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Old 07-23-2006   #1
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Default Fox sports Texans Training Camp to-do list

Fix the offensive line


David Carr has been sacked more than any other quarterback three of the past four years. The Texans realize that must change in '06 if the offense is to have any success. They have revamped the protection schemes, tried to fit players into roles that will make them more successful and brought in a proven offensive-minded coach -- former Packers coach Mike Sherman -- to focus mainly on making all of the changes work.

The Texans didn't hit the free agent market big in the offseason looking for guards and tackles. Instead, they added veteran center Mike Flanagan and two rookie tackles via the draft in Charles Spencer and Eric Winston.

That means much of training camp will be focused on trying to get the returning players familiar and comfortable in the new system. The key will be to help the linemen adjust to the faster, quicker zone-blocking scheme that was so successfully used in Denver when coach Gary Kubiak was the offensive coordinator there. The players are slimming down in hopes of being more effective. They must be able to make their initial block and then get to the second level.



Improve the pass rush


The Texans have notoriously welcomed opposing quarterbacks onto the field in the past. They have been one of the worst pass-rushing teams in the league. Much of that should change in a completely overhauled defense that put its top priority on building from the front back.

Defensive coordinator Richard Smith is throwing out what the Texans are used to in their old wait-and-react 3-4 defense. Smith has switched them to a 4-3 and made it clear they will be aggressive throughout an entire game. More big plays will be given up, but the Texans will also benefit by making big plays.

It will all start with a defensive line that looks formidable on paper. No. 1 draft pick Mario Williams will line up at left end and Anthony Weaver at left tackle. The other two positions will create some of the most heated competition in camp. Veteran starters Seth Payne and Robaire Smith will compete for the right tackle spot, while Antwan Peek and Jason Babin vie for the starting job at right end.

The competition will only strengthen a line which should be the Texans' greatest strength on defense. It will be critical to have these players mesh during camp, and also have them understand the system completely.



Establish leaders


One of Gary Kubiak's primary focuses during the early weeks of training camp is to find out which players will emerge into leaders. The Texans have a number of new veterans brought in and also some remaining from the old regime. With everyone having gone through the offseason workouts together, Kubiak is waiting for a few players to really take on the leadership role in the locker room and on the field.

Quarterback David Carr is one player the Texans would like to see take on a more active and vocal leadership role. He has spent the past four seasons being more of a quiet presence in the locker room and a leader by example on the field.




Camp Calendar
Camp opens July 27. There are no scrimmages


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Old 07-23-2006   #2
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Trust what you see and hear at the Texans training camp, not what some east coast sports guru says. The offensive line needed Flannigan because I was at the home games last year, and I could see McKinney get overwhelmed a heck of a lot more than the left tackle did. That plus the right side of the line gave up more sacks than the left side did. Of course neither side had a coach worthy of the name. Has Pendry found another job this year? I thought not. Flannigan is a pro so it won't take as long as some think for the Oline to gel, IMO.
The pass rush will do well with Super Mario and Anthoney Waver at DE.
The leadership has been put in good hands with coach Kubiak.
Any more questions?
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Old 07-23-2006   #3
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from above talking about the defense and the 3-4 wait and react defense. That blows my mind on hearing that. Mainly because this was a Capers team and just completely out of character for a Capers team. Yes, fangio ran the defense but why didn't Capers do something about that..Was it that the offense was so bad and the defense was on the field so long that they went that route as a defensive philosophy?
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Old 07-23-2006   #4
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You got a link to this artcle? I couldnt find it on Fox Sports.

Disregard, found it:

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/5788370
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Old 07-23-2006   #5
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Pre Training Camp to-do list: Get Chris Brown! Get somebody that can be an effective back because DD's not looking good!
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Old 07-23-2006   #6
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I keep reading all this mushy gushiness over Flanagan like he's some kind of savior.

Yeah, I know about the locker room leadership part and I'm cool with that and we need it, but the couple times I was able to go out to OTAs and minicamp this summer, I saw I guy with limited mobility and legs/knees that look like some insects and robots I used to build with plastic Hasbro parts.

If anyone can enlighten me on how Flanagan is going to help take us to the next level with his stellar play and agility that's required in this system, not to menton the ability to handle guys like John Henderson twice a year, I would certainly appreciate it.

Keep in mind that I was close personal witness to Robaire Smith absolutely destroying Flanagan after an alleged cheap shot on the first day of OTAs, pinning him to the ground once and giving him all kinds of yo momma stuff and f-bombs facemask to facemask... (Robaire was on top).

I'd rather not hear any "it's the system" or "he's Sherman's boy" justifications here - just some real proof that Flanagan still has it from people that saw him play more than a couple times on tv last year.
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Old 07-23-2006   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
I keep reading all this mushy gushiness over Flanagan like he's some kind of savior.

Yeah, I know about the locker room leadership part and I'm cool with that and we need it, but the couple times I was able to go out to OTAs and minicamp this summer, I saw I guy with limited mobility and legs/knees that look like some insects and robots I used to build with plastic Hasbro parts.

If anyone can enlighten me on how Flanagan is going to help take us to the next level with his stellar play and agility that's required in this system, not to menton the ability to handle guys like John Henderson twice a year, I would certainly appreciate it.

Keep in mind that I was close personal witness to Robaire Smith absolutely destroying Flanagan after an alleged cheap shot on the first day of OTAs, pinning him to the ground once and giving him all kinds of yo momma stuff and f-bombs facemask to facemask... (Robaire was on top).

