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Old 05-07-2007   #1
Porky
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Default How talented are the Texans....really?

This was inpired by something Jerek said in the David Carr thread, and I keep seeing it frequently. That is that the Texans are bottom of the NFL barrell in terms of talent. I thought about it, and I'm not sure that label applies any more. I'm not sure we have quite made middle of the pack overall, but we are not far from that imo. I am giving each group a grade based on roughly where I think that group is in relationship to the other 31 teams. Am I crazy here? Do they all stink? Or are the Texans actually better then even I give them credit for? You decide, and let me know where I am wrong.

I'll try to be conservative in my analaysis:

QB's - Ok, so this one is hard to judge right now for obvious reasons, but let's be safe and say middle of the pack group, 16th overall.

RB's - Could be flirting with the top 10 with Green on board and Dayne backing up, but let's be safe and say 12th best group. If Green is not what I think, this could fall fairly dramatically, but I don't expect that to happen.

WR's - Any team with AJ avoids the bottom 10, but who knows from there. It's all a crapshoot after that. Let's say about 20th due strictly to AJ.

TE's - Owen Daniels was great, but the rest leave something to be desired, but they are not terrible either. Again, let me be conservative and say 20th best.

Oline - I don't think it's nearly as bad as Carr made them look, and this grade is without Spencer. OTOH, they are not great either, and still need help. 24th best.

Dline - Under achieving line, but a yr with Mario and the additon of Okoye should help. Still, I don't think they will be as good as their press clippings would indicate - 16th best

LB - Demeco in the middle really helps this grade. Not impressed on the outside, although Barber may help a little. This may be a bit low really but - 18th best

Secondary - We need help bigtime here, especially at FS. Let's be generous and give them 25th best, and that is due to Drob.

ST - Kicker and punter are subpar as a group, but our returners should really shine. Deep snapping has never been an issue - all in all - 20th best.

If you have a major beef with these rankings, let's hear it.
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Old 05-07-2007   #2
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I don't know how to rank them like that, but as far as overall talent goes I'd consider us in the 20th to 25th range...
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Old 05-07-2007   #3
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I would say those are fair, but with potential upside when you take an all in look at the unit level.

I have been promoting a 12-4 prognostication, not because of overwhelming talent, but because I feel that locker room this year will be a fun one to be in as players are developing, more talent being acquired for competition, depth has been acquired, needs are being addressed and the feel that something special is being started.

Kubiak and Smith work well in tandem and is noticeable from the outside looking in and can only imagine how good it feels inside the locker room.
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Old 05-07-2007   #4
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The difference between a really talented team in the NFL and a marginal team is about 1 or 2 key players.

Those 1 or 2 players bring so much to the table that they make everybody better around them.

Where would the Patriots and Colts be without Brady and Manning? Probably would struggle to get in the playoffs!

As for Carr and his comment, HE WAS THE FIRST PICK OF THE FRANCHISE!!!! He had to be the best player on the squad considering the position he played. Bottom line, he had to be able to carry the offensive side of the ball. What did this guy expect? Carr just doesn't seem that smart and his class act persona seems to be fading fast.

Having said all that, the Texans really are not that far off except for the defensive secondary. The Texans need a huge playmaker to come through, and his name is Schuab. If he comes through, we won't be having these types of discussions. The discussions will be finding that last missing piece of the puzzle, which will probably be defensive secondary help.
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Old 05-07-2007   #5
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I would say those are fair, but with potential upside when you take an all in look at the unit level.

I have been promoting a 12-4 prognostication, not because of overwhelming talent, but because I feel that locker room this year will be a fun one to be in as players are developing, more talent being acquired for competition, depth has been acquired, needs are being addressed and the feel that something special is being started.

Kubiak and Smith work well in tandem and is noticeable from the outside looking in and can only imagine how good it feels inside the locker room.
12-4? Not unless Schaub is the next Brady/Manning and fast. And even then, that is probably a little high. I like your enthusiasm though!
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Old 05-07-2007   #6
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If you have a major beef with these rankings, let's hear it.
I don't know about a major beef. The RBs seem a little high. If Green has a turn-back-the-clock kind of year, they could be that good.

