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Old 08-28-2007   #41
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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Originally Posted by Double Barrel View Post
I never said that.

I just don't think the sky is falling when I see the line play. Ask yourself why we still have three linemen from the 2002 squad, yet so many other positions have experienced turnover. Are the coaches blind to what you think you see as obvious?

Or, could it be somewhere in the middle. Not the greatest, not the worst, but an average line that can still be good enough for a solid RB and QB to work behind? Of course there is room for criticism, like every position on the team.

Imagine compromise. Not everything is black and white.
I have actually said similar to many of my friends. IMO, Pitts would start for most, if not all, teams in the NFL. McKinney would probably start for most. Weary has improved over the past couple of years and might start for quite a few teams now. But none of these guys are great - solid, average guys that would work well in a good system.

The problem is, most good O-lines have one or maybe two stellar linemen that improve the play of those around him. For some teams, that's the left tackle, but for others, it's a different guy. I would argue that it's Saturday for the Colts, as opposed to Tarik Glenn, for example. Regardless, the point is that we don't have that one guy. We have a few average guys that have been asked to learn a new system every year or couple of years.

I don't think this O-line will be average, but I do think Schaub will make them look better than they actually are. And in this particular area, I do not like the mentality of aspiring to mediocrity.
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Old 08-28-2007   #42
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

Good post, eriadoc.

Just curious, though, what measurement(s) would you use to distinguish between a 'mediocre' line and an 'average' line?

If Green has a 1,000-1,200 yard season?

If Schaub is sacked less than 25 times this season?

I ask because many seem to have a logic that the line operates independently from the team.

And I mention this because Runner said "I used to think the Cowboys of the mid 90's had a great line." Would it have been as great of a line with David Carr and Ron Dayne behind it? I think having multiple HoF players at skill positions makes a huge difference, as well. We've only had one true playmaker in AJ, and the rest have been mediocre to downright horrible players.

If Shaub makes the line look better than they actually are, then doesn't this same logic apply to other teams, too?

I'm not sure our staff is "aspiring to mediocrity", but rather working with what we've got at the moment. With the problems Kubiak & Co. inherited (i.e. $30 million in dead cap, craptastic QB, etc.), I think they are addressing the more pressing areas first. Obviously they do not see the o-line as being as sorry as many make it out to be, or they would have moved to upgrade it in the off-season accordingly.
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Old 08-28-2007   #43
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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I'm not sure our staff is "aspiring to mediocrity", but rather working with what we've got at the moment. With the problems Kubiak & Co. inherited (i.e. $30 million in dead cap, craptastic QB, etc.), I think they are addressing the more pressing areas first. Obviously they do not see the o-line as being as sorry as many make it out to be, or they would have moved to upgrade it in the off-season accordingly.

IMHO, O-lines are pretty generic around the NFL....

People write off our linemen and have already labled them 'mediocre' or 'bad', which I think is crazy because most people maybe average 1 or 2 plays they look at the O-line per game...if that....

Last year we had an injured, fat Ron Dayne in the backfield along with a late round Rookie, and an overweight injured Gado...Yeah, it's the line'ss fault our running game suffered....

I'm not going to even start with the passing game because I think David Carr was terrible and he single handedly has the ability to kill any offense...Especially an offense not filled to the brim with pro-bowlers...

Give the O-line a chance...Most of you guys wanted to hold off judgement on Carr till he got a better line....Why don't you hold off judgement on the line now that David is gone???....Lets see how our line performs with a better RB, in Green, and QB in Schaub....With some offensive explosion in Jacoby....

Of course they still need help, but to act as if they are dragging the team down or are terrible is a stretch IMO....Those guys up front are all ball players...
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Old 08-28-2007   #44
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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Originally Posted by Double Barrel View Post
Good post, eriadoc.

Just curious, though, what measurement(s) would you use to distinguish between a 'mediocre' line and an 'average' line?

If Green has a 1,000-1,200 yard season?

If Schaub is sacked less than 25 times this season?
To me, there aren't really any indicative stats of line play. Our line has always done pretty well in the running game, and I think most linemen prefer run blocking. Going out and smacking someone in the teeth is preferable to sitting back and waiting to get smacked. The pass pro on this team has always been subpar-to-terrible, however. They are two different beasts.

