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Old 12-22-2006   #1
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Default Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

So there seems to be two camps here. The "Forget the scheme, get the talent" camp, and the "Get what you need to make it work" camp.

Im in the second camp, but let me tell you why.

Im of the opinion that scheme is what makes a team great. If talent was all it took to win championships, then there are alot of bad coaches that would be sporting fistfulls of rings.

I hate to use the Broncos for another comparison here, but they are the best example I can think of at the moment. Do you think that the Broncos Olinemen could start on any team? A bunch of undersized late round linemen, and undrafted free agents, that somehow manage to be one of the best run blocking lines in the league. Why is it, do you think, that these guys have so much success in Denver? They probably wouldnt even make the roster on some other teams. Scheme. Thats why. Denver runs a system that works with those linemen.. they arent your prototypical linemen, and its not just the chopblocking that makes them effective .. they work for what Denver wants to do.

Fact of the matter is that in this day and age you cannot have a playmaker at every position. The salary cap doesnt allow for it, even if you could somehow manage to amass the picks and moolah to get a star at every spot.

You need a scheme.. a set of guidelines that you follow that tells you what you need out of a player at every position for your team to be successful. You cant just say "I need a playmaker".. cause you cant always get one.. but if you need an OLB that can slide over and cover a WR when he isnt rushing the QB.. that you can find.. and it may be a 225 lb guy who cant be used to plug a hole when the offense runs the ball, but if you have Dlinemen that can do that.. then everyone is playing a part and making the scheme work.

Really, a player that fits your team's scheme perfectly is just as valuable, and just as rare, as a playmaker. Not only because they get the job done and help you win games, but because you can keep them on the roster for less money.. allowing you to afford some of those playmakers that will "put you over the top" and get you that superbowl ring.

This is why a team can bring over a quality free agent from another team, and then have the guy never play as well as he did for the other guys. He just doesnt fit your scheme. Look at the Denver running backs.. so many of them have left for other teams and been average or less than average on other teams.

So, keep that in mind before you say "forget the scheme, get the guy that makes plays".. because he may not make plays for us unless we change our scheme to fit his strengths.. and if we do that, then we may have to change out players at other positions because they may not fit the new scheme. Not to mention it could move us away from what Kubiak and this coaching staff does best, and we dont want to do that.

Thats why I dont want Brady Quinn and id rather have JaMarcus Russell.. Russell seems a bit more capable of rolling out than Quinn. The rollout is important to our scheme.. we need a guy that can not only sell the rollout, but throw accurately on the run as well. Peyton Manning would not be very successful if we had him run our offense the way Kubiak wants it run.

And thats another thing.. something to keep ya positive about where this team is going. Did Capers have a scheme? It didnt seem like it to me.. his scheme on offense seemed to be "run it up the gut till they let you pass it".. and im not simplifying it..that was about the entirety of his offense. His defense was equally unimaginative.. seeming to be some kind of ackward prevent 3-4 atrocity.

Kubiak seems to have a real scheme in mind.. he knows what he is trying to do and he is trying to bring in the players that allow him to do it. And dont mistake this for "trying to fit square pegs into round holes".. thats not what he is doing. There is room for flexibility within the scheme.. but ya cant just bring in ANYBODY... the better a fit they are, the more success we will have. But, the fact that Kubiak seems to have a real plan..and is working to make that plan work.. that gets me excited about where this team is going.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the whole "scheme thing".. since ive seen a number of posts that are "anti-scheme"
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Old 12-22-2006   #2
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

I'm actually somewhere in the middle on this issue. Schemes work when you have what you need, but a coach has to do what he can with the players he has sometimes. I guess you could say fluid in their decisions, being able to win with what they have because like you said, Salary caps and free agents limit your scheme.

I believe a coach has to have a grand scheme if that's what you call it and try to build a team to fit your scheme, but most coaches don't even last 5 years if they can't win and if they need 6-7 years to complete the scheme, then they better be winning until that scheme is complete.

I would hope that Kubiak has some schemes that are different than Denver's. Take the good, leave out the bad, and improvise and innovate along the way.
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Old 12-22-2006   #3
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

Good post Grid, I agree with most of that. I think Capers did have a scheme, and he did try to select players to fit the ideals of said scheme, a la Jason Babin, Charlie Anderson, Antwan Peek et al. The problem was 1. His scheme kinda sucked. 2. We didn't draft players who performed as well as Casserly and Co. projected (I would not put it outside the realm of possibility that Capers could be a winning coach if we had drafted the likes of Shawne Merriman or Demarcus Ware to play OLB instead of the Jason Babins', as well as getting better talent in other areas). and 3. Capers didn't concentrate as much as he should have on our D. Capers is a good defensive coach, if you put him in charge of a defense, he can make it very competitive. I think Kubiak is taking a more hands on approach with the offense, since that's his specialty, and a more hands off approach with the defense since that is not his specialty. I never heard Capers say that he left the offense to Chris Palmer and just asked him what he could do to help.

