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Old 08-10-2007   #1
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Default Mathis & Travis Johnson

After reading the Chronicle article I got the thought, "which player playing at the top of his potential will benefit Texans most?" Two different positions, but both are very important. Each has competition and until TC an arguement could have been made that neither would be on the roster. An injury at the DT position can be a problem even with a good deep roster. You can win without strong returns, but a shortened field pumps up the offense and increases odds of scoring. Both have to produce, but that can be said for every player on the field. Your thoughts?
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Old 08-10-2007   #2
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

I have to pick TJ. Could you imagine our defense if our #1's playd like #1's?
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Old 08-10-2007   #3
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

A Jerome Mathis is irreplaceable. TJ in the rotation would be nice, but is he a necessity with weaver, okoye, maddox, et. all being able to play inside? I think Kubiak is undervaluing Mathis and what he can bring to the table. Great field position, special teams scoring, gamechanging ability...i think you find a roster spot for that. He is a pro bowl caliber return man. Keeping a 3rd tight end, or 8th defensive lineman, or anything else is kind of ridiculous to me. KR is a specialty position, and throwing away a great one because you have a decent one that can also play another position is stupid to me. we know what Mathis can do when healthy. Thats worth it to me.
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Old 08-10-2007   #4
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

I'm going to cheap out and not pick one. The thing about Mathis is that he seems to be developing as a WR as well as a KR. That makes him extra valuable because he can change the game at a moments notice.

But as Old School said, if our #1s played like #1s then... hold on as I wipe the drool off... our DLine would just be sick. The idea of TJ and Okoye dominating inside with Mario screaming off the edge would just be awesome. Is it a pipe dream? Well we won't know until the game starts, but it's definitely a possibility.

The thing is, it's critical that these guys make career changes. It's easy to motivate a guy in the short term, but if he goes back to what he was in a couple of weeks, then it didn't do much good. We won't know the real answer until later in the season and perhaps next season. If they're still driving and hungry then, then I'll REALLY be happy.
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Old 08-10-2007   #5
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

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Originally Posted by swtbound07 View Post
A Jerome Mathis is irreplaceable. TJ in the rotation would be nice, but is he a necessity with weaver, okoye, maddox, et. all being able to play inside? I think Kubiak is undervaluing Mathis and what he can bring to the table. Great field position, special teams scoring, gamechanging ability...i think you find a roster spot for that. He is a pro bowl caliber return man. Keeping a 3rd tight end, or 8th defensive lineman, or anything else is kind of ridiculous to me. KR is a specialty position, and throwing away a great one because you have a decent one that can also play another position is stupid to me. we know what Mathis can do when healthy. Thats worth it to me.
^^^^

I couldn't agree with this more. The only way I'd lose Mathis is if he wasn't healthy and couldn't contribute. If he is healthy, I really don't care that he can line up at WR. It would be nice, but there is something to be said for having one of the top two KRs in the NFL.
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Old 08-10-2007   #6
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

If Mathis is one of our best recievers I'd rather have him getting more tick at reciever and returning kick-offs occassionally.
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Old 08-10-2007   #7
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

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Originally Posted by Vega View Post
I'm going to cheap out and not pick one. The thing about Mathis is that he seems to be developing as a WR as well as a KR. That makes him extra valuable because he can change the game at a moments notice.

But as Old School said, if our #1s played like #1s then... hold on as I wipe the drool off... our DLine would just be sick. The idea of TJ and Okoye dominating inside with Mario screaming off the edge would just be awesome. Is it a pipe dream? Well we won't know until the game starts, but it's definitely a possibility.

The thing is, it's critical that these guys make career changes. It's easy to motivate a guy in the short term, but if he goes back to what he was in a couple of weeks, then it didn't do much good. We won't know the real answer until later in the season and perhaps next season. If they're still driving and hungry then, then I'll REALLY be happy.
Vega, I think it is important to note that athletes enjoy the applause that comes for their efforts as we all know. These two guys answered Kube's challenge. That was good for me as I was thinking neither really cared enough about football (a certain former UT RB comes to mind). I hope that as these two start to realize that fans will go nuts over their success it will keep their motors running.
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Old 08-10-2007   #8
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

I agree that Jerome Mathis is a great player and if he can keep from breaking down I think he might see the pro bowl again but the original post ask "which player playing at the top of his potential will benefit the Texans the most". I think that if TJ played up to first round potential that it would benefit the Texans more. There would most likely be less substitution at the DT spot because they wouldn't want to keep a "playmaker" off the field for too long. I think they would both be outstanding assets if they were playing at their potential, it's just that I can imagine what it would be like to watch our defensive line destroy Manning or that other guy in Tenn.
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Old 08-10-2007   #9
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

