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Old 11-22-2005   #1
Hervoyel
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Default What I've learned in 2005

Well the 2005 season is for all intents and purposes over. Sure there are 6 games left and the Texans will tell you that there is still a lot of football to be played this year but that's just Toro patties. The truth is that the team is much farther away from where we expected it to be and even a 6 game win streak (Unlikely as it may be) to match last years 7-9 record wouldn't succeed in hiding that fact.

This leaves us, the fans in a very lousy spot. The season is still on but our team is "DRT". We have next to nothing to look forward to until the season ends and the much needed "changes" begin. We know we need another head coach and many of us are pretty certain that we need a new general manager as well. Thankfully nobody is asking for a new owner but hey, the Texans have six more Sundays to try and bring those guys out of the wood work. You just know they're out there somewhere.
In my opinion you can look at the various units that make up the Texans going into the 2006 season and you can really only give them one of three "grades".

"Set" meaning we're good to go there for the time being.
"Need" meaning obviously we need some help, no two ways about it.
"Incomplete" meaning that we really don't know what we have here.

Starting first with the Texans offense I find myself giving them the following grades.

Offense

Quarterbacks: Set

I mean this whether they keep David Carr or let him leave. I just don't think it's going to matter very much who's playing QB for us in 2006. With the enormous number of "Need" positions on this team (Inexcusable after four years of building) I think that keeping David Carr is probably a mistake. Tony Banks, who should have been our starter from day one, probably needs to take the reins (assuming Dave Ragone can't beat him out of the job) and start for us next year.

No we shouldn't consider drafting Matt Leinhart next year. That would literally be about the stupidest thing the Texans could possibly do in the first round of the draft (which makes it a frightening possibility now that I think about it). Putting Leinhart into the spot David Carr just vacated before the offensive line questions are answered and with our pitiful running game would be repeating the kind of mistake the team made in 2002. You just don't lead off with a young QB when you're starting from scratch. If Tim Couch and David Carr don't make the case for that and convince you (Throw in Joey Harrington too, the Lions were just about that bad) then I don't know what will. Banks, Ragone, and some crummy journeyman developmental guy will do until we can protect an expensive QB properly and give him a backfield that can carry the load when needed.

We go get a franchise QB in 2007 or 2008. Next year is too soon.


Running backs: Need

Domanick Davis missed time again this season and will once more get his thousand plus (relatively meaningless) yards. We need a running back who can stay healthy and produce yards and points when the team needs them. Yes his diehard fans will insist that he's a franchise back playing behind a poor offensive line. I don't think that's true at all. I think he mostly gets yards in junk time, when we're behind and the defense is fine with watching our team waste the clock. When we must have a first down he's useless. When we must run out the clock to preserve a lead he's as slow and ineffective as Jonathan Wells ever looked in 2002. The Texans cannot run the ball on anyone and that leads directly to the Texans being incapable of throwing the ball on anyone. When you have to throw, and the defense knows you have to throw, then pass protection becomes a near impossible task.

The Texans need a real starting RB and they can't afford to be wrong about the guy they go out and get. Do they pick Reggie Bush in the draft? I don't know. If they do he absolutely, positively must be the real thing. There can be no mistake made here and if that means they need to go looking for a proven Shaun Alexander type free agent then so be it. The Texans need to run the ball and they aren't going to have the best line in the world next year. They need a back who can create. As for the rest of the Texans "stable" Jonathan Wells is a good backup running back. Tony Hollings is done here.

Domanick Davis should be the third down back and first RB off the bench. Jonathan Wells should be our #3 back and our #2 FB and continue to contribute on special teams. Moran Norris at FB is the only player back here that we have right now who's as good as anyone else has at what he does and better than most.

How do we fill this need? If I were making the call here I would be looking around the NFL for a free agent RB. I'd be willing to give something up to get one. If I can't get a suitable free agent then I'd consider drafting one with our first pick in 2006. It would kill me to pass on a LT and maybe I wouldn't be able to do it. Miami has a pair of RB's and so does Baltimore. There are going to be guys out there to be signed. Some of that money we don't pay David Carr could help get this done.