I think the coaching and the scheme is what allows teams like the Broncos, Patriots, and Steelers be successful for long periods of time. On the other hand, their boom years when they're competing for titles has just as much to do with talent as it does with the scheme, IMO. When you pair a good scheme, with a couple studs who perform very well in that framework, you get a title run... or multiple title runs.

I'm still very excited about where Kubiak is going to take this team, I have a lot of trust that he's only going to improve this team every year. At this point I think he needs more OLineman to allow him to do the things he wants to do on offense, and a QB who can improvise and take some pressure off of the system until it really gets humming.
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Old 12-22-2006   #4
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

I have one point to make about building a team to meet a pre-determined scheme. The Texans are trying to emulate the Denver running scheme. It is a scheme that isn't used by other teams; its success in using small linemen and no-name running backs may make it much harder to duplicate than one that is more mainstream.

It might be harder to attain success following the route the Texans have chosen.
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Old 12-22-2006   #5
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

ultimately you need a good coach to instill that scheme into the players you get, whether they fit the scheme perfectly...or not.
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Old 12-22-2006   #6
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

When I was researching the details of the Denver offense, the thing that I kept coming across is that the reason why more teams don't do the Denver offense despite it being fairly successful is that it is hard to teach the offensive line blocking and to put that sort of line together.

The Texans currently looks like one that was Denver like in the passing at the beginning of the season but that the running game and line blocking looked nothing like Denver. You know, like the guy running the pass was from Denver and the guy running the line was not from Denver.

Which meant that it looked nothing like Denver. Denver is not a pass first offense, but sometimes the Texans offense looked like it was just an experiment to see if Carr could play and how many receptions they could get to Andre Johnson.

Once the line got more dinged up, and people realized the Texans weren't running, they could just feast on the pass.

I strongly believe that you need to commit to a philosophy and go with it. The question is going to be whether the Texans will be able to assemble an offensive line and running game that is Denver-like without the coaching personnel that is from that system that put those running games together. Or enough players that suit that system.

I am not convinced that getting linemen to drop weight while attending a hot training camp is the best way of getting agile linemen. They are going to have their work cut out for them finding "their" type of linemen when the guy coaching those linemen really hasn't been teaching Denver style stuff.

Even Denver this season has struggle with their run game with the injury to Lepsis. (I am guessing it doesn't help them that Kubiak is gone and their QB play hasn't been as good as in previous years. Is Kubiak/Shanahan like a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup? That the chocolate and peanut butter are better together?).
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Old 12-22-2006   #7
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

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Originally Posted by Texans_Chick View Post
Is Kubiak/Shanahan like a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup? That the chocolate and peanut butter are better together?).
I have been wondering that myself.
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Old 12-22-2006   #8
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

Does Mike Shanahan have GK on his calf ?
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Old 12-22-2006   #9
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

nice post, and i agree with alot of it.
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Old 12-22-2006   #10
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

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Originally Posted by Grid View Post
So, keep that in mind before you say "forget the scheme, get the guy that makes plays".. because he may not make plays for us unless we change our scheme to fit his strengths.. and if we do that, then we may have to change out players at other positions because they may not fit the new scheme. Not to mention it could move us away from what Kubiak and this coaching staff does best, and we dont want to do that.
This is the same mentality that Dom Capers had. He couldn't find a way to fit a Julius Peppers or a Derrick Johnson into his system. But Jason Babin & Travis Johnson were good fits? A good coach, and a good system, incorporates a player's strengths and diminishes his weaknesses. Bill Belichick is such a coach. If a Dwight Freeney can't play in my system, then my system sucks.