I watch plenty of football games in which the Texans are not involved. I watch to see how the line forms a pocket for the QB. I compare that to how our team does, and I have seen a consistent disparity between what our guys accomplish and what other teams accomplish. And I don't just refer to elite teams. Our guys simply do not pass block very well, irrespective of what the QB or RBs do. Just because the line doesn't pass block well on any given play doesn't mean it's a busted play, nor does the reverse apply. But teams that consistently keep pressure away from the QB more often than not simply do well over a full season. So I am pretty much watching how the line, as a unit, keeps the opposing team's front four at bay (I try to make the distinction on blitzes).

The other two areas that I see problems with in our O-line (again, no stats) are footwork and communication. I am no expert on NFL line play, so you can disregard everything I say, but again, I see the way other teams' line aligns themselves beside each other. The spacing is not as consistent from our guys, and the difference between passing and rushing plays is sometimes so evident from the line's positioning, that you can call rush or pass just as they set. If I'm picking that up as a fan, you can bet opposing coaches and players are picking up on it.

On the communication, I see plays where it's fairly evident that there was a miscommunication (example: Eric Winston vs. Cowboys). That stuff happens to all teams, but with our team trying to build consistency, it does seem to happen to us a fair bit more than most teams. I don't worry too much about this stuff, because it got better as the year progressed last year, and it's a coaching thing. I have a great deal more confidence in this staff than the last, so I don't worry too much about that aspect. But I see it, nonetheless, and it is a measure of where they are as a unit.

Most of my observations have been from the past three seasons, as I really didn't start analyzing line play for the first couple, just buying the stock excuse of a poor O-line. I do think a better line would have, and will in the future, help this team more than any other aspect, but that doesn't mean I blame all the woes on them. It's just one of the most important areas of any NFL team, and largely ignored by most fanbases. So all of this is just based on my observations and opinion and could very well be full of dung. Take it FWIW. But I do not base my opinion on stats, because the O-line is the unit that can least be measured by stats.

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Originally Posted by Double Barrel
I'm not sure our staff is "aspiring to mediocrity", but rather working with what we've got at the moment. With the problems Kubiak & Co. inherited (i.e. $30 million in dead cap, craptastic QB, etc.), I think they are addressing the more pressing areas first. Obviously they do not see the o-line as being as sorry as many make it out to be, or they would have moved to upgrade it in the off-season accordingly.
The same could be said for the secondary. Personally, I think they are just addressing things as they see the opportunity, since it's not like they are just one or two pieces away from a SB. The opportunities haven't really been there for O-line, short of what they've done, so we'll see how it goes. I'm not going all Chicken Little on this; I'm just pointing out what I see.
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Old 08-28-2007   #45
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I watch plenty of football games in which the Texans are not involved. I watch to see how the line forms a pocket for the QB. I compare that to how our team does, and I have seen a consistent disparity between what our guys accomplish and what other teams accomplish.
I seriously think folks just need to pay more attention...

Good pass rushing defenses are going to get pressure on just about everybody...otherwise they wouldn't be considered good pass rusing D's...

When you have guys like Jason Taylor and Joey Porter coming off the edge, unless you have Tarik Glen at one tackle and Walter Jones at the other, chances are one of those guys is going to get some heat on your QB...

Just about every team has a good pass rusher...Look around the league...

DE's don't become famous and gain notierity because a majority of teams around the league are "forming great pockets" or what ever it is you said.....

Merriman isn't Merriman if most teams are forming great pockets....


I wonder when this concept of QB's dropping back everytime and sitting in the middle of this crescent shaped fortress came about...Teams are going to get pressure...that's just a fact of life...It's a combination of things that will determine whether or not a team will be successful against that pressure...

Think about it....In order to get pressure, all you have to do is bring one more guy than an offense has blocking...That's not even taking into acount a guy like Jason Taylor flat out beating his guy.....TEAMS WILL GET PRESSURE....


You say you watch other teams...well, I don't believe it...

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Old 08-28-2007   #46
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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The same could be said for the secondary.
No....it can't.


You don't put your franchise QB behind a line you think will get him killed.
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Old 08-28-2007   #47
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Cool Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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One of the most pleasant things to see as a fan of this team was all the guys celebrating together...The guys really seem to like one another...

That is one of the signs of a winning football team....Guys that like eachother...

I saw everybody congratulating everybody....That was really nice to see...
I have NEVER seen the swagger this team has now - before, during, and after the game. Kept me in my seat until the final ticks of the clock, even though it was a preseason game!
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Old 08-28-2007   #48
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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DE's don't become famous and gain notierity because a majority of teams around the league are "forming great pockets" or what ever it is you said.....

Merriman isn't Merriman if most teams are forming great pockets....


