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Old 06-19-2007   #1
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Default Importance of center

For several months I've been reading posts that call for Texans to get a solid center. Some even suggested picking one in first round this last draft. Flannagan and McKinney do not seem to excite fans as solid starters and both suffered injuries. Hodgdon is a ? IMO. I have never considered the position as needing a first or second round pick to upgrade and evidently neither have the coaches. I do understand the role the center plays but is this a bigger need to upgrade than I think?
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Old 06-19-2007   #2
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Default Re: Importance of center

I really wanted them to address this in the draft or via FA. If Flanagan is healthy (and that is a big IF) he is a quality NFL starter. If McKinney or Hodgson are at Center it just hurts you so much in pass protection.

I am hoping that they can turn Studdard into a Center, but to expect that to happen overnight is just pie in the sky thinking. Hopefully this season will inject some life into our current Center prospects, but we can't afford an injury to Flanny or McKinney because then its Hodgson time, and that is always a bad time. The guy is just bad.
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Old 06-19-2007   #3
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Default Re: Importance of center

The centers that are available are just filler until something better comes along. None of them are a true answer to the position, and none of them were quality material this last year. The same can be said for the left tackles (better left for other threads). Unfortunately, these are the two most important positions on the line.

Getting a great center is huge for a team. He leads the line and keeps the count. He also allows the QB to be able to step up when defensive players get past the tackles. But if the Texans centers are constantly pushed around (and backwards), how is the QB supposed to evade the defensive ends shooting around the tackles?

I think the Texans are set at the guard and right tackle positions. Unfortunately, the two most valuable components of this machine - left tackle and center - are the weakest on the Texans line.
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Old 06-19-2007   #4
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Default Re: Importance of center

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Originally Posted by Texans Horror View Post
The centers that are available are just filler until something better comes along. None of them are a true answer to the position, and none of them were quality material this last year. The same can be said for the left tackles (better left for other threads). Unfortunately, these are the two most important positions on the line.

Getting a great center is huge for a team. He leads the line and keeps the count. He also allows the QB to be able to step up when defensive players get past the tackles. But if the Texans centers are constantly pushed around (and backwards), how is the QB supposed to evade the defensive ends shooting around the tackles?

I think the Texans are set at the guard and right tackle positions. Unfortunately, the two most valuable components of this machine - left tackle and center - are the weakest on the Texans line.
Why has basically nothing been done to address this if center is one of the two most valuable components? Not arguing, just trying to figure the moves made in draft and off seasons since Kubes has been here.
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Old 06-19-2007   #5
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Default Re: Importance of center

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Originally Posted by badboy View Post
Why has basically nothing been done to address this if center is one of the two most valuable components? Not arguing, just trying to figure the moves made in draft and off seasons since Kubes has been here.
Off the top of my head, I think there's a couple reasons center hasn't been addressed. In no order of importance:

1. Flanagan was a Packer for Sherman and was brought here by him, so there is a loyalty there that Sherman won't replace him.
2. The team is all about depth this year, and without putting anybody else in the position, there are at least three guys who can play Center. So why upgrade a position that already has enough depth.
3. Centers overlooked and not the most coveted players on the market (my apologies to St. Randy of the Cross). Why get a center when you can get a receiver/linebacker/cornerback/etc.
4. The Texans have lots of needs. Lots. Another reason they get overlooked.
5. Just cause we think it's a need, doesn't mean the coaches/FO agrees...
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Old 06-20-2007   #6
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Default Re: Importance of center

Texas Horror, my friend, it sounds to me as if you're overlooking the fact that players typically develop over time. We're not totally devoid of players behind Flanagan and McKinney.

Chris White is a guy who was on our practice squad last season. And he was on the Packers' practice squad when Sherm was there. I'm hearing that our coaches are bullish on White's development. We picked up Enoka Lucas after the draft as an UDFA. He was widely regarded as the 6th best center coming out of college this season.

Both Brandon Frye and Studdard have been described as having the potential to be effective if moved in to center. I'm sure that would be a longer term scenario.
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Old 06-20-2007   #7
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Default Re: Importance of center

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Originally Posted by Texans Horror View Post
The centers that are available are just filler until something better comes along. None of them are a true answer to the position, and none of them were quality material this last year. The same can be said for the left tackles (better left for other threads). Unfortunately, these are the two most important positions on the line.

Getting a great center is huge for a team. He leads the line and keeps the count. He also allows the QB to be able to step up when defensive players get past the tackles. But if the Texans centers are constantly pushed around (and backwards), how is the QB supposed to evade the defensive ends shooting around the tackles?

