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Old 06-11-2007   #21
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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Old 06-11-2007   #22
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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Really, help my memory out here and list off all the money the Texans have spent on DT's?
I'll spot you TJ--and?
Let me save you a few attempts--Walker DE, Weaver DE, Babin DE/LB, Payne DT but solid when healthy and no longer on the roster so not available for comparison, Robaire--DE.
Where is all the DT money?
Technically Walker, R.Smith, Payne, etc. were DEs in the 3-4, but in truth they were all really tackles. And Weaver was brought here to play end in Kubiaks 4-3, but played quite a bit on the inside last year.
And most of all, many think we may ultimately find out that Mario really is best suited to play tackle in the 4-3. That of course remains to been seen.
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Old 06-11-2007   #23
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

Hey Morknolle, that was a great report on the rooks ! Really appreciate the write-up !
And keep it coming when you have the time. Thanks man.
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Old 06-11-2007   #24
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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Technically Walker, R.Smith, Payne, etc. were DEs in the 3-4, but in truth they were all really tackles. And Weaver was brought here to play end in Kubiaks 4-3, but played quite a bit on the inside last year.
Payne is the only one who played DT for the Texans and that's what counts when talking about the money the Texans have spent on the DT position.
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Old 06-11-2007   #25
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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Payne is the only one who played DT for the Texans and that's what counts when talking about the money the Texans have spent on the DT position.
TJ himself played DE in the Capers 3-4, but of course is a tackle just as Walker, R. Smith, etc. were and where they would play if still here in Kubiaks defense.
The difference in the 3-4 DEs & 4-3 DTs is primarily in the job title and not
the required skill set or job description. You don't really have DEs in the 3-4.
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Old 06-11-2007   #26
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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Originally Posted by nunusguy View Post
TJ himself played DE in the Capers 3-4, but of course is a tackle just as Walker, R. Smith, etc. were and where they would play if still here in Kubiaks defense.
The difference in the 3-4 DEs & 4-3 DTs is primarily in the job title and not
the required skill set or job description. You don't really have DEs in the 3-4.
I understand all that but it is irrelevant to the issue. It isn't whether the Texans have a bunch of guys who could play DT it is whether the Texans have spent a bunch of money on the DT position, i.e. the guys on the depth chart at DT--they have not.
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Old 06-11-2007   #27
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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The difference in the 3-4 DEs & 4-3 DTs is primarily in the job title and not
the required skill set or job description.
That's not really true....

I agree with your overall point that the DE's in the 3-4 are DT's in the 4-3 (althought that's not entirely true either)....
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Old 06-11-2007   #28
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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I plan on writing up a blog entry on the couple OTA practices I've been able to see sometime this week, and I'm hoping I'll be able to get off work and be able to get into one of the minicamp practices this week to see one more practice worth of progression out of the guys, but at this point I don't know if I'll be able to make it. Either way I hope to have a more extensive write-up by mid-late week, but I'll post a couple quick thoughts on some of the rookies.

Amobi Okoye looks like a solid starter right now, easily our best DT FWIW. I think he will develop into a very good player and will be a valuable addition to our young defense. The DLine coaches are looked like they are really working with him and Mario because they expect so much out of the two of them.

Jacoby Jones is starting to look like a solid contributor as well. The early practice I saw he looked a little rough, but he's made progress already. He seems to be running routes noticably better and he definitely has good size and athleticism. I think he could end up pushing Kevin Walter for the other starting WR spot by mid-late season and should be our 3rd WR from week1, plus he looks like he will be solid in the return game as well.

Fred Bennett is progressing decently as well. The early practice I saw he mainly worked with the 3rd team, but this last one it looked like he was lining up with the 2nd team, although I didn't see him with the 1st team nickel at all (Jamar Fletcher was still in there). Hoke and Dunta seem to be working with him in position drills and on the side during team drills, so I expect he'll be receiving good instruction and progress well. Right now he is a little rough technique-wise and he has a reputation for being somewhat soft in the tackling department, although you can't tell anything on that during OTAs. I think by the 2008 season he could be a starting CB for us, he has good size and athleticism and once he refines his technique and gets accustomed to the level of play here I think he can have a successful career.