Wide Receivers: Need

Andre Johnson can play for anybody in the NFL. There's no question about that. Jabbar Gaffney and Derrick Armstrong are probably both capable of making many rosters in the NFL and I think they are both quality players who come back next year. Jerome Mathis could make this team strictly as a returner if necessary. He's special, no doubt about that and we could afford to stow a a great return specialist far down the depth chart if necessary. Mathis seems to have pretty good hands though so I don't think we're looking at another Jermaine Lewis here. He's going to be a contributor on offense if given the opportunity.

What we're lacking is a guy (other than Andre) who can't be ignored. Maybe one steps up from this bunch or maybe we can sign a free agent WR. No, Terrell Owens is not an option. We have guys that can hurt you if you smother Andre. What we need is at least one guy who can kill you when you do it. Corey Bradford has that ability when he catches the ball but he doesn't do it enough to justify a roster spot anymore. This season should be his last as a Texan. His drops have become more of a liability than anything he catches is a benefit.

How do we fill this need? We hope that one of our own steps up. Second and third options get thrown to so rarely around these parts that I'm sometimes surprised the Texans even bother to send them out. I bet we've got a WR here right now who could step up and push this "Need" back a few years. Either way we can't fill every need at once so this has to wait. If we sign a free agent RB then there's no way we can go out and pay for a known play-maker at WR too. Not in the same year.


Tight Ends: Need

This comes down to two words. Bennie Joppru. Nobody is pointing any fingers here and I don't see how anyone can blame Bennie Joppru, Charlie Casserly, or anyone else for the freakish three seasons that Joppru has had. To quote Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, "It's weird but it happens". Still we have no alternative but to draft a TE on the first day in this coming draft or we must sign one in free agency. We must have one and we can't count on Joppru making it to the field (or being much of a factor if he does finally step onto it). If we get Bennie in 2006 then great. I wouldn't count on it though.

How do we fill this need? I just said it, we draft or sign another TE. Maybe we get Joppru finally and we have two of them for a change. Wouldn't that be wild? Mark Bruener returns I'm sure but if the Texans do the right thing then he has trouble making this team.


Offensive Line: Incomplete/Need

Does anyone really know what we have here on the offensive line? Do the Texans coaches even know? To look at them and try to get some idea of what we're dealing with I think it's best to first divide them into two groups. "Guys we drafted" and "Guys we signed"

Guys we Drafted: Chester Pitts, Seth Wand, Milford Brown, Drew Hodgdon and Fred Weary.

See any Pro Bowlers in there? Me neither. Maybe Chester Pitts someday but past that we've done a pitiful job of drafting linemen. Fred Weary is a career backup and so is Milford Brown. Drew Hodgdon seems to at least have a starters attitude but that's just because he hasn't worked with our coaches long enough. I'm sure given another training camp with Joe Pendry we could work that out of his system.

Actually once you look at the guys we've got on our roster who we picked in the draft it doesn't look all that bad. Milford Brown has at least threatened to start from time to time and Seth Wand started all of last season. These guys are more unknowns than busts (excepting Weary) so I give our drafted lineman an easy "Incomplete". One (solid) starter in Pitts, one clear bust in Weary, and three guys who we just don't know about yet.

I know one thing with absolute certainty. Chester Pitts is not our answer at LT. He may play well there but I think the coaches (Yes, the same ones I am maligning for many other decisions) were correct in believing that Chester would ultimately play best at the Guard spot. He's shown that he's much more capable than that but I think at best he's the answer at RT. We need to spend that first pick on the best LT available. That's maybe the most important thing in the 2006 postseason. Ferguson (for example) and Pitts might very well be the kind of bookends that the Texans envisioned when they took Boselli and Young in the expansion draft.

Guys we Signed: Steve McKinney, Zach Weigert, Todd Washington, Todd Wade, and Victor Riley.

These are all guys who started for other teams. McKinney started for four years in Indy for the Colts at LG and then started 48 games at C for us going into 2005. Now he's never been a particularly good center but I can't believe that he was that bad in Indy at LG. If he was then why did he remain a starter? Zach Weigert is an 11 year vet who's been a starter almost all of his career. He seems to have reached an age where he gets dinged up easily but he has a long history of being a pretty good lineman. Todd Washington is a quality reserve and that's about it. Todd Wade had started at RT for 5 years prior to this season. He played the majority of those games every year so obviously this guy wouldn't have 78 starts at RT if he couldn't play RT. Victor Riley has been out of shape and much maligned here (deservedly so) but he's spent the majority of his 8 years in the league as a starting RT.

