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Old 06-28-2007   #1
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Default Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

The battles for RB are going to be very interesting this year... by far the most interesting in the Texans short history. It is the best talent they have had at any one single position and there are several players who have shown production in their careers. This certainly ain't Sloan Thomas battling with Derek Armstrong for the 5th receiver spot... These are 6 legitimate NFL players fighting for 3 positions.

Ahman Green is a lock to win the starting job if he remains healthy, that's a given. It's no guarantee that he doesn't get beat out at some point, but he will start the season as the main guy.

Behind him it gets interesting. The organization brought back Ron Dayne for a relatively small contract to backup Green and possibly be a third down and/or short yardage back. He is a powerful runner who will be a good change of pace back in the 4th quarter when defenses are worn down. He's also very good in pass protection. Dayne was slowed by injuries at the beginning of 2006 but came on strong and won the starting position about midway through the season. The only problem is that he's not a traditional 3rd down type back that can demand coverage from the safeties like a Leon Washington or Reggie Bush.

Enter Darius Walker. The Texans picked him up as an unrestricted free agent after he went undrafted. Walker reportedly signed with Chicago after the draft but the Texans front office convinced him that there was a better opportunity for him in Houston. Walker appears to be a very good fit for this offense. He's mostly a one-cut-and-go type back that doesn't dance a lot, which is what Coach Kubiak is looking for from his backs. Unfortunatley, if the Texans decide to put Walker on the practice squad he will be gone.

It gets even more cluttered in the backfield between Wali Lundy, Chris Taylor and Samkon Gado. All 3 make virtually the same amount of money, so that won't be an issue. Gado is probably the most proven of the 3 after a stellar 2005 season with limited playing time. He gained almost 600 yards in 5 starts with over 4 yards per carry and 6 touchdowns. Since being traded for Vernand Morency early last season his production slowed. He gained only 210 yards last season but still averaged 3.8 per carry. He also had 3 carries over 20 yards which is 3 more than Reggie Bush had last season. Coach Kubiak has referenced Gado several times as "a very impressive young man", so he's obviously a fan.

Wali Lundy showed flashes of being the solution at RB last season until he lost his job to Ron Dayne. He averaged a healthy 3.8 ypc and had 4 runs over 20 yards (4 more than Reggie Bush). He was also a decent receiving option with 33 catches out of the backfield, but struggled in pass protection. He showed his versatility by returning kicks, but was not very productive in that area so that won't help win him a job. He seemed to dance too much in the backfield and didn't show particularly good burst or power.

That brings us to the most interesting player battling for the position in Chris Taylor. Taylor started the last game of the 2006 season against the Browns and rushed for 99 yards and a TD. He is also a decent pass receiving threat and is good in pass protection. His problems were with fumbling the football which sent him to the practice squad for most of last season. It won't be an option this year, someone would more than likely pick him up. He seems to be the most well-rounded back showing a good burst while being a heavy runner. The NFL Network aired one of the Texans mini-camp practices and Coach Kubiak could be heard telling the team that if Taylor cleans up the fumbling, that he will play in the league for a very long time.

It would appear that 3 players on the outs will be picked up by other teams or end up as trade bait for low-round draft picks in 2008. Unless one of these players gets moved to Fullback (there have been experiments with Chris Taylor in the offseason) the team might have to part ways with a future star... or at least a few players that have the potential to be very productive in the league.

Projected RB depth chart: Ahman Green, Chris Taylor, Darius Walker
Projected FB depth chart: Vonte Leach, Cory Anderson

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Old 06-28-2007   #2
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

I think as of right now 1 and 2 are set. I believe deep down inside that Gado will be the third RB...

I wish they'd cut Ron Dayne though.
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Old 06-28-2007   #3
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

There seems to be a lot of concern about how far into the season that Ahman Green will make it. He might end up being like Emmitt Smith was in Arizona.

I've got a lot of confidence in Dayne if Green goes out. He looked really good towards the end of the season.

After that, it's anybody's guess.
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Old 06-28-2007   #4
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

Great topic and breakdown. After Green, I really feel that it is all open. I think Dayne played well enough at the end of last season to warrant a spot on the roster. However, you would hope that at least two of the remaining four players have enough potential to warrant making the roster and trying to establish themselves as the "go to" guy in the future.

It will be interesting to see how it works out. I think Dayne probably gives us the best chance to win now, but including him in the mix may be a little short sided.

Let them work it out on the field, but I would like to see:
(1) Green - He is the guy day 1.
(2) Gado - I view him as the same type of back as Dayne, but younger and less tread on the tires.
(3) Walker - I had never considered Wonger's point, but I think he is a sure fit for the system and won't last on the practice squad.
(PS) Lundy- Not as sexy of a pick as Taylor and what he lacks in flash, he has in consistency. He is familiar with the system and should be a more confident player in his second year.