But, the DL has to be better than middle of the pack. I'm not saying they will be for certain, but they need to be for this team to be better than 6-10. They have to lead the way, making the LBs and secondary better units because of the disruption they cause. Williams, Weaver, Okoye, Babin, Johnson...that's where the team has spent their cap $$$. I think they have to become a top 10 unit by the end of the season, or this team will regress.
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Old 05-07-2007   #7
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i don't know why, but 9-7 keeps ringing in my head. I expect growing pains from schaub. I think 2800 yards is a realistic expectation. something in the neighborhood of 15 tds 8 ints. The bottom line is we have one reciever. I expect us to be a running team. Period. Our offense is pretty much tied into the success of ahman green in a new situation. Our defense is growing...and there are parallels to a young bucs defense, especially with the addition of okoye. to spell it out

okoye compares to sapp
williams compares to simeon rice
demeco compares to derrick brooks
dunta compares to brian kelly

If we get our john lynch in the next draft we could really have something special. I think a winning season isn't totally that far out of the question
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Old 05-07-2007   #8
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This team will be right around the middle of the pack this year; slightly above the middle on defense. We could get lucky and be sniffing playoffs at 9-7, but my guess would be more like 8-8. They still need a better O-line, better complements for AJ, and secondary help. All of that can be addressed in the draft next year, which should make us a true and legitimate contender in 2008. We'll also be very, very young and it could be a mini-dynasty forming. All of this, of course, is dependent on the success of Matt Schaub. Like him or not, he's the team's hope for a savior.
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Old 05-07-2007   #9
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I'll hitch my wagon to the last two posters. Good stuff, and I largely agree. I also expect somewhere around 8-8, or maybe 9-7 if the stars align.

I do think that Rice is a little more of a quick twitch end than Mario, who relies more on brute force and speed, but not so much quickness. In other words, Rice is a sportscar, and Mario is a train.
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Old 05-07-2007   #10
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I'd probably agree with a lot of Porky's original post, just offhand. I would readily agree that we are not "the very worst" in terms of overall talent but I'd still place us in the bottom third. If we are talking three tiers then the Panthers grade second while we easily find ourselves in the third in terms of proven performance. But like KT mentioned, we have a lot of upside and I have some confidence in the ability of our coaches to develop and utilize it.

Speaking of talent, am I the only one who thinks the Titans took a serious step backwards this offseason?
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Old 05-07-2007   #11
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Speaking of talent, am I the only one who thinks the Titans took a serious step backwards this offseason?
No, but I also thought the same thing last season. They've definitely got some problems at key positions and did little to address them in the draft.
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Old 05-07-2007   #12
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Meh, I'll throw my two cents in, though this type of prognostication is worthless once the hittin' starts.

QB - Schaub is a good backup, and maybe a decent starter. Rosenfels is a decent backup, but wouldn't hold up as a starter. I'll say middle of the pack, but with Schaub unproven, it could go either way.

RB - pretty low on the totem pole, IMO. Green was good four years ago, but now, not so much. I don't think he's as good now as a young Dom Davis was (although a young Green was elite). I guess I'll give Dayne a slight edge over Jon Wells, but not by much, to be honest. Overall, I'll say that our rushing attack should be roughly equivalent to those we had when DD was going strong. We were between 12-16th in the NFL in rushing for those three years, so I'll go with the same. I hope for more, based on what should be a better line and better QB play.

WR - AJ is in the top 10 of WRs, for sure, but he doesn't catch many TDs. I don't think the WR position is going to catch a lot more TDs in Kubiak's system, but that remains to be seen. Gaffney was better than most thought when he was here, and I made more than a few posts showing that his production was very good, on a per-opportunity basis. We don't have anyone opposite AJ that has ever put up even 40 catches per season, right? Certainly, we hope the upside for Walter and Jones is high, but Show Me first. I'll say 18-20th.

TE - OD has the potential to be one of the top 10 TEs in the game, IMO. He's not there yeat, obviously, but 5 TDs as a rookie, all before DC hit his major slide, speaks to that. I'll say we're top 12 at this position though.

LT - Ephraim Salaam, Jordan Black, and whatever other has-been, also-ran, never-was LT they roll out there this year is going to be subpar. When you're reading a guy's resume and the highlight is how many starts he's had, with no mention of effectiveness, well, you should know the rest. This team probably has one of the worst 6 left tackle combos in football. Unfortunately, the trickle-down effect from this position is huge.

LG - Chester Pitts would start for most NFL teams, but I don't know that he'd be a perennial Pro Bowl guy. I'll say middle of the pack here.

