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Old 05-06-2008   #1
Texanmike02
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Default How to take a beating from both sides

Maybe I'm bored, maybe I just like conflict. But seemingly annually I say something that at least half the board disagrees with and this year is not different. Except it is. This time I am going to try to incite everyone all at once.

This is a how to post.

We will win at least 11 games this year and are playoff bound.

It all starts on offense. We have Gibbs.

Second of all we have Andre back. The offense will be smoother, coverage will have to roll coverage to him. This will help both the ground game and the passing attack. Schaub is healthy and with Gibbs here we should be more able to protect him. We brought in Chris Brown who is a very capable runner.

Throw in the fact that baby Shan has a year under his belt and that we won't have Sherman out there trying to force his Strong I system into the running game and we should be much more prepared for Sunday.

Defensively, we are better in the secondary. I know I know, Dante is gone but the fact that Faggins won't be starting makes up for that. (I'm being completely serious when I say that.) Bennet + anyone but Faggins > Dante and Faggins. The LBs should be more athletic IMHO and Diles could surprise us. Just based on experience Mario and Amobi should improve and we finally got that guy (Okam) you can't move in the middle of the line. He may not start but should make life easier on guys when he is the game. He is big enough at 320 to occupy blockers and collapse the pocket in the passing game and disrupt gaps in the running game.

You figure that between that and the fact that Kubes has started to cut down obvious coaching mistakes (clock management and risk vs reward plays) and this team is easily 3 wins better than it was last year. When we're healthy this is a dangerous offense and a bend but don't break type defense.

Mike


Ok Part II.

This could be 05 all over again. We have a team who is in that critical phase in development. We saw alot of things last season that were promising. At the same time we have some major concerns. We were 2-6 on the road and 2-7 against teams with a winning record. If you take out the last game against Jacksonville when most of the starters sat, we were 1-7 against teams over .500.

This offseason we really didn't make many moves for this year. We came in with several immediate needs. DB,OL,RB and LB. We addressed all of them with projects not immediate fixes. These are long term fixes and I understand the thinking, we are not looking at our playoff/championship window closing in fact it is about to open. Brown is a project who will hopefully gain momentum and begin getting more and more snaps as the year wears on. With Green and Brown we have two backs who are talented but injury prone. Slaton isn't the franchise back most of us had in mind and Molden is going to take some time to grow into the position.

Dante being gone will hurt us. Even with Gibbs in the fold is he really going to have much of an effect on the Pass blocking? Everyone talks about the success that he has running the ball but most pass protections schemes are essentially the same. You may change who has the blitz pickup etc but for the most part pass blocking skills are pretty much the same. We already know that Salaam is getting up there and its not realistic to expect him to take all of the snaps like he did last year.

Gotta get some work done so I'll finish up my negative portion later. This is the first time in a while (before I was posting on here when I was over at HPF) that I don't really have an idea of what is going to happen next year. My gut feeling is that we have improved but may not see it ammount to much in the win column. Initially I'm looking at a 9-7 season but I really haven't looked at it because that's hard to do before training camp/preaseason and for once I think I could build strong cases for both arguments.

Mike
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Old 05-06-2008   #2
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

Personally, I'm like you at this point. Last year, I thought we were going to improve and be a better team... and in many ways, we were. But not exactly how I expected us to be.

This year, I have no idea what's going to happen. I need to see how the players look in training camp and in the preseason before I have an idea.
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Old 05-06-2008   #3
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

THe texans IMO right now are good enough to beat any team in the NFL on any given Sunday

THere will be no easy games we got 16 hardcore games !!!!
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Old 05-06-2008   #4
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

I think with 05 we need to keep in mind no we didn't make a big splash in FA like this season but during that offseason we cut a lot of veteran players in favor of a youth movement without anything backing them.

I think while we didn't make the big FA splash we picked up young vets who can play at positions that gave us draft flexibility. Guessing this draft is going to somewhat be a more tame version of the Mario debate.Look how that one ended.From intially thought to be egg on the organizations face to smelling like roses.I think it might end up just like that again because Flacco to me looks like Kyle Boller 2.0.

I knew once KC and Minne made the trade Albert was gone and it would hinge on if Chicago took the better suited Run blocker Otah or Williams.

One thing i think is lost is Gibbs was with Schaub in ATL and knowing how the line should block and what to expect I think is an added comfort for Matt.
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Old 05-06-2008   #5
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

The 11-5 record you speak of is entirely possible this year.