On your Quinn/Russell observation, Quinn is easily mobile enough to play in the Texans system. So is Russell. But if I had to place money on who would win a footrace, I'd go with Quinn.
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Old 12-22-2006   #11
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

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On your Quinn/Russell observation, Quinn is easily mobile enough to play in the Texans system. So is Russell. But if I had to place money on who would win a footrace, I'd go with Quinn.
Carr is one of the fastest QB's in the league but that doesn't help curb his sacks. Russell is better in the pocket than Quinn and feels the rush better imo. I agree with your other points in the post above though Lucky...totally.
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Old 12-22-2006   #12
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

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Carr is one of the fastest QB's in the league but that doesn't help curb his sacks.
LOL, or maybe it does ..... scary thought, eh? Can you imagine Drew Bledsoe behind this line?
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Old 12-22-2006   #13
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

I think coaches need some basic scheme so that they can keep the playbook reasonably consistent from year-to-year. That being said, I don't think a coach should be turning elite players away apart from completely inappropriate fits.

I'm OK with you passing on that 330 lb guy for your speed scheme. I get annoyed when you pass on the 300 lb elite guy for the 292 lb project three rounds later.
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Old 12-22-2006   #14
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

vick is usually around the the top of the league in sacks, despite his athletic ability. manning is always dead last. sacks are much more a product of getting rid of the ball and making quick decisions than athletic ability.

but then again, you don't want a QB who gets rid of the ball TOO quickly. for example: joey harrington is the least sacked QB in NFL history (per game). why? because A) he played under jeff tedford, who taught a "2 reads and throw" offense, and he's clearly still stuck in that, and B) he's constantly forcing passes as soon as pressure is on him. so, you need a happy medium, clearly.
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Old 12-22-2006   #15
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

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This is the same mentality that Dom Capers had. He couldn't find a way to fit a Julius Peppers or a Derrick Johnson into his system. But Jason Babin & Travis Johnson were good fits? A good coach, and a good system, incorporates a player's strengths and diminishes his weaknesses. Bill Belichick is such a coach. If a Dwight Freeney can't play in my system, then my system sucks.
Well what if Freeney cant play in your system, but Meco can? A bad system is one where no one looks good.

And blaming scheme for our reluctance to draft those players is unfair imo. That was just bad coaches/front office. Kubiak drafted for scheme this past draft and it seemed to go pretty well.


As for Brady Quinn.. I really dont know a whole lot about him.. but from what ive heard, he is a more "classic" style of QB.. sit in the pocket and make the throw type. And id heard from one person or another that his arm strength was "eh" and he may have trouble throwing on the run.. I dunno how accurate that is though.. so anyone who is reading this, dont take it as fact.
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Old 12-22-2006   #16
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

I actually like the idea of Russell coming in. He is a big guy at 6'-6", so he should be able to see the field better, and not get as many passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage.
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Old 12-22-2006   #17
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

The system works only if you have scouts and personnel people who understand the system and the players they are evaluating for acquisition have the ability to fit, scale or be hidden.

Our problem is that we did not have much every down NFL talent for any scheme. Defensively our talent was better in the front seven this year, but we had a lot of changes going on. On the Offense we have a QB who is pretty much exposed by every defensive look outside of a prevent defense and a scripted drive.

There are players getting better, there are units starting to show incremental improvement and there are players that need to be cut since they do not fit, scale or can be hidden so that we can get this reformation project started in earnest with the right players and at the right price.
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Old 12-22-2006   #18
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

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If a Dwight Freeney can't play in my system, then my system sucks.
I'm pretty sure Freeney and his style would be a net negative for many teams as any every down end. He rushes up field with such speed and disregard for the run that he needs covered for. The Colts' defense got much better when they had linebackers/schemes that could cover that glaring defensive weakness against the run.
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Old 12-22-2006   #19
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

If you gave me the option of having great talent versus a great scheme, give me the talent. a really good player makes the most of the situation and adjusts to the scheme. If you have the opprtunity to get elite talent, the coach needs to adjust his scheme. Passing on Julius Peppers or certain players in the 2006 draft because they don't fit is moronic. There is a problem with the scheme if you can't use that talent. The lesser the talent the more scheme matters. If trying to choose between two DLmen in the 4th round take the one who is the exact fit.

A scheme is a road map of how you would like to proceed. If certain types of players are not available or better players becomes available it may mean taking a route that you did not plan. Understanding how to mix having a plan/scheme and how to adjust that plan is vital to coaching.
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Old 12-22-2006   #20
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Default Re: Systems, Schemes, Drafting, Signing, and You.

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I'm pretty sure Freeney and his style would be a net negative for many teams as any every down end. He rushes up field with such speed and disregard for the run that he needs covered for. The Colts' defense got much better when they had linebackers/schemes that could cover that glaring defensive weakness against the run.
Not to disagree with your overall point, but since when can Indy defend the run?
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