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Old 03-13-2014   #1
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Default Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

In preparation for the draft and Free Agency, I have been doing some research on our defensive needs. This will not be a glass half-full post, so if you're already down then leave now. You were warned.


I think many of us have seen the lack of talent on this team for awhile, especially on defense. We have a few stars on defense, but the rest of our players are below average and the depth is awful. This was a top 5 defense in the league 2 years ago, but it's not anymore. It's falling behind.....fast. To gauge our talent level, let's compare our two-deep last year to the best defense in the league last year.


Seattle Seahawks 2013 Two-Deep
WDE - Chris Clemons / Cliff Avril
DT - Clinton McDonald / Michael Bennett
NT - Brandon Mebane / Jordan Hill
SDE - Red Bryant / Tony McDaniel
SLB - Bruce Irvin / O'Brien Schofield
MLB - Bobby Wagner / K.J. Wright
WLB - Malcolm Smith / Mike Morgan
CB - Richard Sherman / Walter Thurmond
CB - Byron Maxwell / Jeremy Lane
FS - Earl Thomas / Chris Maragos
SS - Kam Chancellor / Jeron Johnson

Houston Texans 2013 Two-Deep
LE - J.J. Watt / Jared Crick
DT - Earl Mitchell / Terrell McClain
RE - Antonio Smith / Tim Jamison
SLB - Brooks Reed / Bryan Braman
MLB - Brian Cushing / Darryl Sharpton
ILB - Joe Mays / Jeff Tarpinian
WLB - Whitney Mercilus / Ricky Sapp
CB - Jonathan Joseph / Brice McCain
CB - Kareem Jackson / Brandon Harris
FS - Danieal Manning / Shiloh Keo
SS - D.J. Swearinger / Eddie Pleasant


That doesn't look very close does it? Seattle has 3-4 backups that would have started for us last year and their depth is way better than ours. How many of our guys would have started for Seattle? Maybe 2-3?

Now consider that Seattle lost 3 starting D-Linemen in FA (Clemons, McDonald, & Bryant) and replaced them with very good players who were big contributors last year (Avril, Bennett, & McDaniel). Meanwhile, we lost 2 of our starting D-Linemen in FA (Smith & Mitchell) and have no contributors on the roster set to replace them. Crick and Jamison are JAG's and the other reserves were FA's as well. We will have to rely on the draft and the second wave of free agency to address 2 of the 3 starting D-Line positions and our depth concerns. If you want to see how good a defense is then look at their D-Line. Well as of right now....


2014 Seahawks D-Line
WDE - Cliff Avril / Benson Mayowa
DT - Michael Bennett / Jordan Hill
NT - Brandon Mebane / Jesse Williams
SDE - Tony McDaniel / Greg Scruggs

2014 Texans D-Line
DE - J.J. Watt / Keith Browner
NT -
DE - Jared Crick / Tim Jamison


Seattle already has their starting line intact and decent depth before the draft. We don't even have a starting lineup and have no depth. Very sobering.
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Old 03-13-2014   #2
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

We're going to have to upgrade size in most of the front seven and then upgrade that depth, as well. Add in DB needs and there aren't enough draft picks just for the defense. I don't see a quick (one year) turnaround, and I believe OB has given Rick the bad news and that they've shared that with Mr. McNair.

Just can't go from Wade/Kubes to 200x Patriots overnight. Saying that, I'm excited as heck about our direction. Repped.
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Old 03-13-2014   #3
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

When I look at your depth chart and I see that Jeff Tarpinian is now one of our starting ILB's (mays traded) and we literally have practice squad DT (Mitchell and McClain traded), this makes for a sad 2Slik...
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Old 03-13-2014   #4
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

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Originally Posted by Playoffs View Post
We're going to have to upgrade size in most of the front seven and then upgrade that depth, as well. Add in DB needs and there aren't enough draft picks just for the defense. I don't see a quick (one year) turnaround, and I believe OB has given Rick the bad news and that they've shared that with Mr. McNair.

Just can't go from Wade/Kubes to 200x Patriots overnight. Saying that, I'm excited as heck about our direction. Repped.
We definitely have to get bigger up front. At 290, Watt is slightly undersized for Crennel's front, the other 3 DL on the team are all under 280 and are JAG's. We need another starter at ILB and a talent upgrade at OLB as well as depth at both ILB and OLB. We also need a 3rd CB and some better depth at both CB and S. It's a damn mess.
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Old 03-13-2014   #5
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

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Originally Posted by WolverineFan View Post
We definitely have to get bigger up front. At 290, Watt is slightly undersized for Crennel's front, the other 3 DL on the team are all under 280 and are JAG's. We need another starter at ILB and a talent upgrade at OLB as well as depth at both ILB and OLB. We also need a 3rd CB and some better depth at both CB and S. It's a damn mess.
Possibility we let Mitchell and McClain walk with the intentions of reuniting wilfork with Crennel?
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Old 03-13-2014   #6
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

Keep in mind that Seattle re didn't need a team loaded with 1st rounders to be elite. Some of their big cogs are also mid to late round picks.