I think the Texans are set at the guard and right tackle positions. Unfortunately, the two most valuable components of this machine - left tackle and center - are the weakest on the Texans line.
I would have to say for a right handed QB its LT,LG, C in that order of importance. most teams put their weakest lineman on the opposite side. and most RG, RT guys are ones that werent quite good enoug to play the left side for whatever reason, quickness, strength , footwork. I think we could have used Kalil but we are not in that bad of shape really. fred weary is actually the weak link in the line, he plays inconsistently, good day, bady day kinda thing. flanigan is very good at center if healthy, and mckiney plays decent at C and RG. IMHO we have our problems at RG when Mckinney has to slide over at Center and Weary comes in to replace him. we saw that some at the end of last year.
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Old 06-20-2007   #8
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Default Re: Importance of center

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Originally Posted by badboy View Post
Why has basically nothing been done to address this if center is one of the two most valuable components? Not arguing, just trying to figure the moves made in draft and off seasons since Kubes has been here.
The Texans only had the budget and resources to address a certain amount of needs this off season. Combine that with player availability and we ended up not doing too much at LT and center.

For instance, had they made a splash at LT in free agency they may not have been able to afford signing Green. Then we'd be wondering why RB and center were virtually ignored, although they were obvious needs.
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Old 06-20-2007   #9
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Default Re: Importance of center

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Originally Posted by quicksilver View Post
Texas Horror, my friend, it sounds to me as if you're overlooking the fact that players typically develop over time. We're not totally devoid of players behind Flanagan and McKinney.
Chris White is a guy who was on our practice squad last season. And he was on the Packers' practice squad when Sherm was there. I'm hearing that our coaches are bullish on White's development. We picked up Enoka Lucas after the draft as an UDFA. He was widely regarded as the 6th best center coming out of college this season.
Both Brandon Frye and Studdard have been described as having the potential to be effective if moved in to center. I'm sure that would be a longer term scenario.
Right On QS !
The idea of using a first or second round pick on a center is a luxury the Texans can't afford, especially when one reviews the Denver model of selecting starting OLinemen in later rounds and even as undrafted FAs. Especially guards & centers.
They have a reasoanble good veteran presense at center while having several young prospects for future years.
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Old 06-20-2007   #10
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Default Re: Importance of center

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Originally Posted by quicksilver View Post
Texas Horror, my friend, it sounds to me as if you're overlooking the fact that players typically develop over time. We're not totally devoid of players behind Flanagan and McKinney.

Chris White is a guy who was on our practice squad last season. And he was on the Packers' practice squad when Sherm was there. I'm hearing that our coaches are bullish on White's development. We picked up Enoka Lucas after the draft as an UDFA. He was widely regarded as the 6th best center coming out of college this season.

Both Brandon Frye and Studdard have been described as having the potential to be effective if moved in to center. I'm sure that would be a longer term scenario.
Lot of potential and a lot of what-ifs. Hopefully they pan out, but with what we have at LT I was kind of thinking that Frye might be the team's LT next year. That leaves the Texans with a sixth-round draft pick, a UFA, and a practice squad guy. Call me crazy, but I just think that realistically, the odds are stacked against these guys that they will develop into the starting center. One or two of them might be great depth, but right now the Texans are oozing with depth. We have so much depth some of them are starting for us.
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Old 06-21-2007   #11
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Default Re: Importance of center

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Originally Posted by Texans Horror View Post
Lot of potential and a lot of what-ifs. Hopefully they pan out, but with what we have at LT I was kind of thinking that Frye might be the team's LT next year. That leaves the Texans with a sixth-round draft pick, a UFA, and a practice squad guy. Call me crazy, but I just think that realistically, the odds are stacked against these guys that they will develop into the starting center. One or two of them might be great depth, but right now the Texans are oozing with depth. We have so much depth some of them are starting for us.
My question would be what sort of player do we have with Flannagan & McKinney age wise and health wise? Personally I do not see the physicality of the position as important as the signal calling. Flannagan should handle that aspect quite well. Our guards and tackles in the ZBS should be able to hide the weakness at center. Green at RB and a quicker decision by Schaub can also avoid the defensive push through the center. The rule against the defense lining up directly over the center should also help. I'm not optimistic about any center backups on today's roster, but as with Walters at#2 WR and whomever at #2 CB, I am "wishing on a star".
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Old 06-21-2007   #12
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Default Re: Importance of center

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Our guards and tackles in the ZBS should be able to hide the weakness at center.
How is that ?
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Old 06-21-2007   #13
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Default Re: Importance of center

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How is that ?
My understanding of the ZBS is the offensive player goes in a predetermined direction and blocks any defensive player coming into his zone rather than bull rushing the player directly across from him. I would run the play towards the LT or RT spot on line of scrimmage for the most part including pass plays. This would decrease the dline nose from blocking the center back collapsing the pocket. There would of course be exceptions where the QB moves with the pocket to the right and throws back across to the left. We did not see that often with Carr & I have no idea if Schaub will use that type of mis-direction play. Draws or run between guards and tackles would also be used, but increases involvement by center which worries me. I think both Flannagan and McKinney like to power block straight ahead, but IMO that wears them down quicker.
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Old 06-21-2007   #14
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Default Re: Importance of center