The big question we should all be asking ourselves is how come these guys start to suck when they get off the plane in Houston? I'm not saying that this group of free agent offensive linemen should be sent as a unit to the Pro Bowl but it's plain to see that the whole does not equal the sum of the parts.

How do we get an answer about this line? Well, I think we'll get our answers about these players when another coaching staff gets to work with them. I don't think these guys are as bad as they have looked. Certainly we should continue to keep our eyes out for players who can make our offensive line better and I think we should begin the rebuilding by drafting the best LT out there. What makes this all so annoying is that we should know whether or not these guys are good by now. The Texans should know whether or not these guys are any good by now. Why don't they? Why are they still moving people around and trying to find their "Best 5 guys" at this late stage?
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Old 11-22-2005   #2
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Defense

Defensive Line: Incomplete/Need

Seth Payne is a 9 year veteran. Gary Walker is an 11 year veteran. On the other hand Travis johnson is a rookie and Robaire Smith only has 6 years "on him. Past those four players we have Jerry DeLoach (5 years) and Junior Ioane (6 years). They are basically depth and not much more.
It's often hard to see what a 3-4 lineman is worth because if he's doing his job then the outside linebackers are having a hell of a game. I think we're going to need to add to this unit in the next year or so if we stay a 3-4 defense. Gary has played hard this year but at 11 years he's starting to have a hard time staying on the field lately. Seth Payne at 9 years seems solid again. Johnson being a rookie means that he's a year or so away from showing us if he was a good pick or not. Cross your fingers everybody and keep them that way until, oh.....2007. Robaire is doing alright in my view. He's getting there.

If we move to a 4-3 then I don't know what to say other than I guess it's still an "Incomplete". I expect us to be replacing Gary Walker soon because he has a hard time staying healthy after 11 seasons. That happens and I'm not knocking him for it. I think we could use another DE/DT in the coming draft.

How do we get a grade on the Defensive Line? The same way we learn what we have at linebacker. Look below the next section (Linebackers) for the answer because I'm only going to type it once.


Linebackers: Incomplete

Yes I said "Incomplete". Greenwood has proven nothing thus far and sure, Wong is injured but they stunk in the middle before he got hurt. On the outside Babin and Peek could both use someone to push them, or so it seems. Our backup linebackers play special teams really well which means exactly nothing when it comes to playing linebacker. What gives? I don't know. I think Greenwood can do this and I think the egg he's laid since coming here speaks more to Vic Fangio's lousy version of the 3-4 than it does about his abilities. Nobody has asked Greenwood to work miracles or make the NFL forget about Ray Lewis. His job is not (in theory) complicated. Wong we know can, given time, play just about anywhere you put him. He's a legitimate starter on probably a majority of teams in this league. Sharper should still be here. That was a mistake. I understand why they let go of Foreman but letting Sharper go in hindsight was insanely stupid.

I suspect that this is all on the scheme. No the 3-4 isn't to blame here. It seems like every week or two someone blames the 3-4 defense for our problems but that is again Toro patties. It's our 3-4 that doesn't work like it's supposed to and the "record of success" that Vic Fangio brings to the table is hard to ignore. His Colts defense sucked and his Texans defense sucks just as bad if not worse.

How we find out what's going on with our linebackers is easy. We bring in a defensive coordinator who has a proven record of success (real success, not "Vic Fangio sarcasm success") coaching the 3-4 and we give him our guys and see what happens. We either have players here or we don't. To me it looks like we have players (here and on the line).


Defensive Backs: Incomplete/Need

We need another cornerback I think. Pat Buchanon looks very much like a big mistake and someone needs to hold down that side. We also need to send Marcus Coleman packing if the play we're seeing from him at Safety is the best he can do today. Maybe we've got some players in Glenn Earl and C.C. Brown but neither of them really make me feel like the position is covered. I felt more secure back there with Marlon McCree than I do with either one of them. Dunta Robinson is of course our stud here and completely good to go.

Then again hey, maybe it's all about the scheme. I have read often that Buchanon does a poor job in our zone coverage approach to defending against the pass. He's supposed to be this man-to-man kind of guy who gets picks that way. Does he tackle better when he plays like that? I don't know. I'd like to see the Texans open his job up for anyone to win and see them draft another corner. Maybe an early second day guy who lacks size but who has a motor. At the same time I'd give Buchanon an equal chance to win the job himself under our new defensive coaches. Just like with the linebackers and defensive line I wonder if our defensive backs production would go up under new coaching. I'm sure that we would look better if our front seven could bring any sort of real pressure.


