but it required 51 attempts to get there. In today’s NFL, teams just don’t win Super Bowls without their best player residing under center, and although Schaub has put together his share of solid years in Houston, he isn’t the type of quarterback who wins in January. Or at least that’s how the thinking seemed to go.

That opinion of Schaub may be true, but in evaluating how far apart the Patriots and Texans actually were, the more telling difference was among those getting the throws, rather than those making them. New England spent almost the entire game shorthanded (as the Pats had been for the most of the year) after Rob Gronkowski reinjured his forearm. The typical Patriots still had their impact — Wes Welker had eight catches for 131 yards, and Aaron Hernandez added six for 85 — but it was the output of a lesser name that said everything anyone needs to know about the New England offense. For the entire regular season, Shane Vereen had eight catches for 179 yards. He totaled about half that against Houston, hauling in five passes for 83 yards, two of them for touchdowns. Vereen lined up all over the formation, and New England used the reserve running back to constantly exploit the coverage deficiencies of Houston’s inside linebackers. It was the exact type of opponent-specific game planning that has made the Patriots a problem for the past decade.

It’s also the type of game planning not often seen from the Texans. Coming into that playoff game against New England, the book on Houston was simple: “Get a lead and the game is over.” Offensively, the Texans have a specific plan, and against most teams they execute that plan well. The run game wasn’t nearly as effective last year as it had been in years past (mostly due to a lack of consistency and the resulting shuffling on the right side), but the run-first, play-action-later Houston offense still had plenty of moments. It’s when the running isn’t an option — either because of ineffectiveness or a big deficit — that the plan falters. Former Texans lineman Ephraim Salaam refers to it as “staying on schedule,” but with offenses like the ones in New England, New Orleans, and Green Bay, relying on point production that can so easily come off the rails just doesn’t feel like an option anymore.

Fifteen years ago, the zone-blocking scheme held dear by Mike Shanahan and offensive line coach Alex Gibbs was a way to win deep into the playoffs. John Elway and Terrell Davis were the ultimate play-action combination, and it was enough to win back-to-back Super Bowls. These days, very few teams lean on the straightforward zone running game for the majority of their offense. Shanahan’s new team did plenty of zone blocking this year, but it was combined with read-option looks and the constant running threat of Robert Griffin III. No offense to Matt Schaub, but I’m not sure teams are too worried about his feet.

As teams find new ways to use players who don’t fit certain boxes, the Texans are trying to shove their players into them. James Casey was almost exclusively a fullback in Houston a year ago before signing a three-year, $14.5 million deal in Philadelphia. Casey won’t be a fullback for Chip Kelly. He’ll likely be some form of H-back/slot receiver similar to the role Hernandez plays in New England. For years, there have been complaints about finding receiving complements to Andre Johnson, and instead of trying to figure out how Casey could exploit opposing linebackers, the Texans made him a lead blocker. (And let’s not forget Jacoby Jones, who left Houston and became a big player in Baltimore’s Super Bowl run.)

With Casey and Kevin Walter now gone, finding that secondary receiver has become Houston’s most pressing offensive issue. There are concerns at other spots on both sides of the ball (right guard and tackle, inside linebacker, nose tackle, and outside linebacker), but the first step in developing some creativity on offense is finding more players who deserve it. No team in the league is more in need of a player like West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, but he’ll likely be long gone before Houston picks at no. 27. There will be options at the end of the first round — notably Cal’s Keenan Allen, Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton, and Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins — but the Texans could also be a candidate to drop down and look to add an extra third-round pick in the hope of filling one of those other needs as well. No matter how they choose to get him, Houston needs another pass catcher somewhere in this draft.

Whatever personnel Houston ends up with, the ultimate onus for their offensive development rests with Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. Schaub probably isn’t the franchise’s answer for the future at quarterback, but he deserves a system that at least gives him a chance to prove himself. That system isn’t in place in Houston, and until it is, the Texans will be a long way from where they want to go.
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Old 04-08-2013   #2
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

I don't think the offense is bad as much as Kubiak needs to become a bit more innovative within the offense and give his QB more freedom. I love this offensive system. It works.

But at times you have to adjust because if you're not executing well against a certain defense, you have to do something different to get the spark going...
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Old 04-08-2013   #3
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

There are a lot of reasons for the Texans failures in the playoffs the last two years. Kubiak is a huge reason, but certainly not the only one.
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Old 04-08-2013   #4
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

I think Casey could have done the sorts of things that Vereen did against the team in the playoffs. I bet Chip Kelly thinks that as well.
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Old 04-08-2013   #5
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

First of all, it's weird. On the one hand, the author wants innovative, but when Casey is used unorthodoxly by Kubiak, the author took it badly.
That's inconsistent.

Secondly, the Texans haven't ran a pure zone for a few years now; they mix the gap scheme in liberally.

Thirdly, the Patriots had 3 more running plays (or something like that) than the Texans in the first half of their respective 16 regular season games.
I had provided the numbers before using Profootball Reference game play finder features.