Ignore the defense and ignore the running game. Simply look at what happened last year when Andre Johnson was in the game as opposed to when he was out injured. With a healthy Andre Johnson the Texans were 6-3 and without him they went 2-5. Now keep in mind that while all of that was taking place the Texans never truly fielded a strong running game and the defense was particularly ordinary with an injury problem in the secondary that rivaled any other teams injury list you can name. We literally seemed to play a prevent defense for most of the second half of the season.

Injuries as always are key. If we can avoid them then we have a very good chance of being a good team for the first time ever. It's impossible to predict what will happen and all we can do is hope we get lucky next year. Fans of all 32 teams do this every season. Cross your fingers and make a wish is about the best advice you can find.

Assuming we don't face injury problems of "season altering scale" then we will take the team we fielded last year and bring in a real, honest to goodness running game. This is not in question, at least in my mind. The Texans will run the ball effectively in 2008. Nobody has ever had their offensive line coached by Alex Gibbs and not run the ball effectively. It just doesn't happen. At the same time a team with an Alex Gibbs coached running game has never had the benefit of an Andre Johnson going long.

We're not the Super Bowl Broncos and we don't have a John Elway sitting around waiting for the right pieces to fall in place. We do have excellent receivers and a pretty good QB and both will benefit incredibly from a dominant running game. In the NFL there is simply no substitute for being able to run the ball. It makes every aspect of your team look better including the defense.

So take what you saw last year and hope AJ stays healthy. Then add a real running game with Green coming back and being backed up by Chris Brown and Steve Slaton. Chris Taylor comes back and we finally get to see what we have in him. Darius Walker returns as well but might not even make the team this year and even he could run behind our line last season. We go into 2008 with options people. We're not going to find ourselves looking at Ron Dayne and a handful of stiffs in 2008. We're going to run the ball. Count on it.

How do you not figure we win a few more games based on just that alone? Having AJ all season should be good for at least another win or two. If he'd been healthy in 2007 I find it hard to imagine that we wouldn't have been looking at 10 wins even if everything else had been the same.

Now look at the defense. Mario came on towards the end of the year. Amobi slowed down as the season ground on but he's back, fresh, and with a year of experience. Our linebackers should be faster and our corners should be better (tough to be worse). We'll have better safety play than we had most of 2007 as well.

We'll stop some people this year if for no other reason than our defense won't always be on the field because our offense couldn't run the ball to eat clock and keep drives alive.

I think we'll get to 11 wins. I don't think this is like 2005 at all. Kubiak has pretty much run off all the dead weight and cleared Reliant Stadium of all the smoke and mirrors that Capers, Pendry, and Fangio used to fool everyone into thinking they were making progress with the first batch of Texans players. I think that what we see is exactly what we get.

11-5 is going to happen. Of course we did start 2005 with a game against the Steelers......hmmmm.
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Old 05-06-2008   #6
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

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Originally Posted by Texanmike View Post
This could be 05 all over again.
Couple of points. Sure this could be '05 again but let me point out one critical difference. In 2004 the Texans got to 7 wins in good part because they were near the top of the league on takeaways/giveaways--put them mid pack and they probably lose 3-4 of those wins. 2005 they were near the bottom and their record reflected a team who couldn't win games without getting turnovers among other problems. In contrast, the 2007 Texans got to 8-8 while being near the bottom of the league on takeaways/giveaways. If they can just get to mid-pack it would leave them in a much better position to win games.

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Brown is a project who will hopefully gain momentum and begin getting more and more snaps as the year wears on.
If you are talking Brown the RB, he isn't a project at all and should hit the ground at full speed barring injury.
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Old 05-06-2008   #7
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

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Originally Posted by Hervoyel View Post
The 11-5 record you speak of is entirely possible this year.

Ignore the defense and ignore the running game. Simply look at what happened last year when Andre Johnson was in the game as opposed to when he was out injured. With a healthy Andre Johnson the Texans were 6-3 and without him they went 2-5. Now keep in mind that while all of that was taking place the Texans never truly fielded a strong running game and the defense was particularly ordinary with an injury problem in the secondary that rivaled any other teams injury list you can name. We literally seemed to play a prevent defense for most of the second half of the season.

Injuries as always are key. If we can avoid them then we have a very good chance of being a good team for the first time ever. It's impossible to predict what will happen and all we can do is hope we get lucky next year. Fans of all 32 teams do this every season. Cross your fingers and make a wish is about the best advice you can find.