Special Teams: Set

Don't touch a thing here. It's perfect exactly the way it is. Kris Brown, Chad Stanley, and Jerome Mathis on returns makes me smile. Our special teams play hard and right and I hope whoever gets Dom Capers job keeps this part of the team just like it is from Marciano on down. We have so much to fix that I'd hate to see them tinker with anything that wasn't already broken.


Our single biggest need is a coaching staff with a clue. It's alarming that we have brought in so many players who can't seem to get it done and who the coaches don't appear to "know". What makes me step back and calm down about the situation is that in the case of veterans we've brought in those players have generally performed (Sit down Buchanon, I'm not talking about you) in the past with other teams. The fact that our coaches can't seem to get a performance out of those guys helps me hold out hope for our drafted players.

This off-season in free agency I'd sign a top quality, front page of ESPN.com type running back right out of the gate if I could get one. If that fails to happen then I'd think we were looking at another season with Domanick Davis. and I'd then try to get myself a top flight WR if one was out there. Either way I'm really looking to come out of the free agent period with one of those two needs filled. Then of course there are going to be a few bargain signings but nothing else major.

In the draft I'd lead off with the future LT. Take the best one you can possibly get and don't get creative. Trading down for more picks has gotten us nowhere so far and someone needs to impress that fact upon Charlie Casserly. Take the best LT you can get and stop outsmarting yourself Charlie.

Following that top pick the rest of the draft is pretty clear. The only other spot where need is as great as it is at LT is TE. We need one badly. On offense we need help at WR and RB. On defense we need another CB, S, and our line is getting pretty old. A young DT/DE would be nice. We could use help at LB too.
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Old 11-22-2005   #3
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Yeah, what he said. Good stuff H.
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Old 11-22-2005   #4
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Well said, man.

I agree about taking a LT in the first round. It's very tempting to take a good hard look at Bush (if he's available), because you'd hate to pass on the next big time RB. But, that being said, games are won and lost in the trenches, and left tackles are next to impossible to find as free agents. Teams can make decent backs look good with great offensive lines (look no further than the Broncos year after year).

At QB, Carr is not worth the money slated to pay him, based upon what we've seen in almost four seasons. There comes a point when we can no longer make excuses for him - potential but bad o-line yada yada yada - because he has had some opportunities to make things happen, but he didn't. Maybe if they can restructure his contract to free up some money we could keep him. But $8 million at this point would be a foolish decision.

Overall, I agree with your assessment of our team. There are many, many holes to fill, and hopefully a new coaching staff can work with our existing talent, weed out the players that are just taking up space, and add new players via draft and free agency to put together a team that competes week in and week out.
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Old 11-22-2005   #5
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Lot of post to digest. First blush, this one strikes me odd:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hervoyel
Running backs: Need

Yes his diehard fans will insist that he's a franchise back playing behind a poor offensive line. I don't think that's true at all. I think he mostly gets yards in junk time, when we're behind and the defense is fine with watching our team waste the clock.
While I don't think DD is elite and would love to see a Steven Jackson type RB in Houston, this is low on the totem pole of priorities IMO. Are you actually contending DD and the other Texans' RB's, Wells primarily, do not play behind a poor OL? Seriously, Wells got waylaid way behind the OL on that 4th down attempt a couple days ago--did he suck or did the OL? As for junk time, if you mean the 1st half, then you have a point--over DD's career, 1st half 1553 yds, 2nd half 1270 yds. Clearly DD is getting the majority of his yards in junk time while the Texans are wasting away the clock in the 1st half. And by the way, DD's ypc is highest not when the Texans are down, but when they are ahead.
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Old 11-22-2005   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infantrycak
And by the way, DD's ypc is highest not when the Texans are down, but when they are ahead.
Wait a minute...they were ahead? When did that happened?
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Old 11-22-2005   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double Barrel
Wait a minute...they were ahead? When did that happened?
LOL--not this season, over his career. 158 attempts at 4.4 ypc when ahead, 152 attempts at 3.6 ypc when tied and 384 attempts at 4.1 ypc when behind. I guess if you were going to draw a conclusion from that it would be that DD is piss poor sustaining a tie.
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Old 11-22-2005   #8
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I just do not agree with the thought process that goes into saying Carr can't get it done. As mentioned above, you don't go get Lienart either because he will struggle with this team. It isn't about making excuses for Carr. It is what it is. The guy has no time to throw and the few times he does have time, he has nobody to throw to because they're max protecting because of the sorry piece of crap line. It isn't an excuse....IT'S A FACT! Peyton Manning would not prosper behind this line.