And before we go on; I also compared Brady and Schaub before via Advanced NFL Stats. It shows that both QBs had attempted a similar percentage of deep balls (with receivers 15 yards beyond the LOS).
Drew Brees is also in this class.

It's just too easy for people to put everything in a box.
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Old 04-08-2013   #6
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

One of the first comments I put in the James Casey FA thread was that I thought he would be outstanding in a A. Hernandez position. Still think that and think he wasn't used right. I think the article here was well written and hit the mark in many areas.
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Old 04-08-2013   #7
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

You can have a run first offense if your OL is really good and last year our wasn't. Hopefully the young guys will show some growth and will get back to level of our '11 OL which was really good. Adding another weapon (or 2) would definitely help when we get behind and need to throw a bit more.
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Old 04-08-2013   #8
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

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Originally Posted by 76Texan View Post
First of all, it's weird. On the one hand, the author wants innovative, but when Casey is used unorthodoxly by Kubiak, the author took it badly.
That's inconsistent.

Secondly, the Texans haven't ran a pure zone for a few years now; they mix the gap scheme in liberally.

Thirdly, the Patriots had 3 more running plays (or something like that) than the Texans in the first half of their respective 16 regular season games.
I had provided the numbers before using Profootball Reference game play finder features.

And before we go on; I also compared Brady and Schaub before via Advanced NFL Stats. It shows that both QBs had attempted a similar percentage of deep balls (with receivers 15 yards beyond the LOS).
Drew Brees is also in this class.

It's just too easy for people to put everything in a box.
...and finally, it's as much an actual indictment of our defense.
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Old 04-08-2013   #9
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I predict Gary Kubiak will really open up his offense this year. He'll get creative, he'll have Plan B, Plan C...and the QB will have freedom to alter things significantly more than the past several seasons.

Not.

Go get your WRs, and watch Gary **** it up. It's what he does. If we get only 1 or 2 yards on 1st down, Gary locks things down. If 2nd down isn't manageable in his eyes, **** it...he'll play it safe and punt.

It's robbing the joy of watching football.
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Old 04-08-2013   #10
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

Its the reason why i put 90% of this teams offensive woes on Kubiak and not Schaub in the end. The only way you can be a 70-30 run-heavy offense on the level Kubiak wants to is if you've got a great o-line.. If you don't have that, then you've got to move more towards the 50-50 threshold and do a good job of mixing the run and pass in with a few wrinkles here and there..he doesn't do that at all.

What Kubiak likes to do is run run run the ball on every 2nd/3rd and short-medium...if its 3rd and long he'll just give up on the drive completely and call a damn draw or some type of short/easy pass play like a bubble screen that ultimately depends on the skill player to make a gazillion guys miss to get the 1st.

Every now and then he'll let Schaub throw these little 5-8 yd passes off playaction; undoubtedly weak ass attempts to keep him in rhythm... that works fine if we're winning and we can control the game..when we're losing and its no longer a feasible option to continue running the ball he puts Schaub in the position of having to be an elite qb...which we all know he's not. The lack of weaponry outside of AJ just exacerbates the problem imo b/c schaub really only trusts 1 guy and at times gets himself into trouble when he tries to go to him too much.
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Old 04-08-2013   #11
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

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Originally Posted by Mr teX View Post
Its the reason why i put 90% of this teams offensive woes on Kubiak and not Schaub in the end. The only way you can be a 70-30 run-heavy offense on the level Kubiak wants to is if you've got a great o-line.. If you don't have that, then you've got to move more towards the 50-50 threshold and do a good job of mixing the run and pass in with a few wrinkles here and there..he doesn't do that at all.
Hope the above is meant as hyperbole but even if so ... for more realistic numbers:

Passing/running

2012 - 554/508
2011 - 467/548 - no Schaub for 6 games
2010 - 574/473
2009 - 593/425
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Old 04-08-2013   #12
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

Well, we can all agree that Kubiak has shown to be a pretty conservative coach; personally I use the term "percentage football".

Last year, the number of third and longER screwed up the numbers quite a bit.

At Profootball Reference.com, they define two levels of third and long.
The first being 7-10 yards and the second being anything longer.

Somehow, the Texans managed to get to third and VERY long a whole darn lot.
That's when the Texans turned really "conservative".

Facing third down with 7-10 yards to go, the Texans were much more "aggressive" as compared to the average of the league.

They only ran the ball 5 times in 53 situations.
That's less than 10% as compared to some 15% for the rest of the league.

The question that I had raised before is that how did the Texans get to third and VERY long so much more often than the average of the league.

Schaub didn't take many sacks so we are left with negative plays due to penalties and the run game (and an occasional loss on a screen pass.)

The Texans weren't any more predictable than the Patriots in the first halves of their games, so what gives?

