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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

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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 07-26-2013   #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 07-26-2013   #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 07-27-2013   #7
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

Brice McCain as nickel CB?

Hopefully we don't have to prepare our anuses. That guy sucks.
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Old 07-27-2013   #8
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

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Originally Posted by TheMatrix31 View Post
Brice McCain as nickel CB?

Hopefully we don't have to prepare our anuses. That guy sucks.
You must be talking about the pre-Vance Joseph, Wade Phillips guy.

See Profootballfocus Secret Superstar
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Old 07-27-2013   #9
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

Clearly the Texans using a third-round pic on an OT in this past Draft in April and then in addition a sixth rounder on another OT means they don't see Newt or anybody else on the current roster as the long-term answer at RT.
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Old 07-27-2013   #10
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

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Originally Posted by IDEXAN View Post
Clearly the Texans using a third-round pic on an OT in this past Draft in April and then in addition a sixth rounder on another OT means they don't see Newt or anybody else on the current roster as the long-term answer at RT.
Or they don't see the point in keeping Butler or Caldwell (or Chris White (if you include Ben Jones)) for depth.

Myers was a 6th round pick back in the day as well, but he's managed to keep his job regardless how many centers we draft in the 3rd or 4th.
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Old 07-27-2013   #11
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

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Originally Posted by badboy View Post
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.
You trust the Texans org/medical staff to speak honestly about any injury situation? LOL
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Old 07-28-2013   #12
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

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Originally Posted by steelbtexan View Post
You trust the Texans org/medical staff to speak honestly about any injury situation? LOL
At the very least, Kubiak talks like his plans include Newton as the starter, Williams as the "third" tackle, & no real place for Harris. However, he stated Harris appears healthier than he's ever seen him & he likes the work he's putting in. They also talked about Harris being able to play inside as well as swing tackle... Harris may earn himself a spot on the team, forcing Kubiak to rethink his plans.

There's also been one poster.... 76Texan, who opined that he believed Harris to have been the better player last season, between Harris & Newton. While that might have been the case, I think Newton is the superior athlete with a higher upside... he should be the future at RT if his knee doesn't hold him back.

So, like Rey says, one way or the other, we're going to have competent play at RT. Either a healthier Harris, or a healthier Newton.
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Old 07-29-2013   #13
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

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Originally Posted by TejasTom View Post
You must be talking about the pre-Vance Joseph, Wade Phillips guy.

See Profootballfocus Secret Superstar
Actually that link is for an article in May of 2012 following McClain's great 2011 season. In 2012 he sucked as even shown on that same site. In fact, his numbers are worse than Brandon Harris last year for as much as folks complain about Harris. The 2012 season was not a strong one for us out of the nickle back position to say the least.

Hopefully McClain has a trend going for next year as he had a poor 2010, great 2011, poor 2012....so could we get a great 2012? Sure as hell hope so.
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Old 07-29-2013   #14
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

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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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Old 07-29-2013   #15
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

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Originally Posted by thunderkyss View Post
At the very least, Kubiak talks like his plans include Newton as the starter, Williams as the "third" tackle, & no real place for Harris. However, he stated Harris appears healthier than he's ever seen him & he likes the work he's putting in. They also talked about Harris being able to play inside as well as swing tackle... Harris may earn himself a spot on the team, forcing Kubiak to rethink his plans.

There's also been one poster.... 76Texan, who opined that he believed Harris to have been the better player last season, between Harris & Newton. While that might have been the case, I think Newton is the superior athlete with a higher upside... he should be the future at RT if his knee doesn't hold him back.

So, like Rey says, one way or the other, we're going to have competent play at RT. Either a healthier Harris, or a healthier Newton.
Harris had a better year only because Newton was hurt; that's what my opinion was.
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Old 07-30-2013   #16
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp

TEXANS TUESDAY MORNING CAMP
By Lance Zierlein
July 30, 2013


Quote:
HOPKINS LOOKS THE PART EARLY ON
...
DeAndre Hopkins came into the draft as the WR whom I believed was the most NFL-ready of the early round players. "Nuk" has solid hands, has enough game speed to get behind defenses and he's showing that...

In one-on-one drills against the CBs, Hopkins made...

For fantasy football owners out there who are devouring everything they can in preparation for their drafts/auctions, anything less than 50 catches for Hopkins would seem disappointing to me at this early stage. In reality, I think 52-60 catches is a very reasonable goal for Hopkins and I could see him with even more if Schaub continues to develop confidence in the young wideout throughout camp and in the pre-season.

OLD DOG WITH NEW TRICKS
Veteran NT Daniel Muir (#91), a six year veteran who has logged 24 starts with the Indianapolis Colts over four season with them, had a...

CLASH OF THE TITANS
There isn't a defensive lineman in the game who is better than J.J. Watt so I was expecting G Brandon Brooks (#79) to get schooled in one-on-one pass protection drills thanks to Watt's quickness, but...

OTHER NOTES
  • I had a great football chat with former Patriots LB turned sports talk host Ted Johnson about...
  • Rookie T/G David Quessenberry looks so smooth and fluid...
  • Former Oregon State ILB Cameron Collins (#90)...
  • During the run game portion of the practice, Case Keenum...
  • I thought potential starting RT Ryan Harris (#68) really...
  • Even if Jeff Maehl (#15) doesn't...
  • RT Derek Newton (#75) had a...
  • G Cody White had a ...
  • Former Texans DT Travis Johnson was in attendance and watching practice as a guest. At one point during defensive line drills when practice slowed down, Johnson and Bill Kollar had a friendly conversation going on from about 50 feet away with Kollar telling him to "get out here on the field" and Johnson imploring Kollar to "tell them to get me some pads". Thanks, but no thanks, Travis. I did, however, enjoy listening to him talk about pass rushing during pass protection drills.
Tomorrow, I will focus much more attention on the secondary, the wide receivers and the QBs.
read more: http://www.thesidelineview.com/colum...y-morning-camp
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Old 07-30-2013   #17
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

I'm liking what I'm hearing about Hopkins.