I wonder when this concept of QB's dropping back everytime and sitting in the middle of this crescent shaped fortress came about...Teams are going to get pressure...that's just a fact of life...It's a combination of things that will determine whether or not a team will be successful against that pressure...
No one said teams are always going to get a perfect pocket. Likewise no team is always going to get good pressure. We lose more battles than we win in the trenches, at least for now. And no one said the protection is going to hold up for a great deal of time. Take a look at the Jacoby Jones TD pass in the Cowboys game. Schaub had to scramble out and make a play. That's what good QBs do. The pocket on that play was very good though. That doesn't mean it's going to hold up for long enough that Schaub can have tea and crumpets back there. Go back and compare the pocket that the team formed on that play to most of the rest of the first half and you should see what I'm saying.

Jesus, it seems like when anyone tries to make a point on here, it has to be 100% all the time, in absolutes. Of course defenses get pressure. Of course there are elite defensemen that consistently get pressure. That doesn't mean they get there every play. If the trench play swings definitely in favor of one team, their chances of victory go up. It's not a black and white absolute like you're trying to make it sound.

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Think about it....In order to get pressure, all you have to do is bring one more guy than an offense has blocking...That's not even taking into acount a guy like Jason Taylor flat out beating his guy.....TEAMS WILL GET PRESSURE....
And you'll note that I specifically said I try to account for blitzing in my evaluation. Furthermore, if we can force a team to blitz to get pressure, we've already swung the pendulum our way. That leaves the LBs and secondary a bit more vulnerable, which a good QB/WR/RB group will exploit. Things understood shouldn't need to be explained.

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You say you watch other teams...well, I don't believe it...

I'm not sure I believe that you watch the O-line with a critical eye, but whatever. I really don't care what you believe. DB asked what my criteria were, and I explained my viewpoint. Believe what you want.
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Old 08-28-2007   #49
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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I watch plenty of football games in which the Texans are not involved. I watch to see how the line forms a pocket for the QB. I compare that to how our team does, and I have seen a consistent disparity between what our guys accomplish and what other teams accomplish. And I don't just refer to elite teams. Our guys simply do not pass block very well, irrespective of what the QB or RBs do. Just because the line doesn't pass block well on any given play doesn't mean it's a busted play, nor does the reverse apply. But teams that consistently keep pressure away from the QB more often than not simply do well over a full season. So I am pretty much watching how the line, as a unit, keeps the opposing team's front four at bay (I try to make the distinction on blitzes).
I watch a lot of NFL, as well, and even more now with NFLN.

I see consistent play from offensive lines that have a solid QB and know what he's going to do on a given play. These guys still get beat, too, which is why even the 'best' lines give up sacks and hurries from time to time.

But it takes time to develop the bond within an offense between the line and skill players. There is an intuition that must be developed through repetition and trust is built from on-field situations.

We have had anything but consistency from our QB the past five seasons, and this has a direct correlation to what our line is about. Over time, I think you will see a line emerge in front of Schaub that will solidify into something dependable.

I'm not blaming YKW for everything, but his inability to be a decent QB does bear some connection to the protection breakdowns. When a QB is unable to read defenses or feel the pressure, linemen have no idea what to expect from such erratic play.

I don't think a QB can make a line look better as much as he can help them be better. But, it is a matter of reaching potential that already existed, IMO.
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Old 08-28-2007   #50
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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I watch a lot of NFL, as well, and even more now with NFLN.

I see consistent play from offensive lines that have a solid QB and know what he's going to do on a given play. These guys still get beat, too, which is why even the 'best' lines give up sacks and hurries from time to time.

But it takes time to develop the bond within an offense between the line and skill players. There is an intuition that must be developed through repetition and trust is built from on-field situations.

We have had anything but consistency from our QB the past five seasons, and this has a direct correlation to what our line is about. Over time, I think you will see a line emerge in front of Schaub that will solidify into something dependable.

I'm not blaming YKW for everything, but his inability to be a decent QB does bear some connection to the protection breakdowns. When a QB is unable to read defenses or feel the pressure, linemen have no idea what to expect from such erratic play.