We miss the "known" factor of what Dayne brings, but with an eye on the future, he is the odd man out. In addition, I am not sure that he is ideal for the third down back roll. We miss Taylor's flash, but his tendency to put the ball on the ground outweighs his potential.

Do any of these guys have any trade value???
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Old 06-28-2007   #5
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

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Do any of these guys have any trade value???
That might be why Kubiak has been talking up some of these guys. I wouldn't be surprised if Gado gets traded. Kubiak has been talking him up and that might be an attempt to build trade value. I think Dayne shouldn't automatically be pencilled in behind Green, either. I think he could be moved if the right player came available.
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Old 06-28-2007   #6
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

This battle is extremely rough, and it is gonna be hell for the coaching staff to cut one of these guys.

Green and Dayne are penciled in, Kubs wants Dayne as number 2 and it is gonna take alot to push him from that spot.

I think Gado and Taylor are fighting for the 3 spot on the roster, and I give the edge to Gado. I like Taylor more, altough I cant put my finger on exactly why, but I believe Gado has the upper hand comming into a Sherman run offense. Although Taylor could definalty be a project player that comes out of no where after a few years, and given the ages of Green and Dayne perhaps Kubes wants to mold him for another year or two.

I think Walker and Lundy are battleing for the PS, with the edge going to Walker. Lundy show small flashes last year, but I really dont think he will make the team this year.
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Old 06-28-2007   #7
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

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I think Walker and Lundy are battleing for the PS, with the edge going to Walker. Lundy show small flashes last year, but I really dont think he will make the team this year.

Lundy is not eligible for the practice squad and Walker would get picked up by another team.
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Old 06-28-2007   #8
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

Exactly. If a player was a part of the 45-man active roster for 9 games or more, then they are ineligible. Lundy is credited with 14 games.
Practice Squad Eligibility from CBA
Lundy

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Old 06-28-2007   #9
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

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Exactly. If a player was a part of the 45-man active roster for 9 games or more, then they are ineligible. Lundy is credited with 14 games.
Link
MEH i forgot about that.. In that case I see Lundy as cut or traded, which means Walker and Taylor would fight it our for the PS. Either of them would be picked up fairly fast, which could leave us scouring the wires later in the season to pick up a #3 back, in case of injury.

This is unless they decide to use Taylor as a FB and HB and squeeze him in behind Leach. To me this seems a long shot kinda risky type of deal, and if Leach goes down we might be wishing we had Cook back.
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Old 06-28-2007   #10
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

I would also like to point out that Taylor spent the entire 2006 season on the practice squad without being picked up by another team. He played in one game against the Browns, so I doubt he has all of the sudden become a hot commodity to the rest of the league. Both these players went undrafted, so to think that teams will line up to pick them up of the PS seems to be a bit of an overstatement. Could it happen, sure, but it is far from guaranteed.
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Old 06-28-2007   #11
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

Nice topic. But Wonger says Dayne won't even make the team? Poppycock.

Ok, here is the way I see it.

Locks:
Green
Dayne

From there decent to good shot to make it:
Gado
Walker

Long shot:
Taylor

Almost no shot:
Lundy

I think Gado has the inside track due to his limited but proven track record, and the apparent fact that he has had a great offseason.

If for some reason, he does not make it, I view Walker as the likely option due to his ability to be a threat as a pass catching RB, which might make him a nice option on 3rd downs.

I view Taylor as a longshot, but not a no shot. He has an intriging combo of speed and size. But, as mentioned, Kubes is worried about his ball security, and with 3 proven backs, and a nice pass cathing 3rd down back ahead of him, I don't see him making it. In his case, it's a numbers game, and he has no proven track record to fall back on. Good luck to ya Chris. I think he has a chance elsewhere.

Lundy does everything fair, but nothing really good. There is not one piece of his game that stands out in any way. He isn't terrible at anything either, but he can't be a specialist, and he does nothing on an above avg level. I think he is the first cut, and will bounce around the league a year or two, and will likely have to join us blokes in the real world after that.
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Old 06-28-2007   #12
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

USA TOday - May. 29, 2007 - 11:41 p.m. ET

"Chris Taylor has been seeing some work at fullback during OTAs.

It's probably not a full-time consideration, but a way for Taylor to increase his odds of landing a roster spot."

He did not have any fumble while playing in college, in 380+ touches.
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Old 06-28-2007   #13
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

