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Old 12-31-2007   #21
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

This is what Lance Z said about the offensive line:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Z
Offensive Line - C+ : I'm going to let you know right now that I am dying to give this unit a B- because they allowed only 22 sacks (tied for fifth fewest in the league) despite playing with a backup caliber LT and without Steve McKinney for most of the year. When Fred Weary went down they still plugged right along. Eric Winston went from being a problem on the field last year to the best player on the line. Ephraim Salaam got hammered by the fans quite a bit, but that guy was a trooper all year. He isn't good enough to handle the better edge rushers in the league, but I thought he did much better than expected this year. Pitts was good at the beginning, but had some issues especially in protection. His biggest problem right now that I see is that he's a veteran but he still gets fooled by some of the twists teams throw at him. He needs to pick it up next year. I think Weary will have his hands full hanging onto his spot next year and I don't expect Mike Flanagan to still be on the team (even though I thought he hung in better than expected this year). The line as a whole was okay in the rushing game, not great, but with a better running back they will look much better.
(Winston - A- / Weary - C / Pitts - C+ / Flanagan - C- / Salaam - C+)
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Old 12-31-2007   #22
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

O-line is showing flashes of brilliance, especially from Winston. But they continue to give up penalties and Salaam is beaten bad. The quick-release system works well for this team. My grade for them is mediocre at best. A lot of work has gone into overcoming the offensive line.

As far as Rick Smith saying that LT will be a priority, I'm not disagreeing with posters here, but I've heard a variation of that just about every year of the Texans' existence. I still roll my eyes when I see Matt on the sidelines and remember back to Kubiak apparently telling him that protecting the quarterback would be a priority. I think by "protecting the quarterback" what was meant was "you need to release the ball fast enough to not get mauled."
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Old 12-31-2007   #23
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

Quote:
Weary - C / Pitts - C+ / Flanagan - C- / Salaam - C+)
Salaam and Flanagan are what they are ... old guys who are a year or two away from retirement .

What about Weary and Pitts ... are they chronic C's or can they get better ?
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Old 12-31-2007   #24
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

I give the O-line a C overall grade. If we improve at Center and Left Tackle the unit could be perhaps an A-. I think we should consider using the first and third picks of the draft on LT and C. That would give as a very solid line, something like

Clady - Pitts - Wallace - Brisiel - Winston

We should also have Jordan Black compete at RG. He has played there before and is a better RG than LT. We still have Spencer and Salaam for backup LT so Black can switch back to guard.
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Old 12-31-2007   #25
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

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I give the O-line a C overall grade. If we improve at Center and Left Tackle the unit could be perhaps an A-. I think we should consider using the first and third picks of the draft on LT and C. That would give as a very solid line, something like

Clady - Pitts - Wallace - Brisiel - Winston

We should also have Jordan Black compete at RG. He has played there before and is a better RG than LT. We still have Spencer and Salaam for backup LT so Black can switch back to guard.
I'd like to see Weary back as well. Also, don't forget Studdard. He is a solid G.
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Old 12-31-2007   #26
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

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Originally Posted by Honoring Earl 34 View Post
Salaam and Flanagan are what they are ... old guys who are a year or two away from retirement .

What about Weary and Pitts ... are they chronic C's or can they get better ?
I think Weary and Pitts are what they are...average at best. You put them next to an elite O-lineman then they will also look good and the OL as a whole will look good because they wont hurt you. But they wont be visiting Hawaii much after the season.
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Old 12-31-2007   #27
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

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I'd like to see Weary back as well. Also, don't forget Studdard. He is a solid G.
Weary is no longer under contract, and he sustained a season ending injury. Brisiel filled in nicely, I really see no reason to resign Weary. We have Pitts, Brisiel, Black, Studdard, Spencer, White already on the roster, all of these guys could play guard for us. There is no reason to go after Fred.
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Old 12-31-2007   #28
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

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Originally Posted by Mr PC View Post
I give the O-line a C overall grade. If we improve at Center and Left Tackle the unit could be perhaps an A-. I think we should consider using the first and third picks of the draft on LT and C. That would give as a very solid line, something like

Clady - Pitts - Wallace - Brisiel - Winston

We should also have Jordan Black compete at RG. He has played there before and is a better RG than LT. We still have Spencer and Salaam for backup LT so Black can switch back to guard.
OK ... I'm going deep .

Clady - Faneca - Eslinger - Spencer - Winston

Faneca comes for a two year contract to be close to Richmond .

Salaam and Brisiel are backups . We get a 5th round pick for Pitts .
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Old 12-31-2007   #29
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

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OK ... I'm going deep .