I don't think a QB can make a line look better as much as he can help them be better. But, it is a matter of reaching potential that already existed, IMO.
I don't completely share your optimism, but I don't think we're as far apart as it might sound. A solid QB does make a world of difference. And people tend not to bother watching the line when the offense is functioning. Every team does get beat; I am nowhere close to saying otherwise. I just don't think our line, as a unit, is very good at pass pro. Whether that is something that they can be coached into remains to be seen. I am optimistic about Winston, and I have high hopes for Studdard. I like Pitts and Weary. McKinney and Flanagan, on pass pro, worry me. Salaam has his ups and downs. I think, regardless of the level of coaching or QB play that occurs, we are still at least one good lineman away from being a consistent offense, assuming Winston matures as I expect. At this point, we do not have the consistency in pass pro where it needs to be.
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Old 08-28-2007   #51
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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I don't think a QB can make a line look better as much as he can help them be better. But, it is a matter of reaching potential that already existed, IMO.
sure they can make a line look better. When Weary or Pitts is chipping or pushing a guy left...you don't step left. Linemen don't have eyes in the back of their head so they have to rely on the QB to read the body language. Apparently some QB's can read a d, read the passrush and make a decision about stepping forward, to the side or making the quick hot read. All QB's get pressure...not all of them can handle the pressure. The good ones make their lines look better in small ways. Guys like Carr can make their game work in pristine conditions, but once he has to start making rapid fire decisons with lots of variables down field and right in front of them they take the easy throw or continually put themselves in poor positons.
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Old 08-28-2007   #52
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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sure they can make a line look better. When Weary or Pitts is chipping or pushing a guy left...you don't step left. Linemen don't have eyes in the back of their head so they have to rely on the QB to read the body language. Apparently some QB's can read a d, read the passrush and make a decision about stepping forward, to the side or making the quick hot read. All QB's get pressure...not all of them can handle the pressure. The good ones make their lines look better in small ways. Guys like Carr can make their game work in pristine conditions, but once he has to start making rapid fire decisons with lots of variables down field and right in front of them they take the easy throw or continually put themselves in poor positons.
Maybe I'm just not getting the idea of a QB making the line look better vs. the idea of the QB helping them be better....maybe it's saying the same thing with different words...

For instance, in your above example, CP is pushing the guy left no matter, that's a given. What the QB does in response can be the difference in looking like CP got beat or missed his assignment and looking like he's doing a decent job of pass protection. The QB makes a bad decision and gets sacked, the line gets blamed, regardless of the decision to go the wrong way or inability to react to pressure.

Perhaps 'looking better' is the same as 'being better', because what the QB does in the pocket is the defining difference between success and failure.

And I completely agree with the rest of your post. The consistent QB allows his line to trust him and understand where/how he is likely to respond to a given situation, so they can react accordingly. The cohesiveness and communication between QB and line is something that seems to be forgotten by a lot of folks.
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Old 08-28-2007   #53
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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sure they can make a line look better. When Weary or Pitts is chipping or pushing a guy left...you don't step left. Linemen don't have eyes in the back of their head so they have to rely on the QB to read the body language.
I really like this point by Vinny. Most of what I am referring to in my O-line posts is during the inital setup and QB drop. If there's a decently-formed pocket when the QB hits that back foot, then the O-line has done a great job at giving the QB an opportunity to succeed. They're not going to hold up all day, but a decisive QB won't let it get much further eyond that point.
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Old 08-28-2007   #54
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Go back and compare the pocket that the team formed on that play to most of the rest of the first half and you should see what I'm saying.
That's the problem. You have no clue what you're talking about nor looking for.

Every pass play doesn't call for a pocket, and every pocket doesn't need to be made at the same depth...As a lineman you need to know how many step drops the QB is going to take on a given given pass play because it changes how you need to set up to defend the angle the pass rusher will be taking...That's why every pocket isn't going to form into that pretty pocket a QB can step up into...Normally those kind of pockets come on 7 step drops...On 5 step drops the pocket will be a little uglier and on three step drops there may be no pocket at all....Not going to go into bootlegs and play actions because that should be self explanatory...And yet at the same time you DO have to REACT to what the defenders do....You can't just form a pocket and hope the defense just perfectly goes man on man...be serious....

The line isn't as bad as you think it is...You should actually pick out an individual lineman and watch them for a couple series...Then move on to the next one...then the next one...and so one...When you finish watching the fifth guy and none of them have played terrible you should ask yourself how is it that they can have good individual performances but (in your mind) perform badly as a whole....The answer is, they can't....

And you can believe that I judge the offensive line with a biased eye if you want....That's your perogative...But at the same time it's no coincidence that most of the same people who thought Carr was a good QB behind a bad line are still the ones complaining about the line...Go figure....
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Old 08-28-2007   #55
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

IMHO - The line looks 'marginally' better. Whether that's due to another year of implementing / practicing the current scheme, or the addition of Schaub to not exacerbate the problems that are there (or likely a combination of both) I'm not sure about. I did notice the spacing issue mentioned previously, as I could predict pass/run far easier than I should be able to. This isn't as evident on TV camera angles as it is from an end-zone view...where it was at times just GLARING.