Weary could be our Center. We could groom Studdard to be a RG.
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Old 06-21-2007   #15
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Default Re: Importance of center

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Originally Posted by badboy View Post
My question would be what sort of player do we have with Flannagan & McKinney age wise and health wise? Personally I do not see the physicality of the position as important as the signal calling. Flannagan should handle that aspect quite well. Our guards and tackles in the ZBS should be able to hide the weakness at center. Green at RB and a quicker decision by Schaub can also avoid the defensive push through the center. The rule against the defense lining up directly over the center should also help. I'm not optimistic about any center backups on today's roster, but as with Walters at#2 WR and whomever at #2 CB, I am "wishing on a star".
I thought the ruling about lining up over the center was only for kicking team. Is that not correct?

I am leary about any scheme that tries to hide a weakness. Granted, every team tries to hide their weaknesses, but the Texans in particular have a LOT of them. This year will be particularly difficult since teams will be hitting the LT will everything they've got. They know it is our biggest offensive weakness, the Achilles heel on Paris, sort to speak.
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Old 06-21-2007   #16
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Default Re: Importance of center

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Weary could be our Center. We could groom Studdard to be a RG.
I understand Weary has been tried at center and immediately moved back to guard.
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Old 06-21-2007   #17
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Default Re: Importance of center

Weary was supposed to be a solid center or guard prospect coming out of college. He seemed to immediately fall out of favor with Capers and Co. and I don't recall him ever getting a shot at playing at center. Anyone have an idea why he was thought highly of as a center coming out of college yet he's never been seriously considered there in the NFL?

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Old 06-21-2007   #18
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Default Re: Importance of center

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Originally Posted by awtysst View Post
Weary could be our Center. We could groom Studdard to be a RG.
Would be nice to have Flannigan healthy this year. I'd rather not see McKinney on the field but if he is please be at guard.

I am curious about Studdard. If nothing else i hope he brings some attitude to the line that he played with at Texas.
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Old 06-21-2007   #19
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Default Re: Importance of center

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I thought the ruling about lining up over the center was only for kicking team. Is that not correct?

I am leary about any scheme that tries to hide a weakness. Granted, every team tries to hide their weaknesses, but the Texans in particular have a LOT of them. This year will be particularly difficult since teams will be hitting the LT will everything they've got. They know it is our biggest offensive weakness, the Achilles heel on Paris, sort to speak.
My understanding the rule was for every play. Maybe someone could clarify? Maybe we don't have as many weaknesses as you think. Obviously, Kubes thinks Black/Salaam is an upgrade and Salaam did pretty well considering everyone said, yeah but he can't be a starter. He was just that. I see him playing a more productive role as there will be a better back up to allow him some time off field. Other changes to team also should decrease the spotlight on LT. I do not see center as a major weak spot this season. We can win without a #2 WR of great quality. Our TEs, RBs and AJ did ok last season as we did not get from Moulds what most hoped for. The glaring weakness is #2 CB. We have the same DBs as last year. Our LBs are slightly better on paper anyway and the Dline hopefully will disrupt the QB. It doesn't take too many whoops and there goes another 6 points against us.
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Old 06-21-2007   #20
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Default Re: Importance of center

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My understanding the rule was for every play. Maybe someone could clarify? Maybe we don't have as many weaknesses as you think. Obviously, Kubes thinks Black/Salaam is an upgrade and Salaam did pretty well considering everyone said, yeah but he can't be a starter. He was just that. I see him playing a more productive role as there will be a better back up to allow him some time off field. Other changes to team also should decrease the spotlight on LT. I do not see center as a major weak spot this season. We can win without a #2 WR of great quality. Our TEs, RBs and AJ did ok last season as we did not get from Moulds what most hoped for. The glaring weakness is #2 CB. We have the same DBs as last year. Our LBs are slightly better on paper anyway and the Dline hopefully will disrupt the QB. It doesn't take too many whoops and there goes another 6 points against us.
LT: As far as LT goes, I recognize that you thought Salaam did pretty well last year. IMO, he had a rough time picking up ends and missing blocks, so I grade him much more poorly.

C: Even when Flanagan was healthy, the pile still tended to push him back. I remember there being many occassions where Carr was hit from the inside rather than the outside, so I think it will be a major concern for Matt.

Defense: I agree with you that secondary is another huge weakness - IMO, second only to the offensive line. I am curious why I haven't heard more people assert that the secondary has been fixed, though, because the Texans drafted Bennett and Harrison. It seems that by drafting a cornerback and safety in the fourth and fifth round, the Texans did a better job of targeting defensive secondary than they did the o-line, which they drafted in the fifth and sixth rounds.

Bennett having been mentored in college by Dunta, it will be interesting to see how he develops in Houston being mentored by Dunta.
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