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Old 06-14-2007   #1
Spike
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Default Progress...

As I was driving into Houston this morning, I got to listen to a Rick Smith interview on 610. (BTW - What happened to the old morning crew?) Living in Austin, I don't get much Texans news on the radio, so it was a real treat to hear something that I didn't have to find on the internet.

Looking back at this off-season, you have to admire what the front office has accomplished in the past couple of months. It is June and we have no idea how it will work out, but at the very least, you have to respect that these guys had the balls to make some tough decisions, take the heat of local and national critism based on previous mistakes, and make bold moves to try to make this team better...now. The front office could have easily taken a more conservative approach, but in doing so, I just think it would have delayed the progress that we are starting to see now.

Without having put on pads in 2007, the Texans have accomplished three major goals. We cut our losses with DC and brought in a young, promising QB who at the VERY LEAST has injected the fan base and organization with new hope and excitment for the upcoming season and the provided the team with the new attitude and leadership that was simply lacking the past couple of seasons. The initial backlash and commentary was tough, but I think we have moved past (if not completely, in large part) the second guessing from last year's draft that would have persisted for another season or two if we had not made a move.

Second, we have appeared to made the moves this year to take the financial hit to free up cap space next year and in doing so let go players from the previous regime who just did not fit the mold of what we are trying to accomplish now. This year we really cleaned house and got to start over...next year we will have the flexibility to build.

Finally, with limited cap space, we have appeared to brought in some veteran players to a young squad who will increase competition on the squad and either crack the starting line up or provide more quality depth accross the board. The Texans were not able to bring in the "big name" free agent (although Schaub and Green were at the top of the list at their positions), the front office was able to sprinkle in a lot of mid-level guys to improve the feel of the locker room.

I am excited to see the following position battles:

(1) RB - Green and Dayne seem to be set, but the third spot is up for grabs. I think Gado, Lundy and Taylor all have the potential to surpass Dayne, but at the same time, I can't see all three of them making the team. Do we think any of these guys has the talent to be the RB of the future to be groomed over one or two seasons or do we look to upgrade next draft?
(2) DT - Travis Johnson starting to look better before getting injured, we pick up Maddox of the streat who ends the season strong, bring in a solid veteran in Zgonina and draft Okoye. This could be our deepest position.
(3) CB- Faggins or Fletcher?
(4) OT - Can Spencer come back and play? Winston, Salaam and Black can all play either side.
(5) WR - I don't get a whole lot of comfort that we are in fact comfortable with Walter as our #2 if we are actively shopping for another body at WR. Can Mathis stay healthy and contribute? Will Jacoby prove he is worth a third round selection? Does Andre Davis have what it takes?

I think we were lucky to finish with 6 wins last season, but I think the team has improved enough for two more wins.
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Old 06-14-2007   #2
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Default Re: Progress...

I'm a feelin' 9-7 !!!
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Old 06-15-2007   #3
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Default Re: Progress...

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Originally Posted by Spike View Post

I am excited to see the following position battles:

(1) RB - Green and Dayne seem to be set, but the third spot is up for grabs. I think Gado, Lundy and Taylor all have the potential to surpass Dayne, but at the same time, I can't see all three of them making the team. Do we think any of these guys has the talent to be the RB of the future to be groomed over one or two seasons or do we look to upgrade next draft?
(2) DT - Travis Johnson starting to look better before getting injured, we pick up Maddox of the streat who ends the season strong, bring in a solid veteran in Zgonina and draft Okoye. This could be our deepest position.
(3) CB- Faggins or Fletcher?
(4) OT - Can Spencer come back and play? Winston, Salaam and Black can all play either side.
(5) WR - I don't get a whole lot of comfort that we are in fact comfortable with Walter as our #2 if we are actively shopping for another body at WR. Can Mathis stay healthy and contribute? Will Jacoby prove he is worth a third round selection? Does Andre Davis have what it takes?

I think we were lucky to finish with 6 wins last season, but I think the team has improved enough for two more wins.
Good post.

1- I really liked what I saw of Taylor in the Cleveland game last year. I hope they give him a legit chance at it. My picks for RB would be Green, Taylor, and the rookie from ND or Lundy. Dayne and Gado appear to me to be just stop-gap players. While these players don't get folks overly excited, it could be a solid position for us and I believe Taylor could develop into being "more than a solid player".

2- The dline ended last year playing better and I believe that, if MW can stay healthy and focused, Okoye can show some spurts of being really good in limited playing time, and the rest of the line continues to meld together and stay healthy; that this could be one of the strong points of the team. For Okoye, I say "limited playing time" because I hope they bring him along slowly and allow him to mature into his position. He MAY be the exception but, there really NEVER has been a rookie lineman on either side of the ball as young as he is come in and make an impact right away .... at least to my knowledge. And I would hate for him to get the tar beat out of him physically and mentally so that he becomes damaged goods kinda like a certain QB we all know.

