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Old 03-23-2007   #1
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Default Intangibles

There has been a lot of talk this off-season about free agents, draft picks, and current players. There has been discussion about schemes, coaching and various other things. With the new beginning the Texans are making, Iím going to try to address intangibles. This topic has little solid fact to use as groundwork, but there are many things to look at that can lead individuals to different conclusions. It might be fun to discuss given the optimistic feeling on the board.

Letís start with an easy one - coaching influence. I think it is fair to say that by 2005 the players did not believe in the Capers staff any longer. The militaristic structure did not mix well with the inflexibility shown when faced with constant losing. The players seemed to decide the coaches plan, if it existed, would never work. This manifested itself in poor play, the appearance the players were just marking time, and the teamís crumpling in the face of adversity game after game.

When Kubiak got here, his aura of success, his demeanor, and his stated plans got the attention of the players and I think they believed Kubiak would turn the team into winners. When the season started slowly some of the players may have easily slipped back into the previous year's attitude. The losses and some questionable moves by the coaching staff combined to allow the "loser" mentality to surface. The team again started to crumple in face of challenges. However, toward the end of the year the team seemed to have an attitude shift, and that shift was strengthened by the feedback loop created when they won a few games. The players are probably still believers that Kubiak can spark a winning tradition, but he has to continue to show improving results.

The coaching discussion above touched on some other intangibles. For instance, the loser versus winner mentality. As stated, the late season wins seemed to have a positive effect on the players. However the losing mentality is very tough to shake and for the next couple of years the Texans must guard against it. Simply put, continued winning is the only thing that will create the atmosphere of winning within this team. All the rah rah speeches and great player acquisitions do little to instill real confidence.

Player acquisition is another matter. I donít think it does much for team chemistry when the Texans replace existing players with "new" ones that arenít better, or maybe even as good, as those that are replaced. This is doubled on this team when the appearance of Denver or Green Bay "family tree" nepotism is already discussed. The players arenít unlike other people. Many of them make bonds with their "co-workers" and see it as an injustice if they are benched or cut for reasons other than being replaced by better a player on the field. A current example of this is Vonta Leach. He was a bright spot last year; do the Texans keep him, or dump him for a similar player from some other team? Maybe the guaranteed money theyíd have to shell out for him would have other benefits than just having him on the field. It would also help build the intangible team spirit that successful teams must have. Itís nice to see success and contribution rewarded.

Make no mistake Ė the players have differing opinions on many matters. As members of this board we seem to search for the "truth" of what is really going on within the team. We all argue our opinions and wonder what the players think. Well, the players have as many opinions as we do and discuss the various views just as we do. They donít have one group think grasp on facts that we on the board just wish we knew. Personnel decisions get a lot of discussion by the players themselves.

Facing adversity is another area in which the Texans need to improve, and again they did that a little better at the end of last year. In 2004 the Texans could rise to some challenges, such as in the Vikings game. By 2005 they seemed more like quitters than competitors if that is not too harsh a description. Last year they seemed to combine the two. There were some games where a fumble, missed first down, or other squandered opportunity seemed to suck all the wind out of their sails. In other instances they stepped up to challenges and played well. There were a couple of games such as the second Indy game where they couldnít pass but they ran the ball down Indyís throat. They stepped up and took control of the situation.

I think the Texans will have ample opportunity to face specific challenges next season. We picked up a good running back in Green, but he has a tendency to fumble. How will the team handle that the first time it happens to kill a drive? The second? The third? The new and young players will all make their share of mistakes; they need to make up for them afterward and not enter a funk.

Any thoughts?
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Old 03-23-2007   #2
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Default Re: Intangibles

Will have to digest in a bit as some QB and RB were released today and people seem to be talking about it. What is up with the font?
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Old 03-23-2007   #3
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Default Re: Intangibles

My first thought is that it is good that you started this thread. Nice to read something different.

Here's some more thoughts:

1. The Kubiak effect. I think that because he is a very likable confident guy without being a jackazz about it, players want to play for him. He is someone who is able to convince players to come to a situation that has never had any success, and a team that has the potential to be a career killer.

