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Old 11-24-2007   #1
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Default Questions Answered This Season

Going into this season, the Texans had a lot of quesion marks regarding just about every position on the field. Despite their crummy performance without AJ, I think some of those have been answered and the ones that still need to be addressed have been clarified.

Offense:
Last season, the Texans ranked 28th in points scored (16.7 per game) and yards gained (279.1 per game). So far this season, they rank 11th in points scored (22.6 per game) and 8th for yards gained (350.4 per game). This is a huge improvement.

Quarterback:
Going into the season Schaub was an unknown and had only started a few games. He ranks 14th in yards per game (216.8) and 12th in QB rating (88.6) In 2006 David Carr ranked 26th in yards per game (172.9) and 15th in QB rating (82.1). For most of the season, Schaub has not had the luxury of his No. 1 receiver. Overall, I think this quesion has been answered and we can expect further improvement from Schaub. I think he will be a top 10 QB in years to come.

Wide Receiver:
At the start of the season, there was not a legitimate no 2 or no 3 receiver. Kevin Walter and Andre Davis have both proven to be legitimate second target threats. Walters ranks 28th by receptions with 46, and 33rd by yardage with 576. Andre Davis represents a legitimate deep threat with the highest average yards per cath (18.8) for receivers with 25 or more receptions. Jacoby Jones has shown some flashes, but has not yet been able to become consistant. The receiver question has been answered, and without spending a lot of money or high draft choices. It can be argued that wide receiver is our greatest strength.

Running Back:
We started the season with high hopes for an aging, pro-bowl caliber running back that was our biggest free agent signing of the off season. Unfortunately, Ahman Green has not had enough gas left in the tank to add anything significant to our offense. In 2006, the Texans ended the season ranked 21st in rushing with 105.4 yards per game and a 3.9 yards per carry average. This year, they have stepped back and rank 23rd in rushing with 92.1 yards per game and a 3.5 yards per carry average. For the last two games, however, Ron Dayne has shown some improvement after receiving the majority of the practice time with the first team. Regardless, Kubiak/Smith have not shown the same ability to find no-name guys to run the ball that the Broncos have been able to do in the past. Running back remains the largest area of need for the offense.

Tight Ends:
Tight end was one of the most solid positions for the Texans going into the season. Owen Daniels has continued to progress, Mark Bruenner remains a reliable blocker, and Joel Dreesen has stepped up as a red zone threat. Unless something falls into their lap, the Texans are set at TE.

Offensive Line:
The Texans offensive line was one of the most maligned parts of the team heading into the season. There are really no stand out players, yet they have done a decent job, although not outstanding. They have given up only 14 sacks, tied for 5th best in the NFL. This puts them on pace to give up 22 or 23 sacks for the season. This is partially due to improved pass protection, but also partially due to Schaub/Rosenfels ability to avoid pressure compared with Carr. Last year, they gave up 43 sacks, ranking 23rd in the NFL. Run blocking has been a big problem and is reflected in the running statistics above. The OL needs to be addressed further either in the draft or by some of the cap money that will be freed up next year.

Defense:
So far, the Texans rank 23rd on points per game allowed (23.6) and 18th on yards per game allowed (327.6). Compared with last year, they ranked 28th in points per game (22.9) and 24th in yards per game (337.5).
For 2007, pass defense is ranked 15th (211.1 yards per game) and rush defense is ranked 21st (116.5 yards/game). In 2006, pass defense was ranked 22nd (215 yards per game) and rush defense ranked 20th (122.4 yards/game).

Defensive Line:
Despite 3 first rounders, our defensive line remains mediocre. They still have a hard time getting pressure on the QB and are not consistently shutting down the run. They have shown flashes of excellence, but have not been able to consistantly live up to their purported potential. Okoye is doing great, leading all rookies in sacks (5). Mario Williams also has (5). Travis Johnson, Anthony Weaver, Earl Cochran, and ND Kalu have combined for only 1 sack. In 2006 we ranked 27th in number of sacks (26). This year, we ranks 29th with only 15 sacks, which in on pace for 24 sacks. It may just be a matter of patience allowing the young line to continue to improve, or it may be a matter of finding other players that can put pressure on the QB like Okoye and Williams have. Maybe a coaching change is in order? This is one of the most perplexing areas of what to do to improve.

