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Old 04-29-2004   #1
V Man
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Default Is JJ going to be looking for a new team?

Is the writing on the wall for JJ Moses? The Texans drafted Duff,-DB and puped his return abilities. Then drafted Lord-DB and said should help in special teams. And finally unsigned UFA, Starling-WR, a speedster with return skills. (Also, I believe that the Texans have one or two more WR/Returners in NFLE, but I can't remember their names)

To me it looks like the Texans want to find a returner who can help the team in other areas, which Moses can't.
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Old 04-29-2004   #2
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It looks to me like they want to have a "Take it to the house" threat and JJ is that guy. However, he very consistantly gives us good field position on the kickoff which is VERY important. I think the pre-season will show if there is one of the new guys that can be that consistant and still be a homerun threat.
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Old 04-29-2004   #3
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Punt/Kickoff return is one of the most dangerous positions to play. Guys are trying to take their heads off at full speed. You need more than a few return guys. If jj goes down, then we have more than enough to fill until he gets back. The last thing you want is to be out of return guys. People fumbling the ball everytime they try to catch it. oy, that would be bad.
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Old 04-29-2004   #4
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Default is jj going

the most important thing is feild position, if jj is or isnt the man i say have at least one or two to back him. what can go wrong there. You have a practice squad like a baseball bull pen, pick someone out
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Old 04-29-2004   #5
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I thought JJ showed some flashes, but he did not have the top end speed of a Dante Hall. I think the Texans would like the moves of a JJ with the speed of a Bradford. Maybe they are hoping that someone the pack will possess those skills. I think if they find one solid returner and a potential backup, then JJ might not be here for too long.
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Old 04-29-2004   #6
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if nothing else.. if they can find someone who can handle the punt returns better.. JJ is still a great kick returner.

I know that would tie up too spots on the roster.. im not saying it would be along term answer.. but possible a short term if no one really comes forth as the best guy.
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Old 04-29-2004   #7
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I think Sloan Thomas or the undrafted free agent, Kendrick Starling, could compete for the returning duties if they make the team.
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Old 04-29-2004   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texan281
I think Sloan Thomas or the undrafted free agent, Kendrick Starling, could compete for the returning duties if they make the team.
Casserly was talking up the fact that Duff excelled at both kick and punt returns and how rare that was--better throw him in the mix as well.
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Old 04-29-2004   #9
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I hope they keep JJ around I really enjoyed his returns. He may not get a large number of TD's, but his average return is solid and he helped the Texans when the field position battle in a few games.
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Old 04-30-2004   #10
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Casserly was talking up the fact that Duff excelled at both kick and punt returns and how rare that was--better throw him in the mix as well
He is definately in the mix, but if I remember correctly I read that he lacked breakaway speed, which is the knock on JJ. I have tried to find the information that I read, but I have not been sucessful. In other words, I have not convinced myself that it was him that I was reading about...
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Old 04-30-2004   #11
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From www.otcdraft.com:

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Vontez Duff is a very agressive player who plays faster than his times would indicate. He has good strength and quickness, which allows him to be a good punt returner as well as a good cornerback. He's a big time playmaker who is always looking to get the ball in his hands and take it back for 6. He's probably never going to be a great starter in the NFL, but he could be a very good nickel back. He could excel in a Cover-2 situation where he has help over the top to compensate for his lack of pure speed. He's the perfect pick for a team like Tampa Bay or Indianapolis. Expect him to go in the late third or fourth
Pretty good pick if you ask me, considering where we got him. But note the sentence about lack of speed. I think he will have to be even more elusive than JJ to take his job. JJ's job is for the taking, but I'm not sure who will take it. Might be Vontez, might not be.
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Old 04-30-2004   #12
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I may be in the minority here but I think that JJ might very well be done. Now I know he's exciting to watch and had some very good returns last year. I was waiting for him to break one just like everyone else but I also spent a lot of time watching many of his returns come back on penalties and that stuck with me. JJ creates during returns like a madman. He's changing directions all over the place and zipping around guys so quickly that I really think for him to be most effective a return team is going to have to work with him a couple of seasons to get a feel for how he does things.

Right now I think any good kick returner with some speed and a more conventional approach to running back the ball is going to have a good shot at beating him out of this job.

I like JJ so don't get me wrong about this. I just think that the Texans are going to go in a different direction.
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Old 04-30-2004   #13
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I suspect JJ is done also, but thought he did a pretty good job last year and it will be more because of roster spots and his style than his production.

His punt return avg is certainly suspect, but I am curious if that was more him or the coverage support. His kick return average was 11th in the league--one extra yard on average would have put him in 6th to give you an idea of how bunched they were. He had a lot of his above average returns brought back on penalties. His run style, like Dante Hall's, encourages penalties because of all his changes in direction. Hall obviously got away with some non-calls--that return the week after our game comes to mind where there were at least three visable non-calls. Not sure if that is something that can be cured by experience with him and the blockers though.

Consistant field position is far more important than home-run threat IMO. Home-runs are overrated and rare. Only 9 KR's scored at all last year and only 2 KR's had 2 TD's--i.e. 11 TD's total out of over 1100 kicks returned.