I agree that the Texans should have started this franchise by putting the lines together first instead of starting with a franchise QB. But that's not Carr's fault either.

There have been some very bad moves by Casserly and co. like giving up FIVE BODIES for the likes of Babin and #31. Keeping Corey BADford and cutting Swinton. Thinking #42 could play safety. The talent evaluation is horrible.

Capers is a defensive minded coach and that's fine. Except for the fact that his defense blows. And that goes back to the talent evaluation. This team doesn't have the personel to play a 3-4. It's that simple.

I thought Capers and the coaches would have to go and Casserly would get another shot with a new staff, but the more I think about it, Casserly probably needs to be shown the door too.

This system, this coaching staff, is killing the careers of not only David Carr, but of Andre Johnson as well. Hell, you might as well say good bye to Dunta too when he's a FA.

Casserly, Capers and co. need to be shown the door NOW. Not at the end of the season. It needs to be done now, to let the fans know, to let the players know, that losing is NOT acceptable. That this franchise is NOT going to be the Bengals, or the Cardinals.

Capers is always talking about execution. Well Mr. McNair, it's time to execute. Go ahead and throw the switch. Do it now so you can start the search now instead of doing it in the off-season when we need to be focusing on player improvements.
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Old 11-22-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infantrycak
Lot of post to digest. First blush, this one strikes me odd:

While I don't think DD is elite and would love to see a Steven Jackson type RB in Houston, this is low on the totem pole of priorities IMO. Are you actually contending DD and the other Texans' RB's, Wells primarily, do not play behind a poor OL? Seriously, Wells got waylaid way behind the OL on that 4th down attempt a couple days ago--did he suck or did the OL? As for junk time, if you mean the 1st half, then you have a point--over DD's career, 1st half 1553 yds, 2nd half 1270 yds. Clearly DD is getting the majority of his yards in junk time while the Texans are wasting away the clock in the 1st half. And by the way, DD's ypc is highest not when the Texans are down, but when they are ahead.
I'm contending that Domanick Davis gets his thousand yards a year behind a poor offensive line and that his thousand or so yards per year simply do not make enough of a difference.

When the defense knows we need to run the ball we can't run the ball. The Texans can't "impose their will" on anybody in this respect. A back from the next tier up (call him a "True franchise back") can take over a game. Davis cannot do that. A back from the next tier up can make yards behind a less than stellar offensive line. Barry Sanders could (and did) run behind a poor offensive line and made a difference. Walter Payton did the same thing. Numerous running backs who were a step above Davis in terms of talent have made "lemonade when given lemons". We need a guy who can do that.

I'm on record as saying that Davis is a nice back for what he is. I don't think he's enough back to take pressure off of our passing game. If any team in the NFL could use a dominant running game to take pressure off of it's QB then that team is the Texans.

When David Carr says "I think we're a running team?" then I take that as a sign that we need a running back who can move the chains and force the defense to focus on stopping the run.

Average backs get a thousand yards behind a poor offensive line and defenses are just fine with that because that thousand yards isn't beating them. It's never going to beat them. Davis has good games and Davis has bad games. He runs well against teams that don't stop the run particularly well. I dare say he'd be the second coming of Barry Sanders if he could line up against the 2005 Texans 16 times per season.
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Old 11-22-2005   #10
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I just do not agree with the thought process that goes into saying Carr can't get it done. As mentioned above, you don't go get Lienart either because he will struggle with this team. It isn't about making excuses for Carr. It is what it is. The guy has no time to throw and the few times he does have time, he has nobody to throw to because they're max protecting because of the sorry piece of crap line. It isn't an excuse....IT'S A FACT! Peyton Manning would not prosper behind this line.
And I would not pay Peyton Manning millions of dollars to be our tackling dummy either. Carr has struggled but who wouldn't here. The point isn't about giving up on Carr so much as it is about throwing any QB a bunch of money when there are so many areas of concern on this team. I would not have a problem with a restructured deal if Carr would do that. 8 Million dollars? I don't think that's a wise decision when you're going to be drafting in the top 10 for the next two years no matter what you do in the meantime.
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Old 11-22-2005   #11
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CARR isn't the problem.