C - Flanagan was a disastrous signing, and the Pack fans told us so before last season started. Hodgdon couldn't hold down the position once Flanagan went down, and McKinney didn't beat either of those guys out for a starting job until Week 15 (I think, about there anyway). We're probably in the bottom 6-8 here as well.

RG - Weary seemed to play better as the season went on, and he's a lot better than Wiegert was at that position. Nevertheless, that's like boasting you can limbo the St. Louis Arch. We're in the bottom half of the league here.

RT - Winston was a mixed bag last year. He didn't beat anyone out for a starting tackle job in TC. He really didn't even get a chance to compete against Seth Wand, who got cut. He was a rookie, though, and as the season went on, he improved. He still has a ways to go, but there's reason for optimism. Nonetheless, until he does it, the position is still a weakness. Still bottom 10-12 of the league.

I'll do the defense later. I have to run.
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Old 05-07-2007   #13
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I'll hitch my wagon to the last two posters. Good stuff, and I largely agree. I also expect somewhere around 8-8, or maybe 9-7 if the stars align.

I do think that Rice is a little more of a quick twitch end than Mario, who relies more on brute force and speed, but not so much quickness. In other words, Rice is a sportscar, and Mario is a train.
Sun. 9 CHIEFS - W
Sun. 16 @ Panthers - W
Sun. 23 COLTS - L
Sun. 30 @ Falcons - L
Sun. 7 DOLPHINS - W
Sun. 14 @ Jaguars - W
Sun. 21 TITANS - W
Sun. 28 @ Chargers - L
Sun. 4 @ Raiders - W
Sun. 18 SAINTS - L
Sun. 25 @ Browns - W
Sun. 2 @ Titans - W
Sun. 9 BUCCANEERS - w
Thu. 13 BRONCOS - L
Sun. 23 @ Colts - L
Sun. 30 JAGUARS - W

10-6 Season. D-Line is #9 in the NFL, O-line ranked #20, Offense is ranked #14 as a whole, Defense is ranked #18 as a whole, Special teams ranked #8. It will be a surprising year that gives instant credit to the franchise as a whole. (2, 3 game winning streaks)
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Old 05-07-2007   #14
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Meh, I'll throw my two cents in, though this type of prognostication is worthless once the hittin' starts.

QB - Schaub is a good backup, and maybe a decent starter. Rosenfels is a decent backup, but wouldn't hold up as a starter. I'll say middle of the pack, but with Schaub unproven, it could go either way.

RB - pretty low on the totem pole, IMO. Green was good four years ago, but now, not so much. I don't think he's as good now as a young Dom Davis was (although a young Green was elite). I guess I'll give Dayne a slight edge over Jon Wells, but not by much, to be honest. Overall, I'll say that our rushing attack should be roughly equivalent to those we had when DD was going strong. We were between 12-16th in the NFL in rushing for those three years, so I'll go with the same. I hope for more, based on what should be a better line and better QB play.

WR - AJ is in the top 10 of WRs, for sure, but he doesn't catch many TDs. I don't think the WR position is going to catch a lot more TDs in Kubiak's system, but that remains to be seen. Gaffney was better than most thought when he was here, and I made more than a few posts showing that his production was very good, on a per-opportunity basis. We don't have anyone opposite AJ that has ever put up even 40 catches per season, right? Certainly, we hope the upside for Walter and Jones is high, but Show Me first. I'll say 18-20th.

TE - OD has the potential to be one of the top 10 TEs in the game, IMO. He's not there yeat, obviously, but 5 TDs as a rookie, all before DC hit his major slide, speaks to that. I'll say we're top 12 at this position though.

LT - Ephraim Salaam, Jordan Black, and whatever other has-been, also-ran, never-was LT they roll out there this year is going to be subpar. When you're reading a guy's resume and the highlight is how many starts he's had, with no mention of effectiveness, well, you should know the rest. This team probably has one of the worst 6 left tackle combos in football. Unfortunately, the trickle-down effect from this position is huge.

LG - Chester Pitts would start for most NFL teams, but I don't know that he'd be a perennial Pro Bowl guy. I'll say middle of the pack here.

C - Flanagan was a disastrous signing, and the Pack fans told us so before last season started. Hodgdon couldn't hold down the position once Flanagan went down, and McKinney didn't beat either of those guys out for a starting job until Week 15 (I think, about there anyway). We're probably in the bottom 6-8 here as well.

