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Old 08-28-2004   #1
JustBonee
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Default Kendrick Starling

What does everyone think of this guy?

He was all over the field last night, and also the previous game .. he really comes to play.
While they are deciding if he should make the team or not, I say he should be a starter.
He has a real knack for following the action of each and every play and being in the thick of it.
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Old 08-28-2004   #2
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I've said in other threads that I think he's ahead of Sloan Thomas. He did nothing but help himself last night. I think he was the first one downfield on every punt. He's doing a great job as a gunner and an adequate job as a ko returner, plus he's shown great speed from the WR position on reverses and deep patterns. Sloan can do almost everthing Starling can do (except for ko returns apparently) but it seems that Starling is doing it a little better. He's one of those guys who seems to have a knack for being around the ball and making plays.

Forgot to mention his 23.2 yard average on 5 ko returns last night (Moses had a 23.4 average last year). If Starling keeps that up and continues to hold on to the ball, he's making a strong case for himself.

Last edited by aj.; 08-28-2004 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 08-28-2004   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SassyTexan
...While they are deciding if he should make the team or not, I say he should be a starter...
Really? Who would you have Kendrick start over? I just don't think Starling has enough experience in terms of routes and coverage to be an everydown player yet. But, he's making his case as an all-around player. He could be the backup at kick returner & gunner while being the 5th WR.
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Old 08-28-2004   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
Forgot to mention his 23.2 yard average on 5 ko returns last night (Moses had a 23.4 average last year). If Starling keeps that up and continues to hold on to the ball, he's making a strong case for himself.
He's making a case for the backup kick returner, but he's not the guy to field kicks all year long. Starling is tentative running into the wedge. And his upright running style is great for speed but he's going to take some huge hits.

As a gunner, Starling has all the speed you need. But he canít finish the play because he hasnít learned to tackle yet. Kendrick has the tools to develop, but heís not ready to help a team win. Just about every team has a guy like him, such as the Broncos rookie WR Luke. Iím sure that they will have a similar tough decision to make regarding his roster status.
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Old 08-28-2004   #5
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Wasn't there a character issue with Starling? I recall some talk around the time that we signed him saying there were character concerns and that was why he wasn't drafted. Does anyone else recall this?

I think clearly the Texans want him to make the team and accordingly they must have resolve the character issue (if any) in their minds.

Gaffney also had some issues from early years in Florida and the Texans must have decided he had grown out of it.
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Old 08-28-2004   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistril48
Wasn't there a character issue with Starling?
You know, I've never heard anything about a character issue with Kendrick. He bounced around college because of grades/test scores, that's why he's a little older (24) than most rookies. The Texans bio on Starling has him as active in Boys & Girls clubs.

Here's the HPF Bio on Kendrick:
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WR Kendrick Starling, San Jose State. Starling was an all-everything prospect at Marshall (Texas) High School, but academic shortcomings forced him to Navarro Junior College. He became a junior college All-American and rewrote the conference record book in his two seasons at Navarro, averaging over 20 yards per catch. Starling then signed with and enrolled at Marshall University, which makes one wonder if he realized that the school is in West Virginia, and not his northeast Texas hometown. Again he failed to qualify under NCAA rules, so he moved on to a California junior college (where he did not play football) and then transferred to San Jose State. He flashed his great talent at the I-A level, but, in part due to injury, did not put up big numbers. Starling also returned kickoffs at San Jose State. He is a vertical receiver who fits the Texans' offense.
Here's a little part of an interview with Starling from Longview News-Journal:
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ďThe thing about the Texans is itís a good program with great coaches, surrounded by a group of really good guys. I had heard things that because I wasnít drafted they wouldnít accept me and I wouldnít be able to get close to anyone, but that wasnít the case at all.