(pardon the pun) but if you put 4 FLAT TIRES on a Car, I don't care what kind of engine/etc it has...it's won't perform to it's potential.

Add someone like Steven Alexander via trade/freeagency and some INTERIOR linemen, and we'll be WAY better off for Offense. Until this year I thought someone like Gross is what we need at LT...but I must say that PITTS will fill the job nicely until 2007 when we can add a #1 LT and shift Pitts to LG when he's ready.

Agree that P-Buch is P-suck. Too bad. I liked the trade (blind faith...no longer).

M-Coleman...you're HORRIBLE this year. Does he just not care or did age REALLY catch up THAT FAST. Maybe since his "supporting cast" is a joke, he's playing "on par".

I dunno. Personally, it's frustrating...as I'm sure we all feel. I really thought I'd see some late-January Texan games.

Capers...see ya!
Fangio...Later.
Carr...pull up a chair..you ain't going no-where...McNair knows better.
Palmer...How's the handicap? Hope it's better than you game plans were!

I'm out like our 2005 playoff dreams.
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Old 11-23-2005   #12
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I'm contending that Domanick Davis gets his thousand yards a year behind a poor offensive line and that his thousand or so yards per year simply do not make enough of a difference.
Clearly they don't make a team better than 1-9, so I guess that isn't a difference. But seriously, look at that statement--he gets his yards behind a poor OL--what would he do behind an average or "shsssh" less we jinx it, a good OL?--or with a balanced offense? No, DD isn't Sanders or Peyton, but come on--those are two of the top 5 RB's ever in the NFL. Not having one of those is fact for most teams, not a need.
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Old 11-23-2005   #13
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But that's not Carr's fault either.

It never is everyone else but Carr shoot blame it on the fans but never Sir David Carr who is the greatest Qb of all time and has proved it since day one. by earning his job and never having anything handed to him
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Old 11-23-2005   #14
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Default please send the first 2 msgs to McNair, quick!

H has provided a spot on analysis of the team it's problems and the way out. I even agree on the QB plan--much better than anything we've done so far. It's just smart and to the point. Kudos.
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Old 11-23-2005   #15
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I just think a back who can carry the ball 30+ times a game and move the chains rain or shine would do wonders for the pass protection and the win column. I don't think Domanick Davis is that back.

For all he's done in his time here one thing stays the same. Domanick Davis won't beat you. He'll get some yards and score touchdowns when the Texans make it down inside the 10 (no worries, that won't happen often) but he won't run all over you and the Texans can't eat the clock up.

Nobody on our team can get the tough yards when everybody knows you're going to run.
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Old 11-23-2005   #16
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LOL--not this season, over his career. 158 attempts at 4.4 ypc when ahead, 152 attempts at 3.6 ypc when tied and 384 attempts at 4.1 ypc when behind. I guess if you were going to draw a conclusion from that it would be that DD is piss poor sustaining a tie.
And therefore horrible at keeping it close!! omg fire him!

Herv, very good post, lots of thought´in there and a nice breakdown of the up's and down's of the different positions.

Herv, just a question, as someone else mentioned you would like a top-tier RB coming in here next season, but what are your thoughts on Morency?
I know we have not seen that much of this guy, but to me it looks as if he has a whole lot of energy that just needs to be guided(coached). I believe that, with the proper coaching/line/playcalling could be just that RB you wish for.

Last edited by Malloy; 11-23-2005 at 06:07 AM.
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Old 11-23-2005   #17
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Our single biggest need is a coaching staff with a clue. It's alarming that we have brought in so many players who can't seem to get it done and who the coaches don't appear to "know". What makes me step back and calm down about the situation is that in the case of veterans we've brought in those players have generally performed (Sit down Buchanon, I'm not talking about you) in the past with other teams. The fact that our coaches can't seem to get a performance out of those guys helps me hold out hope for our drafted players.
There is a great deal of top notch analysis here. I hate to give it short thrift by only picking out one point, but I'm going to anyway.