3- Faggins or Fletcher? This could be a REAL problem for the team. IF someone surprises here, like Bennett, it would be very good for this team. At this point, it appears to be a real weakness.

4- OT? I prefer to look at the entire line. Played better at the end of last year with a GREATLY scaled back passing attack and offensive scheme. Literally every position on our oline is a question mark, though. We can't look at any one position and say that someone has it locked down and we are solid at that position. So, IF Spencer comes back strong, IF they all stay healthy, IF Winston or someone else takes control at RT, IF Flanagan or McKinney takes control at C, IF the guards improve (they did not have a good year last year); then Schaub may have time to set up and read the defense ......... a luxury that a certain other QB never had.

5- WR2 is so up in the air that we can't even worry about WR3&4. Other than AJ, there is not one other WR on this team who has done diddly squat in the pros. Potential "appears" to be there in Walter and Jones but, we all have seen potential come and go each year. So, IF legit WR2 and WR3 appear from this group, it would be a blessing.

You didn't discuss the safety and OLB positions.

6- Safety is another area that appears to be a real weakness on this team and other than late draft picks and UFA, we have done nothing to address it. IF 2 players step up and solidify both positions, then the entire defense will be significantly improved. I was hoping that Zabransky would take a shot at it ........ he has the speed and mental makeup to be a good safety. But, the coaching staff has yet to call me. Safety appears to be a real weakness.

7- OLB was a real soft spot last year. There is alot of competition but, only from mediocre players and veteran cast offs from other teams. We need 2 players to step up and solidify these spots. With Okoye probably 2-3 years from really being an impact player, I wanted us to use our #1 here. Water under da bridge, though. Greenwood was barely solid last year and the other side was not. I believe we will be solid here but, no where near a strength on this team.

So, my conclusion is that we still have too many IF's on this team to be overly enthused. Will they be better than last year? I believe they will. Will they win more games? Maybe not. IMO, we need another good year of building depth while sprinkling in a couple of impact FA's and draft picks. I think the team took HUGE risks this year with our 1st 2 draft picks when there were other solid draft picks out there who would have solidified positions for us for years to come. What we have now are 2 big IF's for our first 2 picks.
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Old 06-15-2007   #4
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Default Re: Progress...

I'm not really buying the whole "injecting optimism into the fanbase" or "bold moves" line. That means absolutely nothing because they do not translate directly into winning. Now that is not to say I dislike the offseason moves, because I love them, but there is no reason to put a crown on the head of the Smith/Kubiak regime until they put a winning product on the field.

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Old 06-15-2007   #5
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Default Re: Progress...

Most "experts" hve indicated our over all off season was productive and changes are positive. We just have to go with what is on paper and what has happened in OTAs. Same as every year. Kick off will bring the answers.
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Old 06-15-2007   #6
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Default Re: Progress...

I feel positive considering what we had to work with cap-wise this year, next year will be the real icing on the cake year IMHO. With more money freed up we can go after some of the early offseason free agents instead of settling for leftovers like we have been. a good "ball-hawking" FS would be where I would start, and if noone steps up this year, a decent CB2 and WR2. maybe get an OLB and more O-line depth in the draft. this year could go anywhere from sobering to suprising but next year we should really start to solidify a contender.
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Old 06-15-2007   #7
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Default Re: Progress...

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Originally Posted by TK_Gamer View Post
I feel positive considering what we had to work with cap-wise this year, next year will be the real icing on the cake year IMHO. With more money freed up we can go after some of the early offseason free agents instead of settling for leftovers like we have been. a good "ball-hawking" FS would be where I would start, and if noone steps up this year, a decent CB2 and WR2. maybe get an OLB and more O-line depth in the draft. this year could go anywhere from sobering to suprising but next year we should really start to solidify a contender.
I think you've nailed it. If draft turns out as successful as last season, we should have made good inroads towards a solid team. This season should be very interesting as "potential" should escalate into getting the job done. We could have a very solid base going into free agency next year. Smith has shown he signs players with CAP in mind and we will soon know if his players are "players" or fill ins. Last season, he looked like a genius. What will he do with some bucks to spend? And one more good draft? Oh, boy! I think we are ok at LB but see safety, CB and WR as areas that may have to be addressed in 08. We should be able to take care of that with draft & FAs.
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Old 06-15-2007   #8
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Default Re: Progress...

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Originally Posted by nero THE zero View Post
I'm not really buying the whole "injecting optimism into the fanbase" or "bold moves" line. That means absolutely nothing because they do not translate directly into winning. Now that is not to say I dislike the offseason moves, because I love them, but there is no reason to put a crown on the head of the Smith/Kubiak regime until they put a winning product on the field.
I believe David Barron of the chronicle documented the fall of Lance and John prety good. I will not miss Heckle and Jeckle. I was out of their demographic and I grew out of Jerry Lewis, bathroom comedy at an early age.