And yes, that's the right name this time. LOL
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Old 07-30-2013   #18
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

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Originally Posted by deucetx View Post
Actually that link is for an article in May of 2012 following McClain's great 2011 season. In 2012 he sucked as even shown on that same site. In fact, his numbers are worse than Brandon Harris last year for as much as folks complain about Harris. The 2012 season was not a strong one for us out of the nickle back position to say the least.

Hopefully McClain has a trend going for next year as he had a poor 2010, great 2011, poor 2012....so could we get a great 2012? Sure as hell hope so.
Let's consider everything:

"In 2010, McCain seemed to have lost his confidence and was inactive over the last few weeks. The Texans used a second-round draft choice on Brandon Harris. With a new coach (Vance Joseph) and a new system, McCain played exceptionally well in 2011 as the slot corner.In 2010, McCain seemed to have lost his confidence and was inactive over the last few weeks. The Texans used a second-round draft choice on Brandon Harris. With a new coach (Vance Joseph) and a new system, McCain played exceptionally well in 2011 as the slot corner."
http://blog.chron.com/ultimatetexans...eph-at-corner/


2012: McCain broke foot in week 11 and missed rest of season. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...xans-defender/


2013: "Texans re-signed CB Brice McCain to a three-year contract.McCain was seeking $3.5-$5 million per season, but almost certainly settled for less in the frigid cornerback market. The Texans' slot corner each of the past three seasons, McCain notched 24 tackles and a pick in 2012. He played just 461 snaps, however, and graded out near the bottom of Pro Football Focus' CB ratings. That was likely due in part to the fact that he spent some time on the outside as Johnathan Joseph fought through injury." Mar 19 - 11:08 PM
http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/5402/brice-mccain
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Old 07-30-2013   #19
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

Quote:
Originally Posted by badboy View Post
Let's consider everything:

"In 2010, McCain seemed to have lost his confidence and was inactive over the last few weeks. The Texans used a second-round draft choice on Brandon Harris. With a new coach (Vance Joseph) and a new system, McCain played exceptionally well in 2011 as the slot corner.In 2010, McCain seemed to have lost his confidence and was inactive over the last few weeks. The Texans used a second-round draft choice on Brandon Harris. With a new coach (Vance Joseph) and a new system, McCain played exceptionally well in 2011 as the slot corner."
http://blog.chron.com/ultimatetexans...eph-at-corner/


2012: McCain broke foot in week 11 and missed rest of season. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...xans-defender/


2013: "Texans re-signed CB Brice McCain to a three-year contract.McCain was seeking $3.5-$5 million per season, but almost certainly settled for less in the frigid cornerback market. The Texans' slot corner each of the past three seasons, McCain notched 24 tackles and a pick in 2012. He played just 461 snaps, however, and graded out near the bottom of Pro Football Focus' CB ratings. That was likely due in part to the fact that he spent some time on the outside as Johnathan Joseph fought through injury." Mar 19 - 11:08 PM
http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/5402/brice-mccain
Not sure what you wish to illustrate especially with the bolded text. Him playing 461 snaps doesn't erase that he played poorly for those snaps. And in comparison he played 482 snaps in all of 2011 so a difference of 21 so the whole 'just' they put in that statement is a bit of a reach and seeking excuses for poor play. He simply didn't play good in 2012 and hopefully he bounces back. It is what it is.

And they stretched on him playing outside too. He had 20 plays outside against the Titans where he got hurt. Before then the team utilized Alan Ball in replace of Joseph, not McCain.
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Old 07-31-2013   #20
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Default Re: LZ: Texans training camp previews

HOUSTON TEXANS' PRACTICE NOTES FOR WEDNESDAY MORNING
By Lance Zierlein
July 31, 2013


Quote:
TEXANS RUN A PORTION OF THEIR PRACTICE OUT OF PISTOL FORMATION
Let's get this out of the way right now...

QUARTERBACKS INCONSISTENT IN SCRIMMAGE
After a solid day of practice yesterday, the QBs...

MAYS AND NEWTON WORKING WITH STARTERS
It didn't take long for Joe Mays to...

OTHER NOTES
  • DeAndre Hopkins had two unbelievable battles with Johnathan Joseph during one-on-one endzone drills, and he won both, coming down with the TD catch with Joseph draped all over him in both instances. On the first TD, he shook Joseph with a double move, and while Joseph grabbed him (defensive holding is another name for it) to slow Hopkins down, Hopkins still went up over Joseph for the TD catch.
  • Roc Carmichael looks so much more confident this year and it is showing on the field. He lost some battles to great catches by the WRs during one-on-ones, but he is staying with them and is doing a great job of breaking on the ball. Right now, Carmichael just needs to finish plays a little more effectively. I fully expect him to make the team if he keeps playing like this.
  • While I don't think Syracuse rookie and undrafted free agent WR Alec Lemon...
  • Ben Tate showed...
  • Veteran CB Elbert Mack...
  • CB Brandon Harris is...
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