It is clear, given the lack of production we get from proven free agents that we are not using the talent we have. Be it the offensive and defensive schemes, the techniques that our coaches are teaching, an attitude of "I'm a starter, I'll never get replaced", or something else - there is something wrong with how we leverage our players' talent.

As you point out and I'd like to reiterate: there are many players on this roster who we drafted and are considered "busts" by a lot of fans, but I don't think the jury should be in yet on many of them. I think with a better coaching staff who can take advantage of our players' talent and specific skill sets, some of these players will be solid contributors. The question is, will it be with the Texans or with other teams? Players are learning in their first couple of years, it will be a shame if the Texans jettison players at this point and other teams get them in their primes.

An example of what the coaching staff can do to leverage our strengths or take away an opponent's strengths is how they played Freeney in the second Colts game. They did not double team Freeney at the snap on every play, but the double team was available on most plays. The coaches set it up so that Brown would double team Freeney only if he did an inside rush or a spin move. This allowed Pitts to over-compensate for the outside speed rush and this gave him enough of an advantage so that he could handle the outside rush one-on-one. It also allowed Brown to play the inside defensive lineman on the majority of plays.

This scheme is more complicated than simply assigning 1 or 2 blockers to each defender, but our players were able to handle it. I think the coaches were forced to try something different out of desperation. Our players stepped up and executed the plan. It is disappointing that it took so long for the coaches to do this sort of thing and that they do it so infrequently. With this exception, it seems the coaches are more likely to set up the entire offense to cover our weaknesses rather than play to our strengths.
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Old 11-23-2005   #18
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DD isn't an every down back. When he is played that way he gets hurt. However Wells did look decent in the games he started when DD was down. Dom said he would mix in Wells Sunday, but didn't, it was back to DD every down. I think they should mix the backs for now. Maybe getting Bush is part of the solution, but the team needs different coaches. This team looks pretty clueless out there, and its hard to imagine all these players could have gotten that much worse over the off season. When there are as many problems as we see, it isn't just the players.
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Old 11-23-2005   #19
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Herv, just a question, as someone else mentioned you would like a top-tier RB coming in here next season, but what are your thoughts on Morency?
We have six more games in 2005 to look at young players like Morency. Will we do that or will the coaches concentrate on trying to scratch out enough wins to save their jobs?

Finding a gem in Morency would be great. That's one less thing you need to go out and get. I don't see it yet but then like you I haven't seen a lot of Morency to begin with.

This ties into something I saw Vinny say in another thread. He was talking about how Dom & staff as lame ducks don't really do us or themselves any favors. He used Saban in Miami as an example and it's a really good post on the downside of keeping Dom around for the rest of the season. There are some good reasons to keep him as well and I'm not really talking about that particular point. I'm just saying that a guy like Saban who knows he's going to be back next year can concentrate on evaluating his talent (and getting rid of some of those "Incomplete" grades) whereas a coach in Capers situation can't do that. He's got to try to win right now even though those wins don't really accomplish anything since they are coming against bad teams at the end of losing seasons.
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Old 11-23-2005   #20
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This ties into something I saw Vinny say in another thread. He was talking about how Dom & staff as lame ducks don't really do us or themselves any favors. He used Saban in Miami as an example and it's a really good post on the downside of keeping Dom around for the rest of the season. There are some good reasons to keep him as well and I'm not really talking about that particular point. I'm just saying that a guy like Saban who knows he's going to be back next year can concentrate on evaluating his talent (and getting rid of some of those "Incomplete" grades) whereas a coach in Capers situation can't do that. He's got to try to win right now even though those wins don't really accomplish anything since they are coming against bad teams at the end of losing seasons.
Well there is a way for McNair to do this with the current staff. I know this will violate the terms of the fire Capers club, but McNair could go to Capers and staff and say look, continuing to do what you are doing isn't going to save your jobs. The one chance you have is to get creative (like Capers and/or Fangio did in 2003 cobbling a D together after all those injuries), get gutsy, get aggressive and show me you can make a difference to these players and can play more than one style of game. Right now, thinking they are out of here anyway, they have no reason to risk something that will be analyzed on ESPN as the stupid play of the week. Give them a reason to take the risk. IMO it is unlikely they earn back their jobs, but at least they might try.
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