Assuming we don't face injury problems of "season altering scale" then we will take the team we fielded last year and bring in a real, honest to goodness running game. This is not in question, at least in my mind. The Texans will run the ball effectively in 2008. Nobody has ever had their offensive line coached by Alex Gibbs and not run the ball effectively. It just doesn't happen. At the same time a team with an Alex Gibbs coached running game has never had the benefit of an Andre Johnson going long.

We're not the Super Bowl Broncos and we don't have a John Elway sitting around waiting for the right pieces to fall in place. We do have excellent receivers and a pretty good QB and both will benefit incredibly from a dominant running game. In the NFL there is simply no substitute for being able to run the ball. It makes every aspect of your team look better including the defense.

So take what you saw last year and hope AJ stays healthy. Then add a real running game with Green coming back and being backed up by Chris Brown and Steve Slaton. Chris Taylor comes back and we finally get to see what we have in him. Darius Walker returns as well but might not even make the team this year and even he could run behind our line last season. We go into 2008 with options people. We're not going to find ourselves looking at Ron Dayne and a handful of stiffs in 2008. We're going to run the ball. Count on it.

How do you not figure we win a few more games based on just that alone? Having AJ all season should be good for at least another win or two. If he'd been healthy in 2007 I find it hard to imagine that we wouldn't have been looking at 10 wins even if everything else had been the same.

Now look at the defense. Mario came on towards the end of the year. Amobi slowed down as the season ground on but he's back, fresh, and with a year of experience. Our linebackers should be faster and our corners should be better (tough to be worse). We'll have better safety play than we had most of 2007 as well.

We'll stop some people this year if for no other reason than our defense won't always be on the field because our offense couldn't run the ball to eat clock and keep drives alive.

I think we'll get to 11 wins. I don't think this is like 2005 at all. Kubiak has pretty much run off all the dead weight and cleared Reliant Stadium of all the smoke and mirrors that Capers, Pendry, and Fangio used to fool everyone into thinking they were making progress with the first batch of Texans players. I think that what we see is exactly what we get.

11-5 is going to happen. Of course we did start 2005 with a game against the Steelers......hmmmm.
Like I said. I think if I sat there I could make both arguments fairly convincingly. I would submit however that while we did play better with Andre in the lineup we also did it against pretty bad teams. Also is it possible that with Williams breakout year that teams pay even more attention to him? Look at who his sacks came against.

Ultimately what it comes down to is there is no doubt this team played better over the last 4 games of the season. Nobody will debate that with you. The question is... was that a result of the team suddenly getting it or was it the fact that the only team we beat that was decent was Jacksonville and they weren't at full strength? Tampa was a joke, they just happened to play in a terrible division in a terrible conference. Denver was pretty bad. That is, by the way, on the heels of some pretty bad losses to two good teams. Lets not forget that a good team, the Colts, rolled over us like we didn't exist right in the middle of that streak.

Just figured I'd throw that out there.

Mike
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Old 05-06-2008   #8
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

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Originally Posted by infantrycak View Post
Couple of points. Sure this could be '05 again but let me point out one critical difference. In 2004 the Texans got to 7 wins in good part because they were near the top of the league on takeaways/giveaways--put them mid pack and they probably lose 3-4 of those wins. 2005 they were near the bottom and their record reflected a team who couldn't win games without getting turnovers among other problems. In contrast, the 2007 Texans got to 8-8 while being near the bottom of the league on takeaways/giveaways. If they can just get to mid-pack it would leave them in a much better position to win games. That said, I agree about the turnovers. I had a post some time back where I analyzed winning% vs various statistics. There were a few surprises but of course turnovers were in there. Alot of this is however guesswork at best at this point.


If you are talking Brown the RB, he isn't a project at all and should hit the ground at full speed barring injury.
Also I wasn't saying this is going to be 2005. I just think that is a possibility. The overiding similarity that you aren't mentioning is that we lost every game we played against very good teams except for one. In fact, save the first meeting against the Colts every time we played a good team we played at least 3 quarters of VERY bad football. I'm not counting the game against Jacksonville for obvious reasons. For that matter, two of our WINS were embarassing.

Sorry due to poor subject verb correlation it is hard to tell that I am talking about Brown the OL.
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Old 05-06-2008   #9
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

Great post, loved it.