My Dad (Aggie that he is) focused on watching McKinney under center and pointed out him getting man-handled like we've seen before in pass-protection. In run-blocking, we still look vastly better than we do when trying to maintain a pocket...better in fact than the Cowboys themselves did on Saturday.
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Old 08-28-2007   #56
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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Originally Posted by xtruroyaltyx View Post
That's the problem. You have no clue what you're talking about nor looking for.

Every pass play doesn't call for a pocket, and every pocket doesn't need to be made at the same depth...As a lineman you need to know how many step drops the QB is going to take on a given given pass play because it changes how you need to set up to defend the angle the pass rusher will be taking...That's why every pocket isn't going to form into that pretty pocket a QB can step up into...Normally those kind of pockets come on 7 step drops...On 5 step drops the pocket will be a little uglier and on three step drops there may be no pocket at all....Not going to go into bootlegs and play actions because that should be self explanatory....
Well, duh. If you honestly believe that I don't already know all that, then this conversation is not worth having with you.

As for the Carr comment, this conversation has nothing to do with Carr, as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 08-28-2007   #57
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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Originally Posted by disaacks3 View Post
IMHO - The line looks 'marginally' better. Whether that's due to another year of implementing / practicing the current scheme, or the addition of Schaub to not exacerbate the problems that are there (or likely a combination of both) I'm not sure about. I did notice the spacing issue mentioned previously, as I could predict pass/run far easier than I should be able to. This isn't as evident on TV camera angles as it is from an end-zone view... where it was at times just GLARING.

My Dad (Aggie that he is) focused on watching McKinney under center and pointed out him getting man-handled like we've seen before in pass-protection. In run-blocking, we still look vastly better than we do when trying to maintain a pocket...better in fact than the Cowboys themselves did on Saturday.
I guess I'm not the only one that notices these things. Be careful what you say about the O-line - the Carr commentary will start getting slung your way.
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Old 08-28-2007   #58
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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Originally Posted by xtruroyaltyx View Post
That's the problem. You have no clue what you're talking about nor looking for.
That's uncalled for. Not to mention incorrect. How are you going to have a decent discussion with other members when you throw out stuff like that?
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Old 08-28-2007   #59
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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Well, duh. If you honestly believe that I don't already know all that, then this conversation is not worth having with you.

As for the Carr comment, this conversation has nothing to do with Carr, as far as I'm concerned.
Oh o.k...

So you knew that when the QB does a play fake, whether it's a bootlegg or not, some of the linemen may or may not be selling the run...

And That the deeper a QB drops back the more of a pocket he'll have to step in to....

And there will be many plays where defenders are purposely left unblocked...

If you knew that I'm not understanding how you're judging the line based on how the pocket looks...

New england and Indy and some other teams you watch are going to have more 'nice looking pockets' simply because there playbooks and styles of offense call for it...Also with those offenses that have those vertical based passing games the lineman they aquire will reflect that....

I've been on teams that heavily emphasized pass blocking and they were going to make sure that the O-line pass blocking was down to a science...No detail un-turned....That's because we were a heavy passing team....

And then I've been on teams that weren't as tedious with the pass blocking because we were a different kind of offense...We ran different schemes and therefore we needed to be 'perfect' in other areas....

It's not fair to compare Indy's O-line to Pittsburgs O-line because they aren't the same kind of team...You can't compare St. Louis to Denver....

Denver and Indy both have good O-lines IMO yet if you look at their games you will obviously see things that one teams O-line does better than the other and Vice versa...You may see "more nice looking pockets" formed by Indy's line whereas you will see great run blocking from Denver....

We have three young nice O-linemen that are talented enough to be really good to great in this system in Pitts, Weary and Winston....I believe McKinney is a solid Veteran, and I believe Salaam is a solid Veteran....

We have good talent up front...I'm more worried about them playing as a unit and not making mental errors than I am with the talent we have up there at this point....

Schaub has looked good, running Houston's offense with Linemen and weapons that fits Houston's scheme....

The line will be o.k....

Last edited by real; 08-28-2007 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 08-28-2007   #60
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Default Re: Texans/Cowboys game observations

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That's uncalled for. Not to mention incorrect. How are you going to have a decent discussion with other members when you throw out stuff like that?

Ehhh, I've heard worse...

And it wasn't incorrect....atleast not IMO.
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