I'd rather not hear any "it's the system" or "he's Sherman's boy" justifications here - just some real proof that Flanagan still has it from people that saw him play more than a couple times on tv last year.
I didn't really notice Flanagan during the practices I saw (which is usually a good thing for an OLineman), although I wasn't focused on the interior OLine as much as I was on the DLine and OTs.
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Old 07-23-2006   #8
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aj, do you know if Weary got any snaps at Center during the ota's?
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Old 07-23-2006   #9
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aj, do you know if Weary got any snaps at Center during the ota's?
Not to answer for AJ, but I didn't notice him at C at all.
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Old 07-23-2006   #10
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I wasn't looking for Flanagan. He found me. It was kind of hard to miss the dude with two knee braces and awkward gait breaking the huddle and shuffling up to the line.

I didn't notice Weary at C but that doesn't mean he didn't get some reps there.
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Old 07-23-2006   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
I keep reading all this mushy gushiness over Flanagan like he's some kind of savior.

Yeah, I know about the locker room leadership part and I'm cool with that and we need it, but the couple times I was able to go out to OTAs and minicamp this summer, I saw I guy with limited mobility and legs/knees that look like some insects and robots I used to build with plastic Hasbro parts.

If anyone can enlighten me on how Flanagan is going to help take us to the next level with his stellar play and agility that's required in this system, not to menton the ability to handle guys like John Henderson twice a year, I would certainly appreciate it.

Keep in mind that I was close personal witness to Robaire Smith absolutely destroying Flanagan after an alleged cheap shot on the first day of OTAs, pinning him to the ground once and giving him all kinds of yo momma stuff and f-bombs facemask to facemask... (Robaire was on top).

I'd rather not hear any "it's the system" or "he's Sherman's boy" justifications here - just some real proof that Flanagan still has it from people that saw him play more than a couple times on tv last year.

geez...tell us how you really feel. Seems a little hostile, no? Appreciate the insight and all but if you want to correct fellow fans on being excited about an actual productive O-line there are nicer ways to go about it. You are obviously well-informed and have access to see the team first hand more than a lot of us, and I am grateful you are sharing information with us. Maybe I am over-sensitive today but a different view of things from others who don't have the access you do, doesn't make them blatantly wrong.

I guess Sherman sees something in him or he wouldn't have been signed. I guess we will find out more in training camp, and if he can still hold his own. If not him, then who? Hodgen (sp)? I think he has the potential to be pretty decent. I didn't like Mckinney at C last year, I do know that. I am curious to know what Flanny did to get Robaire so upset....and I would like to see Robaire bring that nastyness on Sundays.
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Old 07-23-2006   #12
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With all due respect, Flanagan's legs look like tinker toys.

Is that better?

Quote:
I guess Sherman sees something in him or he wouldn't have been signed.
Yeah, I guess.

Quote:
... an actual productive O-line ...
What exactly has our 2006 o-line produced? (besides hope and guarded optimism that is ....). I'm not trying to crush anyone's optimism - just trying to justify and understand it.

Last edited by aj.; 07-24-2006 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 07-24-2006   #13
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I severly doubt that Flannagan will be anything but a slightly above average center. However, that will be a good up grade from one that was well below average and he does bring the experience to make the line calls properly. Savior of the O-line...Doubt that, but should help in the middle and all help willl be gratefully accepted.
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Old 07-24-2006   #14
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Don't get me wrong it would nice if Flanigan played at a probowl level, but even if he does not, the line is going to be light years ahead of the five man shuffle that was supose to a line last year. Having a legit #2 receiver and a true offensive scheme as well a deep threat playing TE, does major major help for the O-line.
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Old 07-24-2006   #15
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So what happens if the line is still bad? Then what folks?
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Old 07-24-2006   #16
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That is always a possibility, the line still could stink it up. No matter what changes have been made or could have been made, nothing can be promised. That is what makes sports special, you take a bunch of game films, reshape a roster and coaching staff, fire up the team and let the chips fall where they may. Every single move is a gamble. However it feels good to finally be able to say, honestly, I am proud of this offseason. I would say that anyway because they are my team, but knowing offseasons producing Victor Really as the starting LT, and RSmith and Greenwood being the big free agent pickups, are way way in the past, feel very very nice!!!!
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Old 07-24-2006   #17
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So what happens if the line is still bad? Then what folks?
Much suckage will ensue.
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Old 07-24-2006   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swtbound07
So what happens if the line is still bad? Then what folks?
Give it time to gel...


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Old 07-24-2006   #19
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So what happens if the line is still bad? Then what folks?
We rehire Pendry
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Old 07-24-2006   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swtbound07
So what happens if the line is still bad? Then what folks?
Removing Pendry was addition by subtraction. Bringing in Sherman and installing the new system will help take the pressure off the OL and make them look "less bad". It wasn't all personnel.

Bringing in Winston and Spencer is promising for the future and guys like Salaam add veteran insurance. If Wiegert can stay healthy for at least 14 games, that will help maintain stability. Wand is a wild card once again.

I'm not as bullish on the interior guys as some. Chester is probably our best lineman but he's been arguably better on the outside where he can use his agility to his advantage - as opposed to being a brute force guy inside. It's obvious from his off season comments that he prefers T but hopefully the new system will allow his talents to shine through at G. Flanagan is more of a player-coach whose better days are gone. McKinney is average at best in any system it seems. That said, there's no way this line is still as bad, because of the infusion of new system and coaching, and improved depth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cj5776
... the line is going to be light years ahead of the five man shuffle that was supose to a line last year. Having a legit #2 receiver and a true offensive scheme as well a deep threat playing TE, does major major help for the O-line.
Correct-a-mundo. You will see a ton of short passes to the TE's and FB as well. Hopefully all of this will allow us to not shine a spotlight on any individual offensive lineman, especially the interior guys who are supposed to remain anonymous. You know you're line has arrived when you get to the point where you can plug 'anyone' in at G and not lose a step. That's where we need to be.

Last edited by aj.; 07-24-2006 at 07:55 AM.
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