RG - Weary seemed to play better as the season went on, and he's a lot better than Wiegert was at that position. Nevertheless, that's like boasting you can limbo the St. Louis Arch. We're in the bottom half of the league here.

RT - Winston was a mixed bag last year. He didn't beat anyone out for a starting tackle job in TC. He really didn't even get a chance to compete against Seth Wand, who got cut. He was a rookie, though, and as the season went on, he improved. He still has a ways to go, but there's reason for optimism. Nonetheless, until he does it, the position is still a weakness. Still bottom 10-12 of the league.

I'll do the defense later. I have to run.

Thanks for the analysis. I'm slightly more optimistic than you, especially regarding Schaub. Looking forward to your thoughts on the defense.

10-6! I hope so....
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Old 05-07-2007   #15
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okoye compares to sapp
williams compares to simeon rice
demeco compares to derrick brooks
dunta compares to brian kelly
Optimistic
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Old 05-07-2007   #16
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With the price of the DL, it better be top 5 this year. Its the 2nd most expensive I think, so top 5 should be reasonable. I dont think it will happen though.
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Old 05-07-2007   #17
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With the price of the DL, it better be top 5 this year. Its the 2nd most expensive I think, so top 5 should be reasonable. I dont think it will happen though.
Baltimore, NE, Chicago, Jacksonville, San Diego

I would be suprised to see a bottom 10 D ranked team move to top 5 in one season. Especially with the group mentioned above still in the league.
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Old 05-07-2007   #18
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I would be suprised to see a bottom 10 D ranked team move to top 5 in one season.
Well you shouldn't be. The Texans were bottom 10 on yards last year based almost solely on the 1st 5 games. For the remainder of the season, they gave up 300.5 ypg which would have put them at #10 for the league last year.
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Old 05-07-2007   #19
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Unless an expansion team has just entered the league I do not believe in the concept of "bottom of the barrell" talent in the NFL. At least not on the scale that we saw in 2002. Many people believe that the Texans are still taking the field with that level of player but nothing could be further from the truth.

The Texans have very middle of the pack talent on both sides of the ball with the exception of a couple of standout players.

In the NFL just about any team is capable of cranking out an 8-8 season any year they play. The difference isn't so much in physical talent as it is in coaching, and heart. It's what we're asking them to do and how dedicated and driven they are to do it that makes the difference.

Texans players have all the measurables you could ask for. If nothing else the Texans brain trust has excelled at finding guys who look great in shorts and who run/bench/shuttle well. If anything they place too much emphasis on physical talent here and not enough emphasis on guys who are great football players. Not enough emphasis on guys who are driven to improve on their play.

I believe our QB's are easily middle of the pack. I have to believe that until proven otherwise. I know that Sage Rosenfels can manage a game and I believe that Schaub, following some growing pains as he settles in will keep him on the bench with relative ease.

I believe that our offensive line is much maligned due to their play in the early years of our franchise and due to our former QB's inability to adjust to the speed and intensity of the NFL game. I think we have questions but we're again in the middle of the pack. Until we actually see evidence of what I "believe" I'll conceed that we might be in the lower-middle.

I think our running backs are squarely middle of the pack. I think Ron Dayne is underestimated and that he's easily capable of posting franchise numbers in this system. I hope that Ahman Green can miracle up one of those "roll back the clock" seasons for us but I suspect that he's this years Eric Moulds type mistake. Time will tell and I hope I'm wrong. Even if I am though I'd take Dayne, Green, Lundi, and Taylor over almost half the backfields in the NFL.

I think our WR's are going to be ok. We have one serious weapon and a number of role players. We have speed guys and we have posession guys and we have a pass catching TE who's not so one dimensional that his very presence gives away the play. I think we're easily middle of the pack.

On Defense I think our DL will fall somewhere between 15th and 10th. I think we're going to see a statement type of year from those guys. There will be pressure in 2007, mark my words.

LB's are going to be solid. They were middle of the pack last year and I expect all of them to be better than they were in 2006. Second year in a system will help a great deal.

Secondary is going to look better with more pressure but it still needs some work. I don't know if I could call them bottom of the barrell but I will say that I think this is our weakest area right now.

Still, averaging it out I think we're somewhere between 20th and 10th and the optimist in me says it's closer to the top than the bottom.
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Old 05-07-2007   #20
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I would say ... based on last year ... we're 20-25 . As Parcells would say you are what your record is .

We can move to 15-13 depending on how the FA's perform along with the young guys .
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