ďIíve gotten a lot of good positive things from positive people. What I ím looking forward to playing is a little bit as a receiver, but mostly as a special teams player. Because Iím not as familiar with the offense, they want me as a specialist, from punt returns to blocking punts. Theyíre trying to keep me on the field, because the thing I excel in is my speed. My ability to get down the field ... whatever I can do to help.Ē
From everything I've seen or heard, Starling seems to be a good guy. His problem has been not being in one place long enough to develop. Really, Kendrick is a poster boy for why the NFL came up with the developmental squad. But his attitude regarding what he has to do to help the team may be the difference from the practice squad to the 53 man roster.
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Old 08-28-2004   #7
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He's making a case for the backup kick returner, but he's not the guy to field kicks all year long
Backup to JJ I assume?

JJ may very well still be the man because he is a very good kick returner, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. Starling is getting a long audition for a reason. I think it may be because he's being considered as the team's primary kick returner.

Last edited by aj.; 08-28-2004 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 08-28-2004   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky
He's making a case for the backup kick returner, but he's not the guy to field kicks all year long. Starling is tentative running into the wedge. And his upright running style is great for speed but he's going to take some huge hits.

Not too bad for his first real shot at returning kicks. He will get better as he gets more practice. With the same return average as JJ, we can stand to let him develop now. I know this is the preseason, and it may be tougher for him when the season begins, but I believe he will get better as he gets more opportunities.

He never had a chance to make a tackle from what I saw, except for the last punt where he flew by the receiver. Everytime they fielded the punt, Starling was in their face forcing a fair catch. He beat his man off the line and down the field on every punt I saw. CC seemed very impressed w/him when they interviewed him in the booth. He mentioned thtat he didn't cover kicks in college and he would get better. You can't teach speed and hustle, but you can teach tackling and how to get in better position.
How many times has JJ helped on special teams? He has more to offer than JJ at this point, and he will only get better as he is allowed to develop.
JJ's only value is as a return man, and he has to be head and shoulders above everyone else this year to keep that spot.

Last edited by dredge; 08-28-2004 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 08-28-2004   #9
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I'm rooting for Starling. He's shown a ton of heart this preseason, and I love the kick-coverage speed he brings. Whether he takes Moses' job remains to be seen, but I imagine that he will probably get on the roster. No way he's starting material on this team, though...we have a lot of talent at WR, as evidenced in the first half in Denver!
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Old 08-28-2004   #10
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The Texans are definately looking for a reason to cut JJ beacause he can't contribute elsewhere. But, Starling didn't look near as good returning kicks as JJ. He runs too straight, can't make anyone miss. JJ's still the man.

That being said, I bet the Texans find a place on the team for both of them.
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Old 08-28-2004   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
Forgot to mention his 23.2 yard average on 5 ko returns last night (Moses had a 23.4 average last year). If Starling keeps that up and continues to hold on to the ball, he's making a strong case for himself.
Just to be fair:
Moses had a 23.4 average last year against guys who had made the final cut.
Starling's competition hasn't been at that level.

In this preseason:
Moses has a 37.0 average on two returns, with a long of 55.
Starling has a 22.2 average on six returns. with a long of 29.
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Old 08-28-2004   #12
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Moses has a 37.0 average on two returns, with a long of 55
So in other words, Moses has two returns, one for 55 and one for 19.
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Old 08-28-2004   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BornOrange
Just to be fair:
Moses had a 23.4 average last year against guys who had made the final cut.
Starling's competition hasn't been at that level.

In this preseason:
Moses has a 37.0 average on two returns, with a long of 55.
Starling has a 22.2 average on six returns. with a long of 29.
Good point, but I would imagine that even the worst return man averaged close to 20 yards a return in the regular season. With speed and good hands, you should be able to get the ball to the 20 on most kicks. The guys w/higher averages probably broke some for long runs to boost it.

Someone help me out here, because this is just a guess; Do you think JJ's running style (east west and a lot of cutbacks) contributes to the high number of blocking in the back penalties we seem to incur? I did not notice any tonight when Starling and Gaff were taking it up the gut. No evidence of this, just more of a feeling.
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Old 08-28-2004   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
So in other words, Moses has two returns, one for 55 and one for 19.
Sounds right, what's the point?. I'll take the 55 and 19 over Starling's 23.2 against Denver every time.
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Old 08-28-2004   #15
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I don't think Starling has to better than Moses on his kickoffs returns especially if the staff believe Straling can contribute in other parts of special teams and if forced into action as a WR would be the better player.