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I would also like to point out that Taylor spent the entire 2006 season on the practice squad without being picked up by another team. He played in one game against the Browns, so I doubt he has all of the sudden become a hot commodity to the rest of the league. Both these players went undrafted, so to think that teams will line up to pick them up of the PS seems to be a bit of an overstatement. Could it happen, sure, but it is far from guaranteed.
A former NFL GM whos name shall be go unmentioned once gave up a second round pick for a college running back who had played all but 4 of his games in college as a DB.
Therefor I wouldn't be at all surprised if another NFL team would cough-up the mere NFL minimum for a back who had an excellent NFL game including a 100 rushing yards.
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Old 06-28-2007   #14
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Nice topic. But Wonger says Dayne won't even make the team? Poppycock.
Probably... but I think that management wants to win now with an eye on the future. If Green gets hurt and Dayne isn't around we're stuck with a few unproven guys and back in the same situation we were in last year. If Green stays healthy and we don't really need or use Dayne while letting a young guy with potential move on, we pay the price 2-3 years from now when they (Green and Dayne) are out of the league. Either way, it's going to be the most exciting training camp that we've had around here in a long time.
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Old 06-28-2007   #15
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A former NFL GM whos name shall be go unmentioned once gave up a second round pick for a college running back who had played all but 4 of his games in college as a DB.
But he has World Bowl Championship ring!!! That's something... right???
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Old 06-28-2007   #16
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

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Lundy does everything fair, but nothing really good.
If he was an o-lineman they'd label him swing and he'd make the team.


Seriously though, I thought it was mistake when they had two fullbacks on the roster last year. Maybe Dayne has an advantage of backing up both RB and FB, or is his size deceiving me and he couldn't do both?
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Old 06-28-2007   #17
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

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If he was an o-lineman they'd label him swing and he'd make the team.


Seriously though, I thought it was mistake when they had two fullbacks on the roster last year. Maybe Dayne has an advantage of backing up both RB and FB, or is his size deceiving me and he couldn't do both?

Good idea, but one of the knocks on Dayne throughout his career is that he never played to his size and physical nature. Now, the exciting part is that the second half of last year, I think Dayne really started to become more of a physical runner. As to his blocking, from what I saw, it was pretty good really. So, all in all, I guess my answer is, I have no idea!
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Old 06-28-2007   #18
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

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Maybe Dayne has an advantage of backing up both RB and FB, or is his size deceiving me and he couldn't do both?
The short answer is no. Size has nothing to do with being a Fullback... it's a mentality more than anything. You have to be a headhunter.
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Old 06-28-2007   #19
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

Good thread topic.

Obviously Green has the starting job if he stays healthy. A really big part of his appeal in this offense is pass protection. His attitude towards picking up the blitz and embracing this responsibility is tremendously positive, and I think the coaching staff will want that mentality to rub off on the young guys.

And I think this will be a facet of these players that will really be scrutinized by this staff. Regardless of how talented a back is at running between the tackles, he will have to hold on to the ball at all costs (another of Kubiak's pet peeves), and consistently be able to protect the QB. They will be looking beyond one-dimensional players, which will weed out some of these guys in the end.

That being said, I won't be surprised if it's Green, Dayne, and probably Gado. Don't know enough about Walker's ability to pick up blitzes, but Lundy and Taylor - both backs I like - didn't seem to show this side of themselves in the limited times that they've played.
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Old 06-28-2007   #20
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Default Re: Most Interesting Position Battle in Texans History

Can't you have players, not on the practice squad, on the team but not on the active roster ?

Anywho I think the order of backs is Green, Dayne, Gado, Lundy, Taylor, Walker....

Green and Dayne 1 and 2 obviously. I think Gado is number three because of his experience, his good camp and because he's proven he can be successful at running th ball in this leauge. I don't know what kind of camps any of these other guys have had, so this is all based on my perception of where they'd be heading into camp. I think Lundy is in the fourth spot because he's been there and done that. He knew coming into this season exactly what areas of his game he had to improve upon, + by him having gotten all that experience last season he understands things that Taylor and Walker won't. If I were the coach, heading into this season I would know exactly what I'd get out of Lundy and while he's not a stud, I know I can depend on him to get in the game and not be a disaster. He's a dependable back that can make some decent runs from time to time.

Next on the list is Taylor. He showed flashes of beastiness last year against the Browns. I think by him having a year of experience and having an idea of what to work on gives him an edge over Walker at this point. I also think the fact that he's explosive, big and runs hard; and has shown capabilities of shredding an NFL defense also gives him the nod over Walker at this time. I think Taylor is better than Lundy, and quite frankly I think he's better than Gado. I think once pre-season starts and they get to see them in games he may quite possibly move up to third on the depth chart. I don't know much about his ability to catch out of the backfield though--but that doesn't mean he can't do it.

Lastly, Walker. I don't see what the hoop law is about this kid other than the fact that he has shown himself to be a decent pass catcher out of the backfield and seems to be a pretty disciplined runner. Not saying I don't like the kid, but I keep hearing that if he is put on practice squad he'll be snatched up (which I don't know to be true--afterall the kid was undrafted) I don't know if a lot of teams will be beating the door down to get him. Maybe, Maybe not. But if he doesn't I honestly don't think it'll be that big a deal. I honestly think the battle between the bottom two RB's will consist of Walker and Lundy. I'm not a huge Gado fan, but I'll wait to see him in pre-season before I reserve judgement.

I think the most potent three backs would be: Green, Dayne, Taylor

I think the most reliable three backs would be: Green, Dayne, Gado
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