Execution is all I can think of.
Do you have any other explanation?
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Old 04-08-2013   #13
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

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Originally Posted by Rey View Post
I don't think the offense is bad as much as Kubiak needs to become a bit more innovative within the offense and give his QB more freedom. I love this offensive system. It works.

But at times you have to adjust because if you're not executing well against a certain defense, you have to do something different to get the spark going...
The problem is that the offense is Kubiak. Clearly Shanahan saw a need to make changes when he got RG3 and he made changes. In other places with other people from that philosophical tree it has been adapted to fit talent and tweaked as the years have gone by. Here with Kubiak it's like the system that time forgot or something.
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Old 04-08-2013   #14
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

Seems like the writer of that piece is defending a buddy or something with his Casey love. It's not like we traded away an all pro or something geesh.

IIRC Koobs did his best to try and get him involved, he would run plays for him, but apart from a game or two Casey seemed inconsistent, with dropped passes and poor lead blocking, but I dont really think the latter was much his fault due to him playing out of position.

Koobs got caught in the headlights this last year and regressed as a coach. He stubbornly ran the same tired plays with a wrinkle or two worked in each week. 2 years ago I defended this offense as revolutionary with the TE across the grain screens, the use of the running back as a quality receiver and decoy, 2 TE motion passing. Not sure what happened this year, it was very plain. Almost like ISO left, ISO right, 6 yard pass ... PUNT. I exaggerate some, but opposing defenses seemed to know what we were doing this year. At least against the good teams. We have enough talent to whip up on the crappy teams, but that isnt good enough.
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Old 04-08-2013   #15
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

James Casey's ability was underused, and slightly misused. The H-back/slot is perfect for him, which we will be reminded of over and over when he demonstrates that in Philly (where I also think he'll take some direct snaps since he is actually a passing threat). In Houston, he was an ideal example of shoe-horning the player into the system, instead conceiving plays based on his abilities.

That example also reveals why Tavon Austin is the wrong pick for Houston. I personally would love picking Austin if plays are conceived to maximize his ability. But the system currently demands a tall, vertical threat, so that's who we'll draft.
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Old 04-09-2013   #16
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

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Originally Posted by Rey View Post
I don't think the offense is bad as much as Kubiak needs to become a bit more innovative within the offense and give his QB more freedom. I love this offensive system. It works.

But at times you have to adjust because if you're not executing well against a certain defense, you have to do something different to get the spark going...
Did NE beat them because they failed to score .... or because they failed to stop NE from posting points on the score board ?!?!

I think its the latter .... They gave up 83 points in the two games Vs the Pats ..... Thats a recipe for disaster in the NFL.

I dont think it matters what franchise you give up 83 to over a two game span , you are likely to lose both.


NE exploited the Texans deficiencies at LBer to get the job done. What does this tell me ?! A healthy Cushing closes the gap .... and an upgrade in talent next to him at ILB may solve the puzzle. James , Dobbins , Ruud .... aint gonna cut the mustard against a QB the quality of Tom Freakin Brady..


Averaging 21 points per game in those two contests didnt help ..... but 21 is more than enough to win on most occasions ... Just not when you face Trom Freakin Brady.


They got outcoached .... But I dont think its something you can pinpoint , it was an all around ass whoopin .... on both occasions on both sides of the ball.


Giving up 83 over any two game span is unacceptable ....
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Old 04-09-2013   #17
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

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Did NE beat them because they failed to score .... or because they failed to stop NE from posting points on the score board ?!?! .
Both. In the MNF game, the starting offense scored one TD. With Yates leading the team to another meaningless score against the Patriot scrubs.

In the divisional playoff, the Texans were down 38-13 in the 4th, when the Texans picked up a couple of TDs against the prevent defense. Those were David Carr like stats that were also meaningless. The Texans were dominated when it counted on both sides of the ball.
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Old 04-09-2013   #18
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

You can only do so much with the QB we have, so hopefully the run game will be back on track this coming season.
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Old 04-09-2013   #19
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

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Averaging 21 points per game in those two contests didnt help ..... but 21 is more than enough to win on most occasions ... Just not when you face Trom Freakin Brady.
Do you remember those games?

Offensively we did very little. We scored some garbage time TD's that made the score look better than it was. During the actual meat of the game it's not like our offense was flying up and down the field in some epic shoot out.


But I wasn't even talking about the NE games. Down the stretch and at other times during the season the offense was pathetic.
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Old 04-09-2013   #20
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Default Re: [Grantland] Hey, Don't F*$% This Up: The Houston Texans' Outdated Offense

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
Both. In the MNF game, the starting offense scored one TD. With Yates leading the team to another meaningless score against the Patriot scrubs.

In the divisional playoff, the Texans were down 38-13 in the 4th, when the Texans picked up a couple of TDs against the prevent defense. Those were David Carr like stats that were also meaningless. The Texans were dominated when it counted on both sides of the ball.
Pretty much.

This isn't an offense vs. defense discussion. Both were bad, but this thread is about the offense.
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