2. The Green Bay-Denver player thing. This is a difficult issue to finesse. On one hand, it is common because of relationships of players with their former coaches that those players would want to play for their old coaches. Also, often there is fit as far as system and scheme goes.

That being said, it is important that the team as a whole doesn't believe those players have an advantage or are pets.

Coaches are humans, and this is a hard thing to finesse as far as favorites are concerned. If you have a prior relationship with someone, it is hard to chuck that for a guy you don't have a built trust level with.

3. Playing Time by Performance and Not Contract. Generally, I think the level of competition in camp and at different positions has increased during the Kubiak era over the Capers era. This could be debated at the QB position, but some would argue that QBs are a little different. That you have to pick a leader and go with them, especially when they are learning a new system. And that you don't want to have revolving QBs because that rarely works.

Given what the Texans have said, and what they paid for Schaub, I can't imagine a true competition between Schaub and Rosenfels, and I can't imagine Rosenfels is too happy with the events of the last couple of days. Rosenfels has a good relationship with Kubiak, so maybe the QBs will really push each other in camp.

4. Expectations of Winning. I want the team to truly expect to win every week. I don't think they are there yet because of the "There we go again" aspects of the team, especially with Carr's inconsistency, well and the errors of others, like Cook. I like how they responded in the Buffalo game after the horrible defensive play.

5. Swagger Infusion. The Texans desparately need as swagger infusion. They don't have to be jerks, but sometimes I think they are too niiiiiice. I think that is where some of the veteran signings come in. I'm not sure how much is left in the tank for some of the free agent signings, but if they have anything at all, that plus their leadership can make a difference.

Capers overlearned his lesson from Carolina, with Casserly focusing on under 30 guys in the expansion draft. But sometimes you do have to make sure you have enough experienced guys from winning programs to show guys how things work--rookies leading rookies doesn't work. You need guys that aren't like dogs who have been kicked since they were puppies.

6. Fan and team excitement--A fresh start. This year is going to be a little different. Whether you thought Carr was good or not so much, just about everyone suffered from David Carr Fatigue. Just sick of the tireless debate over whether Carr the albatross pulling the team down.

Though he had his supporters on the team, clearly there were members of the team that gave up on him. Well now it is time for them to put up or shut up.



There's probably a lot of other stuff, but here's some things for discussion.
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Old 03-23-2007   #4
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Default Re: Intangibles

I agree with your assessment. If I were to take a slightly different view it would be on the new 'old' players. I think sometimes that it can be good for a couple of years if for no other reason than to try and 'establish' some type of mindset. This is also the same reason why I felt the need to get rid of guys who were here
and have become accustomed to that mentality.

If nothing more, at least now we have HOPE! I think David is a great person but when he was on the field, I had no hope as a fan. Right now, we have a QB that is a film junkie, lauded as a leader, has all the intangibles, can make every throw AND.........


...and has played in this system his ENTIRE career. Not too many people make much of that but for me, I find it to be as important as anything that he brings to the table physically.

So, basically, I think some guys can serve 'some purpose' even if they are on the downside of their career. That purpose may be little more than helping to establish 'the way things are done on the Texans!'

Anyway, that's MHO.
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Old 03-23-2007   #5
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Default Re: Intangibles

Good stuff from Runner like always.

Seems to me that the Denver/GB connection is pretty easy to explain. I think that a lot more gets made of it than is really there.

Not to say there isn't anything there. When Bill Parcells gets a new job, everyone on the team knows that there's a really good chance that they'll get cut/traded so he can bring in one of his "Parcells guys." I'll be surprised if the ESPN crew isn't looking over their shoulder thinking that Vinny Testaverde or Curtis Martin might be coming after their gigs.

I think that the case is similar with Kubiak and Sherman, but not to the same extent as Parcells. For the most part, it seems like they brought in their own guys when an injury came about or to provide depth. When they get into a bind, then they look to bring in a known commodity.

Not too different than any other business.