I saw some people banging on Jamie Dukes the other day. I think he said it prety good the other night. Just get to .500. That's the first thing. Can we win three games in a row. If we win the first game, that will be the first time I believe in frachise history that they've acomplished that feat. Win the first two, and that's the first baby step to becoming a play off team and not an also ran. They would have put together their first four game winning streak by coming out of the chute 2-0. And that's what you gotta have. Winning streaks. This organazation has to learn to put together win streaks. They have to learn how to have a winning attitude. They have to learn how to close out games and win. Agreed about the question marks along the o-line. But from my tree, even though we don't have a dominate OLT, they are deeper along the lines than they have ever been. It's a rough schedule. But for the first time we get a decent bye week. Win the first two and all things are possible. Not ready myself to put up 9-7, but they have a chance if they can stay healthy and they are hungry to win. Just get to 500.
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Old 06-17-2007   #9
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Default Re: Progress...

Sporting news gave our offseason an A-, only behind San Fran and New England!
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Old 06-17-2007   #10
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Default Re: Progress...

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I'm a feelin' 9-7 !!!
i think 9-7 at best... the realist in me is looking for a 7-9 season.
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Old 06-18-2007   #11
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Default Re: Progress...

I'm taking the middle road here and predicting 8-8!
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Old 06-18-2007   #12
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Default Re: Progress...

My early guess is 8-8, but I can see 9-7 or really stretching it, maybe even 10-6 if Schaub is the real deal and Green can stay healthy for 16 games and the dline performs to its talent level. I could also easily see 7-9, or in a worst case 6-10, if things don't break our way with injuries and/or we have too many under performers. But, all in all, I say 8-8 right now.
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Old 06-18-2007   #13
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I'm looking for and expecting play-offs this year...

We may not get there, but those are my expectations...

I think the fact that we've never been there is going to be our biggest challenge and not really lack of talent...I think we're good enough to get in, we just need guys to play and act like it...
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Old 06-18-2007   #14
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Default Re: Progress...

I put my money where my mouth has been and pounded the over on the Texans winning more than 6 games with a money line at -160 and for them to make the playoffs with a money line at +700. For the record I have the Texans at 12-4.

Even if they can't reach 12 wins I am feeling very good about my action.
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Old 06-18-2007   #15
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I put my money where my mouth has been and pounded the over on the Texans winning more than 6 games with a money line at -160 and for them to make the playoffs with a money line at +700. For the record I have the Texans at 12-4.

Even if they can't reach 12 wins I am feeling very good about my action.
The over/under on wins is 6? I like the over on that a lot. I see 6 as the possible bottom, which is a push, or is it 6.5 wins? I still like the over on that as well. Can someone here in Texas put a small wager on that? How does that work?

Also, I don't understand the money line. Is there any significance to that?
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Old 06-18-2007   #16
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The over/under on wins is 6? I like the over on that a lot. I see 6 as the possible bottom, which is a push, or is it 6.5 wins? I still like the over on that as well. Can someone here in Texas put a small wager on that? How does that work?

Also, I don't understand the money line. Is there any significance to that?
Yes it is 6. Where the money line comes is that if you want the over you have to bet $160 to win $100 since it is -160. If it were +160 then you would have to wager $100 to win $160. Does that make sense?
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Old 06-18-2007   #17
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Yes it is 6. Where the money line comes is that if you want the over you have to bet $160 to win $100 since it is -160. If it were +160 then you would have to wager $100 to win $160. Does that make sense?
Ok, got it. Well, I wouldn't bet that much, my wife would kill me. I might bet 40 or so, I could get away with that, but it doesn't really seem worth it then.
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Old 06-18-2007   #18
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Default Re: Progress...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiser Toro View Post
I put my money where my mouth has been and pounded the over on the Texans winning more than 6 games with a money line at -160 and for them to make the playoffs with a money line at +700. For the record I have the Texans at 12-4.

Even if they can't reach 12 wins I am feeling very good about my action.
12/4 ? Wow. Give me your insight as I really need the good news. Man I hope you are right! I'd run screaming naked into the night! I agree that your over 6 is a good if not 100% safe bet; but 12- 4? I am sure you mentioned this on other threads but can't find with quick search.
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Old 06-18-2007   #19
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Default Re: Progress...

It all depends if Mario and Amobi are busts like TJ and Babin or not. A ton of money used there instead of fixing the secondary.

Hopefully Schaub can live up to his potential, and not be another AJ Feely.

I'm gald we have Green at RB.
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Old 06-18-2007   #20
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It all depends if Mario and Amobi are busts like TJ and Babin or not.
I don't think I would label Babin a bust. Has he lived up to being a 1st round pick? No. But he did lead our pitiful pass rush in sacks last season. For all the grief we get for giving the Titans the picks we did to move up and get Babin, the Titans did next to nothing with those picks. I think this season we will see Babin as less of a every down player and more of a pass rush specialist. Still not worth a first, but I can see him getting more sacks than last season.
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