Clady - Faneca - Eslinger - Spencer - Winston

Faneca comes for a two year contract to be close to Richmond .

Salaam and Brisiel are backups . We get a 5th round pick for Pitts .
Sure it would be nice to have Faneca but that would prevent the Texans from making other free agency acquisions in the secondary and running back positions, which are bigger needs than guard. I think we have pretty solid depth at guard already. How about Spencer and Pitts competing at LG, Brisiel and Black competing at RG, with Studdard on the practice squad.
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Old 12-31-2007   #30
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

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Sure it would be nice to have Faneca but that would prevent the Texans from making other free agency acquisions in the secondary and running back positions, which are bigger needs than guard. I think we have pretty solid depth at guard already. How about Spencer and Pitts competing at LG, Brisiel and Black competing at RG, with Studdard on the practice squad.
Well ... Black could'nt get on the field this year .

Pitts has been a part of a bad line since the beginning ... he's not going to all of a sudden turn all pro . He's always been just ok .

Who are we going to get in free agency to fill DB/RB . The 49ers dropped a ton of money on Nate Clements and the Patriots thank them .
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Old 12-31-2007   #31
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

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Well ... Black could'nt get on the field this year .

Pitts has been a part of a bad line since the beginning ... he's not going to all of a sudden turn all pro . He's always been just ok .

Who are we going to get in free agency to fill DB/RB . The 49ers dropped a ton of money on Nate Clements and the Patriots thank them .
J. Black couldnt get on the field as a left tackle, but at right guard he would make for an acceptable starter or at the very least, a good backup. I think Pitts would look much better if he wasnt sandwiched in between Salaam and Flanagan. Also Spencer could try to take Pitts spot as the starting LG.

As for free agency defensive backs, my two main targets are SS Gibril Wilson and CB Randall Gay. Neither of these guys will break the bank, and both would be immediate contributors on defense.
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Old 12-31-2007   #32
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

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J. Black couldnt get on the field as a left tackle, but at right guard he would make for an acceptable starter or at the very least, a good backup. I think Pitts would look much better if he wasnt sandwiched in between Salaam and Flanagan. Also Spencer could try to take Pitts spot as the starting LG.

As for free agency defensive backs, my two main targets are SS Gibril Wilson and CB Randall Gay. Neither of these guys will break the bank, and both would be immediate contributors on defense.
My thought is , if Black could have helped anywhere ... they would have played him .

You could'nt get Gay / Faneca or Wilson / Faneca .

I'm not a big Pitts guy . I think Faneca would bring in a Kirk Gibson like presence to the team .
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Old 12-31-2007   #33
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

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My thought is , if Black could have helped anywhere ... they would have played him .
If we had played Black as a guard, there would have been nobody left to play backup LT. Now, with Weary gone, it would make sense to move Black back to RG, he's had some success in that role before. Salaam and/or Spencer can take over as the backup LT, assuming the Texans draft Clady/Baker/Oher in the first round.

The Texans could probably sign both CB Gay and SS Wilson for the same amount it would take to sign OG Faneca. Safety and cornerback are much bigger needs than guard at this point. I wont be surprised if next season Faneca is playing in his hometown of New Orleans.
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Old 12-31-2007   #34
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

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If we had played Black as a guard, there would have been nobody left to play backup LT. Now, with Weary gone, it would make sense to move Black back to RG, he's had some success in that role before. Salaam and/or Spencer can take over as the backup LT, assuming the Texans draft Clady/Baker/Oher in the first round.

The Texans could probably sign both CB Gay and SS Wilson for the same amount it would take to sign OG Faneca. Safety and cornerback are much bigger needs than guard at this point. I wont be surprised if next season Faneca is playing in his hometown of New Orleans.
I thought Butler became the swing tackle ... funny we have'nt mentioned him . Black was deactivated .

I would'nt sign Faneca unless it was a Texan friendly contract . That's why I said I was going deep .
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Old 01-01-2008   #35
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

The O-line played well at times this year, and poorly at times. The problem is that they weren't inconsistent due to inexperience. They were inconsistent because they just aren't that good. The youngest starter is Winston, and he really was our best lineman all year. Going into TC next year, his would be the only job I'd call safe, if I were the coach. Salaam is what he is - a journeyman backup that can give some quality depth, but shouldn't be a starter. Flanagan is past his prime, and was very up and down over the course of the season. Weary was just OK until he got hurt. Brisiel showed some potential, but in limited playing time. Pitts is never going to be that Pro Bowl caliber guy, but he can be good with good guys around him. All in all, the line did perform much better this year than any year before, but that's like saying they can limbo the St. Louis Arch. Ooooh .....