Line Backers:
Going into the season, we had a solid middle linebacker and there was stiff competition for the starting OLB spots. Demeco continues to have a pro-bowl caliber season, ranking 9th in tackles, with 6 passes defended, an interception, a forced fumble, a touchdown, and 3 fumble recoveries. Danny Clark and Morlon Greenwood have been solid, but not outstanding. Overall, the Texans are OK at LB unless they have an opportunity to get a star that will complement Ryans.

Secondary:
Our secondary this year has been decimated by injuries. Dunta was on the way to having a pro bowl year until his injury. Faggins was horrible and I am not sure why they kept playing him. Bennett has been solid and may well become a star. Demps was solid when he started at safety. We still need more talent including legitimate starters at safety and corner. This is one of the direst needs in free agency/draft for next year.

Special Teams:

Kicking:
Kris Brown has been exceptional and is having a pro bowl caliber year.

Punting:
Turk started off having a pro bowl caliber year and then had a couple of bad games that really hurt the team. Hopefully, he can return to his early season form.

Kick Return/Punt Return:
We started the season with a lot of promise, Mathis did great for the first couple of games and then went down for the season. Jones likewise did well early but has not been able to really rebound from his shoulder injury. Dexter Wynn has been solid but not exceptional.

So, it seems that we have answered the QB and receiver questions very well. The offense is greatly improved and the defense is mildly improved compared with last year. I am not convinced that we do not need a new defensive coordinator. Hopefully, Smithiak will be able to improve the RB/Secondary in the next offseason. The level of competition they had at the WR spot during camp really helped improve the team. We still need some star offensive linemen and some other defensive linemen to complement Okoye/Williams.
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Old 11-24-2007   #2
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

Double=post! GArbage thread!
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For being the most intelligent form of life on our planet, we sure do some incredibly stupid things.
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Old 11-24-2007   #3
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

Quote:
Originally Posted by brakos82 View Post
Double=post! GArbage thread!
whats wrong with the thread?
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Old 11-24-2007   #4
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew6 View Post
whats wrong with the thread?
There was a second one...
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Old 11-24-2007   #5
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

Quote:
Originally Posted by brakos82 View Post
There was a second one...
did he post both of them?
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Old 11-24-2007   #6
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

I don't see two post either?

Anyways, great post Ragingbull. There really isn't much for me to disagree on, but rather agree with everything you have posted. So I have a dancing robot for you...


There still is a few games left in the season where some glaring holes, such as safety and cb, could be filled by solid play. Of course I'm speaking about Will Demps at FS and Fred Bennett at CB. But as the season comes to a close, I have a feeling that most Texan fans will come to a conclusion that Salaam is not our answer for LT after this season. Neither is Flanagan or McKinney at center. Go Texans!
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Old 11-24-2007   #7
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

Good post RagingBull.

However, I think you are over estimating the quality of play from our OLine and OLB. We still need significant upgrading of talent in both areas.
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Old 11-24-2007   #8
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

Quote:
Originally Posted by brakos82 View Post
Double=post! GArbage thread!
I guess you have never accidently had a double post and if it can happen while posting in a thread it can happen while making one. The mods fixed it rather quickly I might add.

Anyways back to the post, great Post.
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Old 11-24-2007   #9
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

Some thoughts:

1. When Kubiak came here, Denver fans said the hardest thing to translate in their offense was the running back component. That their running back coach is top notch. That's proved to be the case.

2. Dline stuff. I think this goes to not having an experienced D coordinator. They don't have a set philosophy other than being an "aggressive 4-3." In reality, they are being vanilla and basically being reactive, looking at film and avoiding doing the stuff they suck the most at. That's not much of a philosophy.

Anthony Weaver hasn't shown much and he's probably is still hurt from his arm issue.

Dline coach Jethro Franklin apparently got canned at his job after only one year with TB because of having the worst pash rush totals for TB in years. (The Texans expected better things here because of Franklin's experience in GB).

They need more talent on the defensive side of the ball. As Romeo Crennel said, Mario and DeMeco particularly stand out (implied nobody else does). Ultimately, it would also be nice if we had any sense at all what the Texans defense supposed to look like, other than mostly sketchy.
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Old 11-24-2007   #10
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

I like your assessment of the team. I do think that really we could benefit from drafting a solid OL prospect or two really.

A lot of people are really talking about how bad our secondary is (and it is pretty bad right now), but this is also the portion of the team that has been hit the hardest by injuries this year. I can see where our drafting can go OL or DB's in the top of the draft, but with FA coming up, I'm really hoping that they stay away from offensive linemen who are over 28 really. I am tired of seeing retreads (Ahman Green, Todd Wade, Tony Boselli) coming onto our team and wasting valuable cap space. I really think that the lifespan of DB's are a lot longer than that of those who play in the trenches to be quite honest. Plus we've been burned by picking up linemen in free agency.