All that said, I suspect that if a WR or DB that will perform better than JJ in those roles can perform close to JJ as a returner then he will be gone.
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Old 04-30-2004   #14
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keep in mind with sterling here as well this makes the competition for the KR/PR very interesting...we'll have to see who is better out of moses, duff, and sterling...sterling might have the break away speed that is needed to take it to the house but i dont' know if he has the right instincts...duff is a solid return man...so is moses...just moses didn't have the speed to take it all the way...who knows...should be fun to watch during the training camps
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Old 05-01-2004   #15
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I would love to see JJ back. He may not have the break away speed, but he consistantly gave the Texans good field position when they weren't called back due to penalties. His punt return average wasn't as good, but there again, his best returns were called back due to penalties. Hopefully, Moses stays around, but we all know that the NFL is a business and anything can happen, so we will just have to wait and see.
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Old 05-01-2004   #16
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I may be in the minority here but I think that JJ might very well be done.
I don't believe you are in the minority here at all. We were excited about JJ last year because we needed something to be excited about. When you have a second year expansion team it is hard to expect a lot of wins and be excited. He started to give us some hope. Now our team is really growing up and improving and our hope is in the sheer talent of a much better team. Basically, JJ can be replaced now.
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Old 05-01-2004   #17
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I remember offering similar observations near the end of preseason last year and being criticized for not "recognizing a good football player when I saw one." JJ certainly was a crowd pleaser in training camp last year in special teams drills (at 3/4 speed). Many had prematurely anointed him as the new Billy White Shoes. Big difference in BWS and JJ. JJ's not even an average receiver and BWS could take it to the house. But, I don't care either about a take-it-to-the-house threat as much as the consistent field position that JJ gives. JJ earned a spot on this team for that very reason.

As far as lack of breakaway speed, JJ doesn't even have stay-ahead speed. There were several examples of him getting run down from behind last year, the most notable being the LB running him down in the Jets game (yes, I know the guy had an angle but...) and the Denver preseason game when Jarious Jackson ran him down from behind, and the New Orleans game when Michael Lewis closed on JJ as if he was running in quicksand...(ok it was Michael Lewis...) But to JJ's credit, those were all very good, very exciting returns, all made possible by his quickness and shifty style. He just couldn't finish, which is what everyone wants to see.

All that said, I like JJ and his sure hands and his guts and his ability to get good field position on KRs. He rarely fumbles and even though his punt return average was terrible, he made some difficult catches in traffic last year. It's not a bad thing if JJ makes the team. I think the good far outweighs the bad in terms of special teams play, but it would be nice to have a legit WR in the 5th slot - someone like a Dugans maybe who you're not going to put on the practice squad.

To make a long story short, if Duff or anyone else can give us sure hands (first and foremost), around 23 yards per kickoff return, and anything on punt returns, JJ's days could be numbered. JJ's one dimensional and when the talent level increases on the team to a level where cuts become more and more difficult, it's very important for a player to be able to fill dual roles such as return man and legit backup CB/WR/RB.

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Old 05-01-2004   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
I remember offering similar observations near the end of preseason last year and being criticized for not "recognizing a good football player when I saw one." JJ certainly was a crowd pleaser in training camp last year in special teams drills (at 3/4 speed). Many had prematurely anointed him as the new Billy White Shoes. Big difference in BWS and JJ. JJ's not even an average receiver and BWS could take it to the house. But, I don't care either about a take-it-to-the-house threat as much as the consistent field position that JJ gives. JJ earned a spot on this team for that very reason.

As far as lack of breakaway speed, JJ doesn't even have stay-ahead speed. There were several examples of him getting run down from behind last year, the most notable being the LB running him down in the Jets game (yes, I know the guy had an angle but...) and the Denver preseason game when Jarious Jackson ran him down from behind, and the New Orleans game when Michael Lewis closed on JJ as if he was running in quicksand...(ok it was Michael Lewis...) But to JJ's credit, those were all very good, very exciting returns, all made possible by his quickness and shifty style. He just couldn't finish, which is what everyone wants to see.

All that said, I like JJ and his sure hands and his guts and his ability to get good field position on KRs. He rarely fumbles and even though his punt return average was terrible, he made some difficult catches in traffic last year. It's not a bad thing if JJ makes the team. I think the good far outweighs the bad in terms of special teams play, but it would be nice to have a legit WR in the 5th slot - someone like a Dugans maybe who you're not going to put on the practice squad.

To make a long story short, if Duff or anyone else can give us sure hands (first and foremost), around 23 yards per kickoff return, and anything on punt returns, JJ's days could be numbered. JJ's one dimensional and when the talent level increases on the team to a level where cuts become more and more difficult, it's very important for a player to be able to fill dual roles such as return man and legit backup CB/WR/RB.
Nice post, I completely agree.
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Old 05-01-2004   #19
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Lay off JJ
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Old 05-01-2004   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infantrycak
Casserly was talking up the fact that Duff excelled at both kick and punt returns and how rare that was--better throw him in the mix as well.

Duff sounds like D Sanders..........
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