Brandon Harrison hasn't practiced yet due to Stanford not having graduation until June 17th (according to their website).

Brandon Frye has looked ok. I would compare him to a poor-man's Eric Winston. They have similar size and build, Winston is more athletic but Frye is still solid in that department. Frye is a little underdeveloped this point in terms of his technique, but if anything he is probably a little stronger than Winston, at least in his upper body. From what I remember of Frye in college I recall he had a decent meanstreak too when he got going. I think he'll be a solid backup OT, hopefully replace Ephraim Salaam as our swing tackle in 2008 and back up Winston and Spencer.

Kasey Studdard has also looked ok. He hasn't really stood out one way or another, which is generally a decent sign for OLinemen. He doesn't look quite like the prototypical ZBS lineman on the field, but I think he could be an ok backup, I would guess he lands on practice squad this year.

Zach Diles looked ok in the few reps I saw of him. He isn't overly big or athletic but he seems to have a good head on his shoulders and seems like he reads things fairly well. Obviously I can't tell anything about his tackling abilities at this point so we'll wait until the preseason games for that. He has mainly been in on 3rd string other than one practice this last week I think he filled in as 2nd string MLB when I think Danny Clark was out. He could make the roster as a special teams type of guy for now, I think he will likely end up on practice squad this year though.

Jon Abbate is another smallish LB, at least height-wise. He is built pretty well. He reminds me a little of Troy Evans, probably not as enthusiastic or hard-working yet but he's probably more talented overall. He's that same type of smallish LB that isn't especially athletic but will likely be solid on special teams and spot duty on defense.

Cory Anderson has seen some time with the 2nd and 3rd string as Jameel Cook was sitting out of the practices I saw, I don't know what's up with him. I don't expect Cook to remain on the team with the contract they gave to Leach, so Anderson could end up on practice squad for now as a possible injury replacement. He seems like their type of FB, although I like Quadtrine Hill better last year.

I haven't noticed a whole lot about Victor Degrate or Deljuan Robinson outside of position drills and 1 on 1s. Both look like training camp bodies IMO.

Onrea Jones and Terry Richardson have looked ok but I doubt either makes the roster. Jones may make it on the practice squad, as of what little I've seen I probably like him a little better, but I wouldn't expect either to contribute during the season.

Brandon Mitchell looked ok early on but was out the last time I went with some kind of injury. He was a little rough technique-wise and but seemed to have decent size and athleticism, he may end up making it as a backup somewhere but I doubt it would be here since it looks like he's missed some time and we have a decent amount of DBs duking it out right now.

I haven't noticed much of Enoka Lucas and Tavo Tupola outside of position drills. I think both look like decent fits for a ZBS but I don't know how talented either of them is. I could see Lucas making it on the practice squad this year.

Darius Walker has looked ok although he's only seen time with the 3rd team. I seriously doubt he makes the active roster with 5 guys all in front of him at this moment (plus any others that become available on roster cut-downs later). He is similar to Domanick Davis/Williams only not as good in any category, but he's got ok size/build and is decent at almost everything. He could end up on practice squad unless they drop Lundy or Taylor down.