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Old 03-23-2007   #6
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Default Re: Intangibles

Competition is a good thing. Pete Carroll uses it to motivate his players.

The team will get a swagger with a few wins under their belts. It's hard to swagger when you're getting your butt kicked weekly.
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Old 03-23-2007   #7
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Default Re: Intangibles

Nice post, Runner, and a breath of fresh air to talk about something positive.

I think so much of a team starts at the top. Well, the very top - owner - is important, but really I'm talking about the head coach.

Teams resemble the attitude and demeanor of the head coach and his staff. Kubiak is cool headed, smart, and knows what it's like to be in pads in the NFL. He's a player's coach and knows the mentality. Plus, with his youth, he knows today's NFL players and how to communicate with them. One impressive fact we kept hearing last season from players was that they liked how up front and honest he is, because they know where they stand and what he expects from them.

Then there is the winning mentality, which is something else that Kubiak knows as both an NFL player, as well as an NFL coach. Dude has six rings in his war chest. That has got to impress anyone, regardless of his position on the teams that won those championships. He knows how to be a winner, build a winner, and how to motivate players and coaches into becoming winners. This is a huge intangible, IMO.

Another thing that you touched upon was the never say die attitude. We won the last two games of the season for the first time in our short history. Earlier Texans teams had packed up and mentally mailed it in by that point in the season. But Kubiak kept the team motivated and focussed, netting our first win against the Colts (the last time they lost before becoming champs, I might add), as well as ending on a two game win streak. Of course, we're Texans fans, so we get excited about two game win streaks, but the last time we experienced it was two years before that. Kubiak simply did not let the team quit, and that speaks volumes about his leadership capabilities.

All in all, though, I am as positive and optimistic (principles that are against my better nature) about our future. I don't say this as a koolaide drinker, but as a football fan that truly believes that this staff knows what it's doing and will get our team to become a consistently successful franchise
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Old 03-23-2007   #8
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Default Re: Intangibles

Appreciate the font DB
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Old 03-23-2007   #9
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Default Re: Intangibles

I like the Green Bay/Denver connection mainly because the players we've acquired from those systems know what it's like to be successful. A little of that rubbing off on the "native" Texans wouldn't hurt at all.
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Old 03-23-2007   #10
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Default Re: Intangibles

That's all very true and I don't question the positive effects of having players from winning teams in the mix but I can't help but notice that "native Texans" are in short supply these days. Wolfs "Horror Story" thread has me thinking that it won't be long before we'll be hoping that the winning attitude of the other 52 players rubs off on AJ

Also I'm digging the font usage in this thread.
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Old 03-23-2007   #11
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Default Re: Intangibles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hervoyel View Post
That's all very true and I don't question the positive effects of having players from winning teams in the mix but I can't help but notice that "native Texans" are in short supply these days. Wolfs "Horror Story" thread has me thinking that it won't be long before we'll be hoping that the winning attitude of the other 52 players rubs off on AJ

Also I'm digging the font usage in this thread.
Native Texans are going to be added as we draft more and more of them. Right now, we have a couple at RB, WR, O-Line, DE, DT, CB....more will join them. We just had to dump some of the natives that weren't pulling their weight.
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Old 03-23-2007   #12
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Default Re: Intangibles

Great topic. While it isn't exactly clear on the face of things, I think a lot of the moves made in this off-season have taken this intangible factor.

(1) Carr/ Williams (Davis): Enough has been said about these guys abilities on the field, but I think the move to waive these two players today goes above and beyond what they did on the field. The front office bet on Carr and Williams last year this time and were horribly wrong on both fronts. Even if these guys played (Davis) or played average (Carr), the media, the fans and anyone else paying attention would always associate these two with this decision. Lets face it, the decisions made last year were a black cloud over this franchise. The moves today, although hard to swallow, allows this team and this franchise to move forward. It was the "intangibles" that probably played a part with not keeping Carr around another couple of weeks to pick up another pick. This will be big news over the weekend and then after that we can look to the future.

