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Old 10-20-2007   #1
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Default The center of our running game problems.

Last year, we had no running game until Steve McKinney took over at center. This year McKinney gets hurt and our running game disappears.

I hope the Rick Smith and the coaching staff have some plans on how to get a better push up front. Flannery is not the answer. He remains the finger over the leak in a large dam.

Anybody know if they showed any changes this week in practice?
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Old 10-20-2007   #2
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

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Studdard out: On Monday, Kubiak said that it was time for guard Kasey Studdard to become a more integral part of the team. The rookie from the University of Texas has played in only one game this season, as a reserve against the Falcons.

Unfortunately, Studdard suffered a groin injury during practice Wednesday. The fiery competitor insisted he would be ready for the Titans game, but Kubiak ruled him out on Friday and said he would stick with his regular offensive line rotation.

“I had planned on suiting eight (offensive linemen),” Kubiak said. “I had planned on suiting Studdard, but he’s going to be out for a little while, don’t know how long. So as of right now we’ll suit our seven and do what we’ve normally been doing.”

The injury couldn’t have been less timely for the sixth-round draft pick, who earlier this week described himself as “geeked up” to see the field on Sunday.

“That’s frustrating, but that’s what the game is,” Studdard said. “It’s a physical game. You’ve just got to go out there and, you know, stuff happens. But I’ll be fine. I’m a battler.”
Unfortunately, no changes to the OL this week due to Studdard's injury. I hope he gets healthy soon, because I'm anxious to see what he can do. I think he can bring some intensity to the line.

http://www.houstontexans.com/news/St...?story_id=3809
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Old 10-20-2007   #3
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

McClain was his usual clown self yesterday afternoon. Said Chris White is too small to play C except in Denver. Why doesn't he chat up Kubiak and Smith about freeing up a roster spot since it's so obvious based on weight alone that the kid can't play?
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Old 10-20-2007   #4
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

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Originally Posted by infantrycak View Post
McClain was his usual clown self yesterday afternoon. Said Chris White is too small to play C except in Denver. Why doesn't he chat up Kubiak and Smith about freeing up a roster spot since it's so obvious based on weight alone that the kid can't play?
Everyone knows that you don't have to weigh as much in thin air. Don Knotts could play Center in Denver. In high humidity like Houston you need a 350 pounder....I thought everyone knew this.
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Old 10-20-2007   #5
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

How big was Mark Stepnowski ?
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Old 10-20-2007   #6
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

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Originally Posted by infantrycak View Post
McClain was his usual clown self yesterday afternoon. Said Chris White is too small to play C except in Denver.
I caught that to. Stupid remarks like that is the kinda thing that undermines "Hollywood" McClains credibility with readers on his knowledge of pro football topics.
The roster stats have Flanagan at 16 lbs heavier than White, and the difference looks like its in pure goo as Flanagan is anything but fit in appearance.
I dunno, but my understanding is that an undersized center is most at a disadvantage when hes going up against a 3-4 as he'd often be matched
up head-on to the NT ? I believe our division rivals all run 4-3, so for the most part NP.
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Old 10-20-2007   #7
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

I think the absence of Andre Johnson is also another factor playing into our poor running game. With AJ in the game, teams have to commit an extra defensive back to his side of the field. With Andre Davis and Kevin Walter as our starters, the respect isn't the same from opposing defenses and they can key in on the run by putting an extra guy in the box.

The loss of McKinney hurts, but I think the factor I outlined above is the main reason for our running game falling off the map.
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Old 10-20-2007   #8
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

For what it is worth, I think that the problem with the running game is "all of the above" with AJ's absence, McKinney's injury, Flanny's play, the o-line's lack of a mean streak, and our RB stable all working together to make us the worst running team since... uh... well, in a long time.

AJ being out has hurt for the reasons that checo446 described. So said, I think that as Walter and AD continue to be productive AJ's absence will be lessened in terms of impact to the running game. Defenses have to respect AD's speed even though he's not the playmaker that AJ is. When AJ gets back, though, I can't help but think that it is going to help the run game significantly. I know its not "Moss, Stallworth, Welker" but the troika of "Johnson, Jones, Walter" or "Johnson, Davis, Jones" is actually pretty dang good and should take some of the pressure off of the run game. I hope.

I agree wholeheartedly with the school of thought that McKinney's loss was what primarily derailed our running game. Flanagan is built like a potato with toothpicks shoved in it and appears relatively soft. Now, I'm sure that he could probably tear my arms off and beat me do death with them, but I'm not a Grady Jackson sized NT, either. I have no doubt that Flanny has the brains to make the protection calls, but I do have serious doubts on his ability to kick arse in the trenches. It's the old Matthew 26:41 verse in action: "The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

I was optimistic with regards to seeing Studdard and White in the mix this week but my hopes got deflated when I read Kubiak's statement that he's rolling out the same old stuff for the Tight 'Uns. I've said before (and I'll stand by that statement) that the O-line just doesn't play with a mean streak. Studdard seems to have it based on some of his quotes (can't recall seeing him play) and I don't know squat about White. I do hope, though, that maybe one or both of these young men is as mean as a rattlesnake and can bring some "I'm-going-to-punch-you-in-the-mouth-all-day" attitude to that o-line. I think they need it badly.

I trust Kubiak and Sherman (to an extent) but seeing us get stuffed so many times on 3rd and 1 and unable to come up with a yard makes me think that they need to be working on something a little different. I don't know if that is a shift in playcalling. A shift in personnel. Putting icy hot in jockstraps. I don't know what it is but I'm hoping they'll do something. At work, if we're doing something and its not working, we fall back, regroup and come at it from a different angle. We operate on the mantra of "Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting the outcome to change." That's what I'm consistently seeing since McKinney left. We can't run in the past three weeks and yet we continue to do the same things. I know I'm just a fan and maybe my expectation to see some kind of change is unrealistic. But we're already about 40% of the way through the season and things aren't improving.