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Originally Posted by swtbound07 View Post
A Jerome Mathis is irreplaceable. TJ in the rotation would be nice, but is he a necessity with weaver, okoye, maddox, et. all being able to play inside? I think Kubiak is undervaluing Mathis and what he can bring to the table. Great field position, special teams scoring, gamechanging ability...i think you find a roster spot for that. He is a pro bowl caliber return man. Keeping a 3rd tight end, or 8th defensive lineman, or anything else is kind of ridiculous to me. KR is a specialty position, and throwing away a great one because you have a decent one that can also play another position is stupid to me. we know what Mathis can do when healthy. Thats worth it to me.
SWT, I'm leaning your way. A DT can make a stop, tip a pass, recover a fumble or sack/pressure the QB; yet a 20 yards + run gets me up and dancing around the living room. (Now that's a sight most will want to forget). The play of the Dline can bring satisfaction but a long gain by return or a pass imo pumps up the team and the audience even more. What will be ridiculously good is if Mathis can become an adequate receiver.
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Old 08-10-2007   #10
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

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Originally Posted by swtbound07 View Post
A Jerome Mathis is irreplaceable. TJ in the rotation would be nice, but is he a necessity with weaver, okoye, maddox, et. all being able to play inside? I think Kubiak is undervaluing Mathis and what he can bring to the table. Great field position, special teams scoring, gamechanging ability...i think you find a roster spot for that. He is a pro bowl caliber return man. Keeping a 3rd tight end, or 8th defensive lineman, or anything else is kind of ridiculous to me. KR is a specialty position, and throwing away a great one because you have a decent one that can also play another position is stupid to me. we know what Mathis can do when healthy. Thats worth it to me.
Great post. Could not agree more
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Old 08-10-2007   #11
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

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Originally Posted by Old School View Post
I agree that Jerome Mathis is a great player and if he can keep from breaking down I think he might see the pro bowl again but the original post ask "which player playing at the top of his potential will benefit the Texans the most". I think that if TJ played up to first round potential that it would benefit the Texans more. There would most likely be less substitution at the DT spot because they wouldn't want to keep a "playmaker" off the field for too long. I think they would both be outstanding assets if they were playing at their potential, it's just that I can imagine what it would be like to watch our defensive line destroy Manning or that other guy in Tenn.
Take this one step further. If all our dline guys perform at top of their potential and disregarding injuries for now, pick your line.

Mario Williams- whoo ee!
Babin: could get ten sacks
Cochran: looked good last season, could break out this one
Thomas J: see above
Travis J: could develop into a 10-12 year player
Kalu: could be his last season but with fewer plays could have monster year
Killings:Looked good at times and could become a solid back up
Maddox:could be a starter this season. Pretty good for what he cost
Malone: Did ok for a guy from Troy. Could be a solid back up.
Weaver: Could be a quiet assassin this season.
Zgonina: A very solid player who can still push the oline back.
Okoye: Rookie of the year.
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Old 08-10-2007   #12
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

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Originally Posted by swtbound07 View Post
A Jerome Mathis is irreplaceable. TJ in the rotation would be nice, but is he a necessity with weaver, okoye, maddox, et. all being able to play inside? I think Kubiak is undervaluing Mathis and what he can bring to the table. Great field position, special teams scoring, gamechanging ability...i think you find a roster spot for that. He is a pro bowl caliber return man. Keeping a 3rd tight end, or 8th defensive lineman, or anything else is kind of ridiculous to me. KR is a specialty position, and throwing away a great one because you have a decent one that can also play another position is stupid to me. we know what Mathis can do when healthy. Thats worth it to me.
Totally agree. It's a bit disconcerting to hear that they favor medicore dual use players over a single use player that is a difference maker. Just ask Chicago if they want to get rid of Devin Hester. If Mathis is healthy, he makes the roster period.

As to which one would have a bigger impact if both realize their potential, it's Mathis in a landslide. Again, see Bears, Chicago circa 2006.
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Old 08-10-2007   #13
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

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Totally agree. It's a bit disconcerting to hear that they favor medicore dual use players over a single use player that is a difference maker. Just ask Chicago if they want to get rid of Devin Hester. If Mathis is healthy, he makes the roster period.

As to which one would have a bigger impact if both realize their potential, it's Mathis in a landslide. Again, see Bears, Chicago circa 2006.
I think they do know that, but are just saying what they are saying to motivate Mathis and it seems to be working too. By saying that they don't want someone who is just a specialist, they are pushing Mathis to become a better receiver. If they said that they are fine with him being just a specialist, he would have no motivation to become a better receiver. They see his potential and want to light a fire under him.
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Old 08-10-2007   #14
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

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I think they do know that, but are just saying what they are saying to motivate Mathis and it seems to be working too. By saying that they don't want someone who is just a specialist, they are pushing Mathis to become a better receiver. If they said that they are fine with him being just a specialist, he would have no motivation to become a better receiver. They see his potential and want to light a fire under him.
im agreeing with you IF its a motivational technique...if they would really rather keep a dual use player, then im going to go ahead and say they are foolish. How great a receiver was dante hall? Yeah...thats what i thought.
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Old 08-10-2007   #15
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

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im agreeing with you IF its a motivational technique...if they would really rather keep a dual use player, then im going to go ahead and say they are foolish. How great a receiver was dante hall? Yeah...thats what i thought.
How about this angle?...