(2) New QB/ New Hope: In addition to the general issues described above, I think this team just lost hope in Carr. Time will tell if Schaub is any better, but, at the very least, this move sends a message to the players that the coach and GM want to win now. If we get to a quick start next year and Schaub shows some leadership abilities on and off the field, this could have a huge impact on the "swagger" of this team.

(3) Adding vs. Replacing Players: I think the staff has done a nice players to adding players to the mix, without completely replacing players on the roster. We bring back Dayne and add Greene. We bring back Salaam and bring in Black. We add some experienced depth to DL and LB, but haven't really cut anyone who had significant playing time. Especially when you are tyring to implement a new system, this allows us to maintain some continuity, while adding talent and depth.

It will be interesting to see how this team gels this off-season and early next year. I like the moves we are making from this perspective.
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Old 03-23-2007   #13
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Default Re: Intangibles

Okay, first a few warnings. I am not intending to change the direction of the post or turn this into a trashfest, but I think this is an elephant in the room that needs to be discussed as it relates to intangibles. I am trying to be fair, and not gratuitous in my comments, and I don't want this thread to turn into a one-note trashfest.

Quarterback as leader.

Matt Schaub has a reputation of being a well-liked, smart, sensible lockeroom guy/leader. Easier job as a backup, and it will be interesting to see if that holds now that he is expected to be The Man and gets paid more like one. (It is worth noting that one of Carr's intangibles noted coming out of college was his maturity, smarts and leadership skills).

It is good that Schaub has asked for his teammates phone numbers, and recognizes his role as being central to the entire team and not just the offense. This is easier to talk about than do, especially for a young guy,but it is good that it is being acknowledged.

One of the knocks on David Carr was that he wasn't one of the boys. That's not to say he didn't get along with folks, but that he didn't hang like one of the guys. He seems to be a pleasant likeable guy, but I do not think he is a natural extrovert. His contract and face time and the way the coaches treated him differently kind of made him different.

Obviously, I haven't seen his interaction with his teammates too much, maybe just a few times and I obviously don't know what Carr's schedule and obligations were like. I saw a big group of players gathered and chatting about stuff, and then Carr either leaving early or hanging out with his family. His life just seemed very different than many of his teammates.

The above observation has been beaten like a dead horse, but I just wanted to mention it in passing because it goes to intangibles. On a team that has little tradition and identity and faces a lot of adversity, I believe that a quarterback has to work extra hard to create more of a community and team instead of cliques.

One of the difficulties of learning on the job, especially a high profile job is that you learn in public and it is hard to get people to forget all your mistakes. That in crunch time, do your teammates remember the QB goonage, or do they believe that the quarterback can lead them from behind to win? That confidence is something that is earned, and it harder to earn that when your teammates are more familiar with your mistakes than your successes.

Schaub and Rosenfels have the advantage that a lot of their learning curve about the NFL happened in other places. Their teammates didn't see them at their greenest and totally bewildered about the NFL way of doing things. I heard Rosenfels talk about the lessons he learned at his previous teams. For example, his position coach explained to him that the end of the day for quarterbacks is different than it is for everyone else--just an example, he talked about all the unspoken rules of the NFL and how that is the hardest part of the transition.

Most everyone moving from one job to another learns things from their previous job and tries to improve and make a good impression on their next employer.

Anyway, if we were talking about intangibles, I thought this should be mentioned but I certainly don't want to overtalk the QB intangible thingy because it is deadhorsed.
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Old 03-23-2007   #14
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Default Re: Intangibles

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Appreciate the font DB
May be none of my business, but what font are you referring to?

Jus' a lil' curious...
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Old 03-24-2007   #15
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Default Re: Intangibles

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelm View Post
May be none of my business, but what font are you referring to?

Jus' a lil' curious...
yeah, I was wondering what he was talking about, too.
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Old 03-24-2007   #16
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Default Re: Intangibles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Runner View Post
There has been a lot of talk this off-season about free agents, draft picks, and current players. There has been discussion about schemes, coaching and various other things. With the new beginning the Texans are making, Iím going to try to address intangibles. This topic has little solid fact to use as groundwork, but there are many things to look at that can lead individuals to different conclusions. It might be fun to discuss given the optimistic feeling on the board.