Also if Phillips can pull a one year turn around with less starting out, we know it's possible. Not saying we need to or can have the defense Seattle or San Fran has put together in a year to succeed. We just need top 15 to compete for the division, which is a weak one overall.

There's some good pieces to work with. I don't think it's a major overhaul, but def not a hired gun away from elite. When guys like Keo are allowed to persist on your roster or you have too many all effort but short on talent guy it's a problem.

Honestly, maybe I just dress hearing another well it's going to take another 2-3 year's to get this turned around so let's continue to move at glacial speed to make improvements.
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Old 03-13-2014   #7
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

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Originally Posted by 2slik4u View Post
Possibility we let Mitchell and McClain walk with the intentions of reuniting wilfork with Crennel?
We let Mitchell walk without trying to re-sign him. McCain was cut because he's awful. Both of those decisions were made long before Wilfork requested his release. I see maybe a 1% chance Wilfork ends up in Houston next year.
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Old 03-13-2014   #8
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

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Originally Posted by Playoffs View Post
We're going to have to upgrade size in most of the front seven and then upgrade that depth, as well. Add in DB needs and there aren't enough draft picks just for the defense. I don't see a quick (one year) turnaround, and I believe OB has given Rick the bad news and that they've shared that with Mr. McNair.

Just can't go from Wade/Kubes to 200x Patriots overnight. Saying that, I'm excited as heck about our direction. Repped.
I agree there is work to be done & we're not going to be the Patriots-South any time soon. The goal for next year is simply to be better than we were in 2013.

At the same time, we're not playing the first place teams in the AFC. We're not playing the strongest division in the AFC, because there is no strong division in the AFC. The toughest stretch in our schedule will be the week we play Indianapolis, both of them. Other than that, we won't face a contender until we get to the play-offs (if we get to the play-offs).

If we win 10 games, or 11 games (which is possible) that won't mean that we're good, it won't make us contenders, it won't make us the hottest team in the NFL... Like the 9-0 Chiefs...... or the 10-1 Texans from 2012...

We don't play the Patriots. We don't play the Broncos. We don't play the Packers or the Seahawks or the 49ers... our defense don't need to be that great next season. We just need to make a step change & have us sitting pretty for the 2015 offseason.
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Old 03-13-2014   #9
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

I expect this team to compete next year. If we get a qb.

I think we'll get some good players in the draft and make some solid pick ups. More importantly I think the coaching will be much better.

In the division I think we can overtake the titans and jags...I think we can beat the colts out as well. They aren't really all that good to me. Our division isn't really looking all that tough.

And I don't know if the colts know what they're doing really. That trade for TR was a fail from the get go.
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Old 03-13-2014   #10
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

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Originally Posted by WolverineFan View Post
We let Mitchell walk without trying to re-sign him. McCain was cut because he's awful. Both of those decisions were made long before Wilfork requested his release. I see maybe a 1% chance Wilfork ends up in Houston next year.
I'd say there's about a 3.22% chance of this happening.
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Old 03-13-2014   #11
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

Thank you for the dose of reality here, to many folks are fooling themselves thinking we're only a QB away from the playoffs. Wade's 1 gap 3-4 system was centered around smaller quicker D-linemen that penetrated and got after the QB while the OLB's set the edge and contained the RB or QB. Crennels system as I understand a traditional 2 gap 3-4 is built with much bigger D-linemen who take up blockers, stuff the run, and free up the OLB's to make plays, exactly the opposite of Wade's system. Also Rick Smiths draft history the last few years is terrible. I'm not sure if that's Ricks fault or the coaching staff who was telling him who they want, probably both. As for Wilfork coming to Houston, that's very doubtful. He suffered an Achilles tendon injury, which is serious for anyone much less a 330+ lbs. DT, and he's already 32 yoa., have we not learned our lesson about old injured expensive FA's. I also don't think this re-build is a 1 yr. turn around, it's more like a 2-3 yr. re-build especially with our limited cap space and all the dead money we'll be owing players. I'd like to see the Texans acknowledge this re-build, bite the bullet on the dead money and pay it all off this year since you can't re-build in 1 yr. anyway, and free up the team for a 2015 season with lots of FA money to spend and re-sign JJ. They also need to spend the 2014 draft building the trenches, ie: OT, OG, NT, DT/DE, and LB's, then add all the fancy skill position players the next year and build this team the way it should have been built to begin with.
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Old 03-14-2014   #12
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