Jared Zabransky as I mentioned before has looked a little shaky but it looks and sounds like he is putting in some extra time to improve. He could end up on practice squad but especially with Schaub getting his contract this year and Sage looking entrenched as the backup I don't expect to see Zabransky here long-term.
Thanks for the update. I'll cancel my Houston Chronicle subscription. Good info that is welcomed.
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Old 06-11-2007   #29
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

Old Texans Article
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TDefensive Tackle - Seth Payne has played well as a nose tackle, but due to being undersized and aging, he begins to wear down as a game and the season progress due to double teams. The Texans used their number one pick on the best DT in the draft, Travis Johnson, but Johnson is best used as a 4-3 defensive tackle.
He played nose guard at FSU, but at 290 lbs., replacing Payne as the nose tackle is out of the question, and he is not fast enough to play defensive end. Johnson has a solid initial burst of speed, but his run stopping ability and technique are best suited as a 4-3 defensive tackle. Robaire Smith, at 310 lbs. is also best suited as a defensive tackle in the 4-3, and he and Seth Payne would likely start, while Johnson familiarizes himself with the 4-3 as a backup.

Also, due to a lack of production and the fact that cutting him would be a $1.5 million cap hit, it is more than possible that Gary Walker will return to DT, the position he played as a Pro Bowler. Between Payne, Smith, Johnson, and Walker, the defensive tackle position would be more than solidified, giving the Texans one of the best four man rotations in the NFL. If the Texans do return to the 4-3 and do not release any of these DTs, then this will be far from a need for the Texans this offseason.
Granted if you took the absolute, most conservitive view of DT position, my earlier statement would be incorrect. But if you just expand your vision, just a little bit, you might see where I'm coming from.

Blurbs from various place on the contracts of these players:

Payne: signed free-agent nose tackle Seth Payne to a four-year, $16 million deal.

Johnson: Travis Johnson's contract with the Texans: (2005) Signed a 5-year $10.2 million contract; $7.7 million guaranteed; (2007) $435,000; (2008) $707,500; (2009) $1,030,000; (2010) $1,352,500; (2011) $1,675,000; (2012) Free Agent

Smith: Smith's contract is worth $26.3 million and he received an $8 million signing bonus. He'll receive base salaries of $750,000 in '04, $1.35 million in 2005 and $3.4 million in 2006.

Walker: The Houston Texans have reworked the contract for two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Gary Walker to make it more salary-cap friendly.

Walker would have counted about $12.6 million against the cap this season under the contract the Texans inherited when they plucked him from the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2002 expansion draft. His new six-year deal softens the blow, though financial terms were not immediately available.


I could be mistaken here, but it looks like a lot of money to me. Funny part is, the worst player of the bunch is still on the team.
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Old 06-12-2007   #30
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

I don't think T.J is that bad....I just think he can't stay healthy...I think he's going to be awesome for us in a back up role this year...i doubt he comes around, but if he does that'd be great...He may end up being a goner due simply to being an overpaid back-up though...

But my over all point is that he has some talent and if he can just stay focused and consistent he might be a keeper...
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Old 06-12-2007   #31
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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Technically Walker, R.Smith, Payne, etc. were DEs in the 3-4, but in truth they were all really tackles. And Weaver was brought here to play end in Kubiaks 4-3, but played quite a bit on the inside last year.
And most of all, many think we may ultimately find out that Mario really is best suited to play tackle in the 4-3. That of course remains to been seen.
If Mario is on the inside, that there thingy is a busted pick. Rick Smith should be on the phone to a three four team immediatly and slavage what he can from the disater if Mario is a DT. Not going to happen. We passed on the two water walkers for a shot at Reggie White. Plantar farcus has given you cataracs. You don't put 4.6, 299 on the inside. Jimmy Kennedy just got delt for a six pack and a song. Space eating big guys are a dime a dozen.Quick big guys who post 4.6's are not. Those guys give elite OLTs and their QBs head aches. No one got the edge last year on Mario. He is a DE. Period.
The only question about Mario at this point is will the injury be chornic. His hands play improved every game even with the gimmpy foot his rookie season. The only thing I'm looking for this preseaon with Mario is how many moves has he added to his arsonal ? That is one of the "ifs". Can we get a push with just the four down guys ? If Mario's foot is 100% that should be a "yes". But not if he's banging on the inside. A 100% Mario should be a very scary thingy coupled with the John Randle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Randle we just drafted. We should get a push with just the four.
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Old 06-12-2007   #32
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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I don't think T.J is that bad....I just think he can't stay healthy...I think he's going to be awesome for us in a back up role this year...i doubt he comes around, but if he does that'd be great...He may end up being a goner due simply to being an overpaid back-up though...