Letís start with an easy one - coaching influence. I think it is fair to say that by 2005 the players did not believe in the Capers staff any longer. The militaristic structure did not mix well with the inflexibility shown when faced with constant losing. The players seemed to decide the coaches plan, if it existed, would never work. This manifested itself in poor play, the appearance the players were just marking time, and the teamís crumpling in the face of adversity game after game.

When Kubiak got here, his aura of success, his demeanor, and his stated plans got the attention of the players and I think they believed Kubiak would turn the team into winners. When the season started slowly some of the players may have easily slipped back into the previous year's attitude. The losses and some questionable moves by the coaching staff combined to allow the "loser" mentality to surface. The team again started to crumple in face of challenges. However, toward the end of the year the team seemed to have an attitude shift, and that shift was strengthened by the feedback loop created when they won a few games. The players are probably still believers that Kubiak can spark a winning tradition, but he has to continue to show improving results.

The coaching discussion above touched on some other intangibles. For instance, the loser versus winner mentality. As stated, the late season wins seemed to have a positive effect on the players. However the losing mentality is very tough to shake and for the next couple of years the Texans must guard against it. Simply put, continued winning is the only thing that will create the atmosphere of winning within this team. All the rah rah speeches and great player acquisitions do little to instill real confidence.

Player acquisition is another matter. I donít think it does much for team chemistry when the Texans replace existing players with "new" ones that arenít better, or maybe even as good, as those that are replaced. This is doubled on this team when the appearance of Denver or Green Bay "family tree" nepotism is already discussed. The players arenít unlike other people. Many of them make bonds with their "co-workers" and see it as an injustice if they are benched or cut for reasons other than being replaced by better a player on the field. A current example of this is Vonta Leach. He was a bright spot last year; do the Texans keep him, or dump him for a similar player from some other team? Maybe the guaranteed money theyíd have to shell out for him would have other benefits than just having him on the field. It would also help build the intangible team spirit that successful teams must have. Itís nice to see success and contribution rewarded.

Make no mistake Ė the players have differing opinions on many matters. As members of this board we seem to search for the "truth" of what is really going on within the team. We all argue our opinions and wonder what the players think. Well, the players have as many opinions as we do and discuss the various views just as we do. They donít have one group think grasp on facts that we on the board just wish we knew. Personnel decisions get a lot of discussion by the players themselves.

Facing adversity is another area in which the Texans need to improve, and again they did that a little better at the end of last year. In 2004 the Texans could rise to some challenges, such as in the Vikings game. By 2005 they seemed more like quitters than competitors if that is not too harsh a description. Last year they seemed to combine the two. There were some games where a fumble, missed first down, or other squandered opportunity seemed to suck all the wind out of their sails. In other instances they stepped up to challenges and played well. There were a couple of games such as the second Indy game where they couldnít pass but they ran the ball down Indyís throat. They stepped up and took control of the situation.

I think the Texans will have ample opportunity to face specific challenges next season. We picked up a good running back in Green, but he has a tendency to fumble. How will the team handle that the first time it happens to kill a drive? The second? The third? The new and young players will all make their share of mistakes; they need to make up for them afterward and not enter a funk.

Any thoughts?
Great post from an intangible standpoint. Last year was the first year that a player or coach said I am going to put us in a position to win when Kubiak went to the run exclusivley as the Defense gelled through its diversity while led by two rookies. However, any time the Coach is the leader of the team it will stunt the maturation process of that entity. This year we need leaders on each unit to step up on the field and take the lead. I do not doubt that will happen as an obvious vacuum of perceived leadership can now be filled.

We may also find some personality on this team that allows our fans for the first time to feel like, fans. I have never been a fan of a team this devoid of personality and truly believe it will now be allowed to breathe on the individual, unit and team level.
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Old 03-24-2007   #17
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Default Re: Intangibles

We need someone who lives and breathes the sport ... a passion if you will .

This will spread like wildfire and before you know it the first five years will be a blur .
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