They gave up QB pressures all year, but our current pair of QBs did a great job of moving in the pocket, thus making them look better than they actually were. We need a left tackle (keep Salaam, though!), and a center. I think the guard spots can be held down by someone from the Spencer/McKinney/Weary/Pitts/Brisiel/Studdard/Frye group, and maybe draft a guard/center prospect in the 5th round this year and/or sign a FA.
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Old 01-01-2008   #36
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

The problem with judging our o-line's improvement over the years is that for the last 5 years we've had a QB that would just assume the fetal position every time a defender would come within 10 ft. of him. Our o-line has never been great, but it has improved marginally. If only just because they are blocking for a QB that can actually get rid of the ball. Overall though, I would say that our o-line needs more talent. Plain and simple. Steve McKinney is getting up there in age and is going to be returning for his 10th season off of a serious injury. I'm not sure how much gas he has left, but I'm not really willing to risk it. I am certainly not willing to accept Flanagan as the best Center we have. We ought to invest in someone new. Perhaps draft one in the later rounds. Also, I don't know what the Chron has been smoking...but Salaam did NOT have a good season. He let Schaub get creamed from his blind side 4-5 times this season, one of which took him out for the season. There is also no use in awaiting the breakout of Charles Spencer, there is no guarantee that he'll ever be back. Don't pull another Boselli, get a real LT. Finally, Chester Pitts is not going to cut it. He's a great guy, but only an average lineman. We could do much better and should. I am actually pleased with the right guard and tackle positions. Brisiel has shown us that he is the real deal, and actually better than Weary, White, and Studdard. I would like to see him back next year. He and Winston are a very solid pair and it shows when we run to the right. At the end of this year, I would say that our o-line is a shaky D+.
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Old 01-01-2008   #37
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

Every time they matched up against elite DT's on top of their game they got crushed. If they spent every pick in the bag on o-lineman and came up with eight who could play , I wouldn't gripe.

We've seen mediocre so long it's starting to look good. This scheme hides a lot of warts. Salaam is a house of cards waiting to crash in on itself. I'm not swallowing "the 22 sacks indicates we are there" hook. Studard and Frye are both unproven comodities. And so is Spencer.

# 65 was a beast between the twenties. He got crushed in the red zone.
He got jamed up so bad on the goal line the last game I though they would need a come along to pull his head out of the bind it was in.

Faneca is going to be looking for a payday. He won't be cheap. Last elite FA gaurds signed very big contracts. What was it sixty million for Hutchinson and Dockery ? That money is going to do nothing but go up. Are you posting you want to sign Faneca for sixty million with twenty to thirty up front ? I'm against signing anyone close to the thirty line out of hand. It always turns into a cap disater for us.


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Old 01-01-2008   #38
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

22 sacks is what it is. People who refuse to get excited about being 5th best in the sacks department are just victims of this teams history. We've got offensive linemen at various phases of development and of varying quality. That doesn't mean we're lousy, it means we're like most of the teams in the NFL. Sure our scheme hides warts. Every single offense in the NFL is designed to maximize the talent they have on hand. For example just the presence of Peyton Manning hides warts in Indianapolis. He's like the "Anti-Carr" or something. Sorgi comes in and their line looks like warm vomit in an instant. Carolina has a good line unless Mr Mittens comes in to play and then it becomes terrible. Their "scheme" doesn't allow for a QB who holds on to the ball too long. The Colts "scheme" doesn't allow for a QB who can't read a defense and find an open receiver in 1.5 seconds.

When we started the year and all of our linemen were healthy we saw games where the QB was consistently well protected. Were there breakdowns? Of course there were. A couple of times every game somebody got through and wreaked some havoc. That happens to every single QB in the NFL not named Peyton Manning.

Looking at our roster I see the following.

Centers
Greg Eslinger
Chris White
Steve McKinney
Drew Hodgdon
Mike Flanagan

Eslinger I know nothing about but White did ok in very limited action before getting hurt. McKinney was having maybe his best year before he went down. Drew Hodgdon is only here because McKinney and White are on IR and I expect him to maybe get a courtesy invite to camp but not much else. Mike Flanagan wasn't doing too bad by the end of the year but he sure looked scary early on. It's no matter, he's very likely gone following this season. I'll be shocked if he can make this team next year.

Despite McKinney playing well we need to upgrade this position. We need to do it bad enough that I'm starting to buy into all the Eslinger hype/speculation. It's probably wishful thinking but I'd like to believe that he could be the guy.