Once we sign Vince Wilfork for that much needed big nose tackle and draft Jadeveon Clowney number one overall. We're going to have a much improved front seven adding those two beasts to J.J. Watt and a healthy Brian Cushing. Our secondary is going to perform much better. We'll need depth but there is plenty of time for that. It's not like the 2014 regular season starts tomorrow.
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Old 03-14-2014   #13
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

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Originally Posted by Bulls on Parade View Post
Once we sign Vince Wilfork for that much needed big nose tackle and draft Jadeveon Clowney number one overall. We're going to have a much improved front seven adding those two beasts to J.J. Watt and a healthy Brian Cushing. Our secondary is going to perform much better. We'll need depth but there is plenty of time for that. It's not like the 2014 regular season starts tomorrow.
Hmmm. If that's what you're waiting on to happen, I think you might have a long wait in store. They may take Clowney #1 but I'd be really surprised and I'd be surprised squared if they brought in Wolfolk. He wants BIG bucks. Don't think that's gonna happen.
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Old 03-14-2014   #14
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

Revamping the entire defense-

Dl: IS jj right now and nothing more. No starters and no depth.

Lb: Cushing comming off injury again and the olbs are the same ineffective tandem of brooks and mercy (who I have to expect will get better.) Who's the other ilb?

Db: I think jjo is on the downhill slope. Keo got better but he's just an average starter on his absolutely best day. Nickel HAS to be better because McCain is finally gone...that's a plus.

Add up all these holes with the ones on offense and its obvious they will not all be adressed in one off-season. People keep talking about kc's turn around last season and how we can do it to , but frankly, thats bull****. The outlook appears grim. I wanna be wrong and change my mind after the draft...I just don't think its gonna happen. Our roster looks monumentally bad.
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Old 03-14-2014   #15
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

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Originally Posted by Bulls on Parade View Post
Once we sign Vince Wilfork for that much needed big nose tackle and draft Jadeveon Clowney number one overall. We're going to have a much improved front seven adding those two beasts to J.J. Watt and a healthy Brian Cushing. Our secondary is going to perform much better. We'll need depth but there is plenty of time for that. It's not like the 2014 regular season starts tomorrow.
You do realize that Vince Wilfork is 32 yoa., very expensive, and very injured right?
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Old 03-14-2014   #16
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

Raji maybe?
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Old 03-14-2014   #17
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

I was just looking at this two days ago and it's depressing. We don't even have a NT on the roster. Even if we sign two FA defensive linemen, we still need to draft a few more in order to have even decent depth/talent. Our 2nd starting ILB is an UDFA from last year. Our primary backup at OLB hasn't ever played a regular season snap. We will have swag boy as a starting safety and next year we will be looking for another starting safety. We certainly don't have a young safety on this roster that has even the slightest chance of developing into an average starter to replace Manning. All the picks we have used on corners and we still are in need of both depth and a starting nickel. Since 2007, we have invested a first rounder, 2 second rounders, a third rounder, 3 fourth rounders, 3 fifth rounders, 2 sixth rounders, and a seventh rounder on defensive backs and we currently have Kareem Jackson, Brandon Harris, Shiloh Keo, and D.J. Swearinger to show for those investments. That's 13 draft picks.

You look at this and you wonder, how the hell is Rick Smith still employed with this franchise? How can someone do this poorly, both in talent evaluation and in cap management, and stick around for the start of a new administration? It's not about the scheme change either. It doesn't matter what scheme we decided to run, we don't have the talent for any of them, even if we resigned Antonio Smith.

I don't understand when people blame this stuff on the coaches. This isn't limited to even Wade Phillips, this has been going on since before his arrival. This guy Rick Smith is simply a poor GM.