Finally, we all know that Ahman was not our running back of the future and that he's a stopgap. He's the only RB that we've had that has shown any kind of RB1 ability and he's also been on the field precious little. Our RB2 and RB3 are non-factors for the most part and can't seem to make anything happen behind that o-line. I know Hunger Pain Dayne did some solid work for us last year against the Colts, but he's been nothing but frustrating to watch this year. Same thing with Samkon. He looked rusty against the Colts and hasn't looked better since then.

In short, I think that we've got so many different things working against our run game that we may not be able to overcome them this season. I'm not saying that the season is lost, but if we continue to play with the same starters, same lame-arse hybrid blocking scheme, and mediocre RB play, we're probably not going to run the ball for more than 60-70 yards a game. That, in turn, is going to let folks key on our WR's, hunt for Schaub's head, and leave our defense on the field for a looooong time every game. It's a bad recipe, and one that I'm hoping that Chef Kubiak will start changing soon.

Just my $0.02 (and that's probably about what its worth)
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Old 10-20-2007   #9
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

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Originally Posted by Honoring Earl 34 View Post
How big was Mark Stepnowski ?
Centers are generally smaller and more flexible than Guards due to their job...so this is the one spot on the line where you don't generally have massive players.
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Old 10-20-2007   #10
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

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Originally Posted by checo446 View Post
I think the absence of Andre Johnson is also another factor playing into our poor running game. With AJ in the game, teams have to commit an extra defensive back to his side of the field. With Andre Davis and Kevin Walter as our starters, the respect isn't the same from opposing defenses and they can key in on the run by putting an extra guy in the box.

The loss of McKinney hurts, but I think the factor I outlined above is the main reason for our running game falling off the map.
If you listen to Kubiak's press conference from earlier in the week, he mentions a play where we should have gotten about 29 yards (instead of 9 yards) on a running play but we didn't because a wide receiver didn't make a block.

I think something that's frequently overlooked is that AJ is a big strong guy and he's a receiver that blocks well. I think this is where Andre Davis hurts us. He's just not as good at blocking.

So, yeah, respecting our recievers in the passing game is an issue but so is how well those receivers block when they're asked to.
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Old 10-20-2007   #11
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

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AJ is a big strong guy ...
Absolutely.

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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
...he's a receiver that blocks well.
I'm not sure I've ever seen him demonstrate this, nor can I recall hearing it discussed. I don't know that I've ever seen him block someone very well; more of a "receiver get in the way" sort of thing.

Anyone remember anything specific and repeated?


Disclaimer. This isn't to say Andre is a bad player. He is the best one on the team.
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Old 10-20-2007   #12
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

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Originally Posted by Runner View Post
Absolutely.



I'm not sure I've ever seen him demonstrate this, nor can I recall hearing it discussed. I don't know that I've ever seen him block someone very well; more of a "receiver get in the way" sort of thing.

Anyone remember anything specific and repeated?


Discalimer. This isn't to say Andre is a bad player. He is the best one on the team.

hes a solid blocker........ does it right, he just isnt asked to do it alot. im sure they like to let him run as a decoy most of the time, cuz of all the atention he gets....
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Old 10-20-2007   #13
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

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Originally Posted by Runner View Post
I'm not sure I've ever seen him demonstrate this, nor can I recall hearing it discussed. I don't know that I've ever seen him block someone very well; more of a "receiver get in the way" sort of thing.

Anyone remember anything specific and repeated?


Discalimer. This isn't to say Andre is a bad player. He is the best one on the team.
I'd rank him as an above average blocker, but not nearly as good a blocker as his physical skills say he should be.
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Old 10-20-2007   #14
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

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Originally Posted by Runner View Post
I'm not sure I've ever seen him demonstrate this, nor can I recall hearing it discussed. I don't know that I've ever seen him block someone very well; more of a "receiver get in the way" sort of thing.

Anyone remember anything specific and repeated?


Discalimer. This isn't to say Andre is a bad player. He is the best one on the team.
I thought I had read something to that effect. But.. there is no way I could remember where I read it at this point.
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Old 10-20-2007   #15
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

For a WR to be noted as an effective downfield blocker, wouldn't the running game have to generate some plays that actually got downfield?

I'm just askin'....

...and hence, the lack of recent evidence
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Old 10-20-2007   #16
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

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Originally Posted by ObsiWan View Post
For a WR to be noted as an effective downfield blocker, wouldn't the running game have to generate some plays that actually got downfield?

I'm just askin'....

...and hence, the lack of recent evidence
He coul dblock for another receiver too.
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Old 10-20-2007   #17
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Old 10-20-2007   #18
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

I've seen Andre get after a few times...

I think he's one of the better blocking wideouts in the game...
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Old 10-20-2007   #19
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

IIRC, he has said it is one of the things he really likes to do. Fairly good at it. Not devastating, but gets the job done.
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Old 10-21-2007   #20
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Default Re: The center of our running game problems.

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McClain was his usual clown self yesterday afternoon. Said Chris White is too small to play C except in Denver. Why doesn't he chat up Kubiak and Smith about freeing up a roster spot since it's so obvious based on weight alone that the kid can't play?
You know, I was just thinking. Maybe we should create a roster spot and sign McClain to play center. I mean he is 350 isnt he? He should be a star center for us!
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