The same or close enough maybe enough. The attitude of the Texans has been we know JJ Moses can (presuming can't) do. If Moses had more of an extra gear then his shiftiness would make him special.
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Old 08-28-2004   #16
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Wink

J.J. is a "good" returner, but with his one-dimensionality, can we afford to keep him for that reason alone?

Starling may have not faced "final cut" guys yet, but he's still learning the position and who's to say that he doesn't have the potential to be at least an OK return man?

I'd rather keep an OK return man who can also be a top-flight gunner, and an extra wideout if we need him.
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Old 08-28-2004   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disaacks3
J.J. is a "good" returner, but with his one-dimensionality, can we afford to keep him for that reason alone?

Starling may have not faced "final cut" guys yet, but he's still learning the position and who's to say that he doesn't have the potential to be at least an OK return man?

I'd rather keep an OK return man who can also be a top-flight gunner, and an extra wideout if we need him.
Great points. Not to mention that he can likely be developed to fill the 4th receiver slot next year when Bradford is gone. The way CC was talking about him last night, he seems likely to make the team. This likely means good bye to JJ. If they only keep 5 receivers, Sloan Thomas will likely be the one put on the practice squad. I still don't think Starling would clear waivers. Thomas hasn't had many opportunities so far, and he should be under the radar. Maybe they had it planned that way, who knows.
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Old 08-28-2004   #18
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As far as Sloan goes, I really think he is going to be a good receiver in this league. But with the performances I've seen from Armstrong and Starling in the preseason, Id be seriously amazed if he made the final 5. Hopefully he'll stay under the radar and make the team next year.

As i said in a previous post, I dont see us keeping JJ since he is so one-dimensional. I like JJ, I just dont think he's what the team needs and they could mange just fine without him.
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Old 08-28-2004   #19
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I have been very impressed with Starling. However, no way should he start. Who would you pull? AJ, Bradford, or Gaffney? No way he moves above those guys. And frankly, as impressive as Starling has been, imo Armstrong has been twice as impressive! My gut instinct tells me he will make the 53 man roster, and will return kickoffs, be a gunner, and be the 5th WR. Not bad at all for an undrafted player. That versatility gives him a serious advantage over Moses, the nice guy with the too small body. Moses may be a little better at returns, but he can only return. I honestly think Moses is not going to make the final 53. Too bad, as he is a great character guy, but he is a one trick pony. I do feel the sky is the limit for Starling. He has the size/speed/intanigbles to be an excellent WR someday soon. But, someday is not today. I like Sloan as well, and feel he has a slight chance at making the roster, and a very good chance of making the practice squad. No other WR in camp has a shot at the 53 man roster imo.
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Old 08-28-2004   #20
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Originally Posted by Porky
I have been very impressed with Starling. However, no way should he start. Who would you pull? AJ, Bradford, or Gaffney? No way he moves above those guys. And frankly, as impressive as Starling has been, imo Armstrong has been twice as impressive! My gut instinct tells me he will make the 53 man roster, and will return kickoffs, be a gunner, and be the 5th WR.
I do feel the sky is the limit for Starling. He has the size/speed/intanigbles to be an excellent WR someday soon. But, someday is not today. I like Sloan as well, and feel he has a slight chance at making the roster, and a very good chance of making the practice squad. No other WR in camp has a shot at the 53 man roster imo.
Well said Porky. I agree w/each point you made. I am anxious to see what Armstrong will do this year. Starling will get his chance as a receiver next year, or maybe in a blowout game this year. He just seems to go all out every play and ends up right in the thick of things. Even when he flew by the punt returner late in the game, he was back up trailing the play and almost made the tackle. That's hustle!
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