Look at our draft last year guys:

1. DeAndre Hopkins (WR--Clemson)
2. D.J. Swearinger (S--South Carolina)
3. Brennan Williams (OT--North Carolina)
3. Sam Montgomery (OLB/DE--LSU)
4. Trevardo Williams (LB/DE--UConn)
6. David Quessenberry (OT/OG--San Jose State)
6. Alan Bonner (WR--Jacksonville State)
6. Chris Jones (DT--Bowling Green State)
6. Ryan Griffin (TE--UConn)

Is this not the least productive draft class, in their first year, you have ever seen? You've got failures of all sorts going on here. Two of them aren't even on the roster one year later. A third rounder is gone because of character concerns that were red flags prior to the draft. Another third rounder had a medical issue prior to the draft. A second rounder lost it mid-game, had 3 or 4 personal foul penalties, and damn near single-handedly lost the game for us.

I worry that we are going to have to suffer through another year of failed talent evaluation. I highly doubt that O'Brien would keep Rick Smith if he had the option of picking out his own GM. That assumption leads me to believe that ownership is not looking at the big picture here.

Sobering indeed.

Last edited by TexansSeminole; 03-14-2014 at 06:22 AM.
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Old 03-14-2014   #18
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

We are not in good shape defensively, but again it's not all that bad - if. If the decision is made that our offense is in better shape than our defense and OB can work with what we have, with the addition of a few pieces, and the decision is made to draft heavily for the defense, the talent is available as deep as the 5th round. There's no reason for me to repeat myself, I haven't changed the basics of my mock. I'll still tweek it some in the coming weeks, but we can put together a very good defense - but young - to carry us this season. Keep the scoring down so the offense doesn't have to be so explosive and high scoring. An 8 or 9 win season is possible while putting together a core group of young defensive player for the next four or five years.

This is just one way to go. Some want to do the opposite - draft heavily offensively.
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Old 03-14-2014   #19
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

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Originally Posted by TexansSeminole View Post
...

Sobering indeed.
I dunno about you, but it makes me want to drink! Amirite?
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Old 03-14-2014   #20
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Default Re: Texans Defense (how far behind are we?)

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Originally Posted by TexansSeminole View Post
I was just looking at this two days ago and it's depressing. We don't even have a NT on the roster. Even if we sign two FA defensive linemen, we still need to draft a few more in order to have even decent depth/talent. Our 2nd starting ILB is an UDFA from last year. Our primary backup at OLB hasn't ever played a regular season snap. We will have swag boy as a starting safety and next year we will be looking for another starting safety. We certainly don't have a young safety on this roster that has even the slightest chance of developing into an average starter to replace Manning. All the picks we have used on corners and we still are in need of both depth and a starting nickel. Since 2007, we have invested a first rounder, 2 second rounders, a third rounder, 3 fourth rounders, 3 fifth rounders, 2 sixth rounders, and a seventh rounder on defensive backs and we currently have Kareem Jackson, Brandon Harris, Shiloh Keo, and D.J. Swearinger to show for those investments. That's 13 draft picks.

You look at this and you wonder, how the hell is Rick Smith still employed with this franchise? How can someone do this poorly, both in talent evaluation and in cap management, and stick around for the start of a new administration? It's not about the scheme change either. It doesn't matter what scheme we decided to run, we don't have the talent for any of them, even if we resigned Antonio Smith.

I don't understand when people blame this stuff on the coaches. This isn't limited to even Wade Phillips, this has been going on since before his arrival. This guy Rick Smith is simply a poor GM.

Look at our draft last year guys:

1. DeAndre Hopkins (WR--Clemson)
2. D.J. Swearinger (S--South Carolina)
3. Brennan Williams (OT--North Carolina)
3. Sam Montgomery (OLB/DE--LSU)
4. Trevardo Williams (LB/DE--UConn)
6. David Quessenberry (OT/OG--San Jose State)
6. Alan Bonner (WR--Jacksonville State)
6. Chris Jones (DT--Bowling Green State)
6. Ryan Griffin (TE--UConn)

Is this not the least productive draft class, in their first year, you have ever seen? You've got failures of all sorts going on here. Two of them aren't even on the roster one year later. A third rounder is gone because of character concerns that were red flags prior to the draft. Another third rounder had a medical issue prior to the draft. A second rounder lost it mid-game, had 3 or 4 personal foul penalties, and damn near single-handedly lost the game for us.

I worry that we are going to have to suffer through another year of failed talent evaluation. I highly doubt that O'Brien would keep Rick Smith if he had the option of picking out his own GM. That assumption leads me to believe that ownership is not looking at the big picture here.

Sobering indeed.
I'm thinking two things here: one we're going to have to have another terrible year to finally let go Smith or that Kubiak was pulling the lion's share of strings in bad calls.

Ultimately, hoping the later just so we don't have to suffer another terrible season. Might be worth it though for a FO clean slate.

Last edited by Goldensilence; 03-14-2014 at 09:40 AM.
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