I can see the coaching staff's desire to make Mathis a better receiver. However, I don't necessarily think they want him to be the #2 or #3 WR though. How about using him as a decoy for about 5 offensive snaps a game?

If Mathis develops into a legitimate receiving threat, just think of the nightmares opposing DCs would have. When he steps onto the field in a trips formation, they would have to account for him.

However, his primary job should still be KR/PR. That's his bread and butter.
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Old 08-10-2007   #16
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

Thats a hard question because they arent just two different positions but opposite sides of the ball.

Mathis as a KR.. Obviously every team out there wants what he brought his rookie year. One thing about KR is that rarely continue to produce the same results every year. Many returners in the league have one good year and thats it. Sometime you will see one that has 2-3 awesome years in 5, and stays at least consistent and maintains average or slightly above average return yards over their career. Starting at the 25 is better than starting at the 20 any day though.

Many people dont put as much stock into special teams play as the rest of the team. And if they do it is only the KR/PR that they pay attention to. Unlike some teams we have a dedicated ST coach.

Mathis as WR.. Here is big Q. Team rosters are small. Not even big enough to carry a 3rd string for all positions. It is possible that Mathis will have another Pro Bowl season at KR, but is also possible for him to slip into the average/above average KR role that many players do. At that point it becomes imperative that he bring something else to the table.

Beyond that Offences need explosiveness. Players that can come out and make big plays, players that other teams have to worry about, players that demand more than one defender dedicated to them. AJ is one of these guys. He will almost always have 2 defenders, right on him or at least cover support almost right on top. Put Mathis, the burn guy, on the other side, and make the team have to worry about him actually cathing the ball after he outruns the CB, and your offence is now a step closer to becomming more explosive.

TJ on the DL.. Here is where you will always have conflicting opinions. Def vs Off. Which came first the chicken or the egg. TJ is the type of DL that can gt penetration. This means runs brought down behind the line, pass plays broken up, QB pressure, and QB sacks. No man in the trenches can do it all, but one man in the middle can make the whole line better. They are often under appreciated, but they are the disruptive force that demands double teams freeing up other defenders.

If TJ can disrupt the run game, mix up the pass pocket, demand doubles, and allow the DE (Babin, Weaver, Williams) to beat a single man and snach a QB moving out of the way of the DT; is it better than a WR catching a 40 yard pass? What if his penetration disrupts the QB enough for a int? The opposition doesnt score and the Offence gets back on the field to try again.

I think it is really apples and oranges. Teams can get fired up from big plays on both sides of the ball; ints, sacks, fumble recoveries, big stops, long passes, long runs, TD's.

At this point it is what would help the Texans more. I say Mathis because I believe that we have a DL that is at least solid without TJ, and our Off needs help more. Mathis does bring average/abover average KR yards (at the least) if not stellar KR performances. If Mathis can step up and prove that he is ready to take his football career farther and play some solid WR then all the better.
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Old 08-10-2007   #17
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

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Just ask Chicago if they want to get rid of Devin Hester.
They are moving him the WR spot this year and incororating him into the off alot more. Like I said previously, they can only hope for another KR year like last year from him, but history tell them to start looking ahead.
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Old 08-10-2007   #18
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

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im agreeing with you IF its a motivational technique...if they would really rather keep a dual use player, then im going to go ahead and say they are foolish. How great a receiver was dante hall? Yeah...thats what i thought.
I agree. I think that all things being equal, they would prefer a dual use player (who wouldn't?), but Mathis is not just an ordinary specialist. He is an amazing KR, which is why I think that this is more motivational towards him. For example, if it we were talking about JJ Moses instead of Jerome Mathis, I think he would be gone because he is one dimensional, but since Mathis is such a good KR, and has so much potential as an overall player, they are using this to push him to be better.

Mathis is safe if he is healthy.
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Old 08-10-2007   #19
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

It'd help the team out more if Mathis could develop into a quality reciever.
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Old 08-10-2007   #20
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Default Re: Mathis & Travis Johnson

I have to go with TJ, dline is like the backbone of possiblities for any team, it all starts there, and TJ has also shown he is probably one of our stronger run stoppers in the middle, a great compliment to Okoye's potential as a middle pass rusher. Having said that, I think we never get rid of Mathis unless he cant perform due to injury/conditioning problems. I would even go so far as to say I would rather limit Mahtis in the WR role as to not aggrivate his obviously taxed hammies.
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