But my over all point is that he has some talent and if he can just stay focused and consistent he might be a keeper...
The only thing positive about the T.J. pick thus far is that the move down gave them an oportunity to go back to back along the o-line the next draft. He's got one more year at best. They'll eat the salary this season for a warm healthy body. After that he's gone. The college hype doesn't eqaul the player. The fact that they had to double dip with the Okoye pick is very damning for T.J. From my tree he looks as though his production in college was a by product of those tallents around him. I wouldn't at all be surprise if he wasn't amoung the first cuts to get down to 76. If they offer to restucture him at a more cap friendly number, he should take the deal. Anything more than the vet minimum is a waist. He will be out of the league in three seasons.
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Old 06-12-2007   #33
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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If they offer to restucture him at a more cap friendly number, he should take the deal. Anything more than the vet minimum is a waist.
Not an option. His salary is already at or near minimum this season at $435 k. His total cap hit is $1.45 mil. The problem is his prorated signing bonus which still has 5 years at $1 mil a year so he is way more expensive to cut than keep. The only way to get that number down is extend the term of his contract.
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Old 06-12-2007   #34
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

TJ is kinda my step child hopefull, I think if he can stay healthy all year and Okoye and Maddox can apply pressure, we could still salvage a solid player out of him. I don't think he will ever live up to 1st round money but not alot of players do. The biggest problem is the structuring of his contract, the old regime just loved to give guaranteed money away. I think an unproven rookie should get more incentive bonuses than guaranteed signing bonuses. but I would probably make a terrible GM.
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Old 06-12-2007   #35
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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OTA's are closed, sessions, right?

And thanks for the write up!!
OTAs are closed to the public, but if you know people that work there they can get you in as a guest, and luckily I've gotten to catch a few of the early practices each of the last couple years. I can't wait for training camp to see how things keep coming together and see what Brandon Harrison brings to the table, along with hopefully having Jerome Mathis, Anthony Weaver, and Charles Spencer back from injuries.
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Old 06-12-2007   #36
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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Thanks for the update. I'll cancel my Houston Chronicle subscription. Good info that is welcomed.
One of the best things about this board is the camp reports from Mork and crew .
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Old 06-12-2007   #37
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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One of the best things about this board is the camp reports from Mork and crew .
Amen brother...Mork, a.j., and a few others, have my utmost respect for their time and effort to keep the rest of us up to date with the goings on at camp. You guys definately have my appreciation.
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Old 06-12-2007   #38
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The only thing positive about the T.J. pick thus far is that the move down gave them an oportunity to go back to back along the o-line the next draft. He's got one more year at best. They'll eat the salary this season for a warm healthy body. After that he's gone. The college hype doesn't eqaul the player. The fact that they had to double dip with the Okoye pick is very damning for T.J. From my tree he looks as though his production in college was a by product of those tallents around him. I wouldn't at all be surprise if he wasn't amoung the first cuts to get down to 76. If they offer to restucture him at a more cap friendly number, he should take the deal. Anything more than the vet minimum is a waist. He will be out of the league in three seasons.
He played out of position his first two years. Last year was his first year back in the system he's comfortable with and best in. Not really sure what games you were watching, but when healthy last year T.J. made plays.
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Old 06-13-2007   #39
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Default Re: Any word on how Zabransky has looked?

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He played out of position his first two years. Last year was his first year back in the system he's comfortable with and best in. Not really sure what games you were watching, but when healthy last year T.J. made plays.

this will be his 3rd year

1 yr in the 3-4
1 yr in the 4-3
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Old 06-13-2007   #40
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this will be his 3rd year

1 yr in the 3-4
1 yr in the 4-3
My bad.
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