Guards
Mike Brisiel
Kasey Studdard
Chester Pitts
Dan Stevenson
Scott Jackson
Fred Weary

I didn't think Brisiel did too poorly in his four games. He's a practice squad coach him up kind of guy and he looks like potential quality depth to me and nothing more. Kasey Studdard is probably going to be a little better than that but I don't believe he's got much more ceiling than that. Another quality depth type guy at best. Chester Pitts I thought did an ok job this year and doesn't have any trouble finding a job the day the Texans release him. He's failed to become that potential Pro Bowl LG we were always told he could be. I bought into that but I no longer see the point in that experiment. Pitts is a LT and isn't the same player inside. Scott Jackson is another young guy like Brisiel and Studdard. More quality depth that you might be able to coach-up into something. Fred Weary was having a solid season before breaking his leg and I think we should make every effort to try and hang on to him. He's a very good starting RG.

Tackles
Jordan Black
Rashad Butler
Brandon Frye
Ephraim Salaam
Charles SpencerEric Winston

Jordan Black is more "depth" than "quality depth" and I am still trying to figure out how this guy rates a free agent contract but Seth Wand could be "neck and neck" with Spencer last year to start the season but gets cut. Butler I am very curious about considering he was a Panthers 3rd rounder and was cut a year later. What's the deal there? Did they have Charlie Casserly consulting on that draft? Brandon Frye rounds out this bunch of guys who are all players who intrigue you but who you don't want to see starting if it can be avoided. I don't think there are any answers in this bunch. Maybe a couple of reliable backups between Frye and Butler but Jordan Black was a waste of cap space (little as it might have been). Salaam is a 10 year veteran who should be taking up that backup spot at this point and who hopefully won't make the team by 2009. For now I can't complain about the job he did but I do not want to see him starting next year. He'll likely be a better player than whatever rookie we throw in there at the start of the season but we must fill this LT spot once and for all. Draft one and get on with it. The sooner we start his training the better. Eric Winston is our RT and I'm perfectly happy with that. He is good enough to start for many teams right now and will continue to improve.

We truly need to find a LT and and C. Apart from that we're fine and will continue to improve at the pace we're going. We were not a disaster this year. We did not look bad in pass protection or in run blocking. We finally look like we belong on the field with the other team.
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Old 01-01-2008   #39
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

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Originally Posted by Hervoyel View Post
22 sacks is what it is. People who refuse to get excited about being 5th best in the sacks department are just victims of this teams history. We've got offensive linemen at various phases of development and of varying quality. That doesn't mean we're lousy, it means we're like most of the teams in the NFL. Sure our scheme hides warts. Every single offense in the NFL is designed to maximize the talent they have on hand. For example just the presence of Peyton Manning hides warts in Indianapolis. He's like the "Anti-Carr" or something. Sorgi comes in and their line looks like warm vomit in an instant. Carolina has a good line unless Mr Mittens comes in to play and then it becomes terrible. Their "scheme" doesn't allow for a QB who holds on to the ball too long. The Colts "scheme" doesn't allow for a QB who can't read a defense and find an open receiver in 1.5 seconds.
I agreed with all of your post but I want to voice my opinion stating that I think the line looked better than it actually is. I know there were a lot of injuries suffered, which makes it a lot more difficult to really judge how good the starters are. However, I think both of our QB's took some really nasty hits (not just the ones that injured them), especially while they were getting rid of the ball. I'm willing to bet that we probably rated a lot lower than top 5 in the league for QB hurries and deflections allowed. And honestly, I think once we have QB's that aren't hurried on 50 - 60% of the passing plays they run, you'll see another big leap in improvement at the QB spot.

Also our run game, for the most part, was stinky poo. You can easily attribute this to mostly backups and rookies playing RB, but I think our line just couldn't be counted on to get that 1 or 2 yard push off the line to give the RB's some help. McKinney going down really amplified this though, but I do agree that C, and then LT are perfectly reasonable needs to be addressed this offseason.

All in all, I'd give the Oline a B for this season. They battled through some tough injuries, and have had to play at least 2 of the scarier defensive lines 4 times this season. They get credit for hanging in there, but it's time for some young blood and talent to be infused here.
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Old 01-01-2008   #40
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Default Re: How do you rate the O-line?

I give the Oline a C.

Vastly improved.. but still woefully under-talented and inconsistent.

For everyone who says our Oline looks good, id direct you towards that stretch at the beginning of the season when we didnt have Andre Johnson and Schaub was getting flattened on a regular basis.

the 22 sacks is great.. I love that we have had something resembling real protection this year. We still need to do alot better to have a top 5 offense though..and its going to take a top 5 offense to make the playoffs in this division.

Oline should be our #1 priority this offseason.
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