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Old 05-06-2008   #10
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

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THe texans IMO right now are good enough to beat any team in the NFL on any given Sunday

THere will be no easy games we got 16 hardcore games !!!!
Easy there Al Pacino.
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Old 05-06-2008   #11
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

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Originally Posted by Texanmike View Post
The overiding similarity that you aren't mentioning is that we lost every game we played against very good teams except for one.
I am not mentioning that because it is universally true for 7-9 or 8-8 teams and therefore provides zero discriminatory prognostication benefit.

Quote:
For that matter, two of our WINS were embarassing.
Sorry, don't know what you are referring to.
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Old 05-06-2008   #12
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

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Sorry, don't know what you are referring to.
I think he was talking about the narrow win over the Dolphins and the last game against the Jaguars.
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Old 05-06-2008   #13
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

I always felt ( and saw ) that we were better. The thing is...i didn't anticipate the rest of our division be THAT good.
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Old 05-07-2008   #14
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

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I always felt ( and saw ) that we were better. The thing is...i didn't anticipate the rest of our division be THAT good.
We were 7-3 outside our division.

That's pretty amazing.

The 1-5 in our division... that's what suxxors.
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Old 05-07-2008   #15
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

I personally feel that we will only beat those teams which are weaker than us, and teams which are as strong as us will be a toss-up (come down to turnovers or fluke plays either way), and I don't see us having a real chance at beating a better team unless the better team just sleeps on us.

That's my frustration with this team for the past two years: We beat teams who are weaker than us, we claw and scrape and sometimes get a win against teams who are similar to us, and we just look stupid vs. stronger teams.

I love this team, but at some point...things have got to get to a point where every game (even against strong teams) appear to be competitive games.

I don't like our style of defense, but it's better than the 3-4 we ran. It just seems so very non-commital toward being aggressive. The same tired story of "we don't have the talent," or "we had injuries to key people," doesn't cut it for me. Our offense had key injuries (heck, we didn't even have a real RB for 90% of the season) and THEY still made strides of progress. Going with Duane Brown, IMO, was maybe a wake-up call to Richard Smith...Kubiak's way of saying, "You have enough. Now show me something." Or at least that's how I want it to be.

Kris Brown delivered one of our wins, a game which I believe featured Matt Schaub not being able to get the ball into the end zone. He did well between the 20s...but IIRC, he had trouble moving the offense. Our special teams, if anything, has been the unit that I'm most proud of. Marciano knows his stuff, and he knows how to utilize his talent. He's the guy I measure other coaches by: If HE can use HIS talent and do as well as he has, then surely other coaches can, too.

IF Spencer returns and is near his pre-injury talent...then our offensive line has the ability to really produce something special, which would be a first. Those guys have been patch-worked so much over the years and have been asked to play all over the line. I wonder if Spencer will slide over to the right side? If so, we have a better Center, and two other OLinemen who should anchor the line and perhaps shock a lot of non-Texans fans.

For this season, I think our offense opens up a little more. And I think our defense will be marginally better than last year--All dpeendent upon how much Richard Smith wants to risk early in the year...the schedule up-front does not bode well for our defense until after the first few games.

Injuries foil all of our hopes, however. All our theories crumble when the injruies begin, and our team is one of the worst. Each year. It's amazingly frustrating.
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Old 05-07-2008   #16
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

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Originally Posted by infantrycak View Post
Couple of points. Sure this could be '05 again but let me point out one critical difference. In 2004 the Texans got to 7 wins in good part because they were near the top of the league on takeaways/giveaways--put them mid pack and they probably lose 3-4 of those wins. 2005 they were near the bottom and their record reflected a team who couldn't win games without getting turnovers among other problems. In contrast, the 2007 Texans got to 8-8 while being near the bottom of the league on takeaways/giveaways. If they can just get to mid-pack it would leave them in a much better position to win games.


If you are talking Brown the RB, he isn't a project at all and should hit the ground at full speed barring injury.
great points, icak.
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Old 05-08-2008   #17
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Default Re: How to take a beating from both sides

There are many reasons - some say excuses - why we "only" finished 8-8 last season. You guys have already mentioned injuries, no running game, weak secondary, etc.

My number one is: Too dang many turnovers - 38 turnovers - next to last in the NFL! we don't have a good enough defense to hand the other guys the ball twice a game. I don't have the stats to say how many turnovers were on our side of the 50 but one is too many.

And whoever said this squad is much different than the 2005 squad is spot on. What killed us in '05 is Casserly's gutting the team of experience vets. I'll never, long as I live, understand that thinking.
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