I really think that for our defense we should worry about picking up an OLB that is dominating to help out Demeco (Lance Briggs anyone?).

Looking over the FA list here nobody except Samuels really grabs my attention. And to be honest, with the way Bennett has been playing, I don't know how comfortable Smith would be paying a boatload of money to a CB.
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Old 11-24-2007   #11
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texans_Chick View Post
1. When Kubiak came here, Denver fans said the hardest thing to translate in their offense was the running back component. That their running back coach is top notch. That's proved to be the case.
Can you elaborate on this, please?
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Old 11-24-2007   #12
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

I think that despite Bennet's emergence we still need to sign a starting caliber CB in free agency. The most important thing we're missing on this team is quality depth plus its not a guarantee Dunta will ever be 100% again so we need a vet as insurance.
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Old 11-24-2007   #13
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

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I think that despite Bennet's emergence we still need to sign a starting caliber CB in free agency. The most important thing we're missing on this team is quality depth plus its not a guarantee Dunta will ever be 100% again so we need a vet as insurance.
I agree with this 100%. This is similar to how I felt when Spencer went down. I'm not counting for DR's return until 2009, and who knows what shape he'll be in then.
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Old 11-25-2007   #14
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

I can definitely see your point Joker, I just get really wary about FA signing these days. I remember watching Nate Clements basically swimming in a pool of money this offseason, and he's really underperforming that ridiculous contract that S.F. gave him. I could also see the Texans giving Asante Samuel some ridiculous contract like that, and it really hamstringing what little cap room we'll have left.

Of course the real question is, what do we want to spend our draft picks on, if everything goes great this season and we are picking in the late teens early twenties?

If Nnandi Asomugha (of the Raiders) decides to opt-out of his contract (possibility since the Raiders just really stink) this year, and go FA, should we get him? I know him and Samuels would both command a whole bunch of money, but if they are both available at the same time, that would make the FA period easier to handle I think.
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Old 11-25-2007   #15
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

I'm a bit leary of free agency; at best, we've had mixed results. Its not a complete list but you'll get what I mean

Free Agents:
Ahman Green - always hurt, may be on IR before much longer
Jordan Black - ugh
Jamar Fletcher - hurt, and suspect when he played
Danny Clark - good addition
Shawn Barber - IR
Andre Davis - good addition

Draft Picks:
DeMeco - Excellent
Mario - good and getting better
Amobi - better than expected
Jacoby Jones - good, until injured
Fred Bennett - Good
Owen Daniels - Good, maybe on his way to great
Zack Diles - ST stud
Spencer - good until hurt
Eric Winston - good and getting better

And technically, I could throw Andre Johnson and Dunta in the drafted group too but then I'd have to include some others I'd rather not talk about so I just went back two drafts.

Point is that we've had much better success with our last two drafts so in my mind, that's the way to make a move. Between Tony Hill (UT), Sam Baker (USC), Jake Long (Michigan), at least one of them should be available when we draft in round one. If you want to go DB then there's Antoine Cason (Ariz.), Terrell Thomas (USC), Malcolm Jenkins (OSU), and about three or four others picked to go high in the early 2008 mock drafts.

And Texans' Chick has a good point. The one place we ought to upgrade is the defensive coaching staff. Richard Smith doesn't impress me. The defense is giving up 23 pts/game. That's too high for a franchise that wants to contend.
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Old 11-25-2007   #16
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Default Re: Questions Answered This Season

Great post. I don't agree with every point you have stated, but absolutely agree with the major conclusion - this team is accross the board improved from last year. I don't know what the record will be at the end of the season, but even after a rough 5 game stretch, I like the direction this team is headed. IMO, just cutting ties with Carr and picking up Schaub last season put this team three to four years ahead of rebuilding if we would have kept him around.

There is no silver lining to all of the injuries we have had in the past two seasons - except it has allowed some other guys the opportunity to step up. History has proven that we can't rely on any of these guys coming back, but if we can address OL, secondary and running back in the off-season AND we can get at least some of the guys back that we lost in these areas - we will start to accumulate the required talent and depth in these areas.

I'm not looking to the off-season yet, but it will be interesting to see what moves we make in the market and how quickly some of our injured players can get back on track.
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