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Old 04-17-2008   #21
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

Well thought out and well written post, TC. As always. Kudos.

But I fundamentally disagree with it because, IMO, you got it all bassackwards.

A team has never . . . and never will, get an "identity" until they are successful. You will never see what the philosophy is, until they are successful. If your defense is yes, 30, 31, and 32 in the league, then naturally you're not going to see any "identity" or any "philosophy". What's curious though, even though there are obvious references to the injuries, lack of talent, and lack of experience, why are those not taken into account when evaluating Richard Smith?

And it's real easy to find an "identity" and "philosophy" on the Colts, Steelers, and Patriots, being since they are playoff teams and all. Can you find any "identity" or "philosophy" on the teams that had losing records last year?

If Mario, Amobi, TJ, and the rest of the defense starts playing well because of the addition of talent and experience, would that mean the Richard Smith finally came up with a "philosophy", and the team gets an "identity"?

Player talent and experience is naturally highly underrated, because there are no shortcuts. But coaching and philosophy are naturally highly overrated, because there are.

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Old 04-17-2008   #22
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
A team has never . . . and never will, get an "identity" until they are successful. You will never see what the philosophy is, until they are successful. If your defense is yes, 30, 31, and 32 in the league, then naturally you're not going to see any "identity" or any "philosophy". What's curious though, even though there are obvious references to the injuries, lack of talent, and lack of experience, why are those not taken into account when evaluating Richard Smith?

And it's real easy to find an "identity" and "philosophy" on the Colts, Steelers, and Patriots, being since they are playoff teams and all. Can you find any "indentity" or "philosophy" on the teams that had losing records last year?

If Mario, Amobi, TJ, and the rest of the defense starts playing well because of the addition of talent and experience, would that mean the Richard Smith finally came up with a "philosophy", and the team gets an "identity"?

Player talent and experience is naturally highly underrated, because there are no shortcuts. But coaching and philosophy are naturally highly overrated, because there are.
I actually agree with this.
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Old 04-17-2008   #23
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

I now y'all might not climb on the TC bus, but the truth is we are not a defined defence. (y'all wont believed how hard that was to type when pissed) We need to develope a knock then snott of you mentality. Mother Pucker who goes acosse the middle. If we had knivi:mshadows: es I would inveserate them. But, well, that's just me.
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Old 04-18-2008   #24
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
Well thought out and well written post, TC. As always. Kudos.

But I fundamentally disagree with it because, IMO, you got it all bassackwards.

A team has never . . . and never will, get an "identity" until they are successful. You will never see what the philosophy is, until they are successful. If your defense is yes, 30, 31, and 32 in the league, then naturally you're not going to see any "identity" or any "philosophy". What's curious though, even though there are obvious references to the injuries, lack of talent, and lack of experience, why are those not taken into account when evaluating Richard Smith?

And it's real easy to find an "identity" and "philosophy" on the Colts, Steelers, and Patriots, being since they are playoff teams and all. Can you find any "identity" or "philosophy" on the teams that had losing records last year?

If Mario, Amobi, TJ, and the rest of the defense starts playing well because of the addition of talent and experience, would that mean the Richard Smith finally came up with a "philosophy", and the team gets an "identity"?

Player talent and experience is naturally highly underrated, because there are no shortcuts. But coaching and philosophy are naturally highly overrated, because there are.

I see your point but I believe you are wrong. I don't see "identity" the same way as philosophy, which I see as more scheme-what talent you value oriented.

I'm not talking about identity--that a dominating defense is known for its style of play. I am just talking basics. What attributes are valued by the defense at different positions? If you can compare the Texans defense to some other defenses in the league, when the Texans have all their pieces and parts, who would they most resemble?

I've asked that last question to people from reporters to coaches to fans, and never really get any good answers. I don't have a good answer to that because I have no idea what the heck they are trying to do on defense.

Tony Dungy along with Monte Kiffen installed a very specific defense at Tampa Bay before TB became good. He installed his philosophy of defense with the Colts when he went to the Colts.

When Kubiak came to the Texans, he had a very specific philosophy for the team's offense that you could see right away, even though they were not a successful team, and it didn't work all the time and he didn't have all the right personnel. You could see it when they drafted and when they acquired personnel.

You could also see the scheme making players better than the collection of random talent.

(You could also see that when offensive philosophies collided Green Bay/Denver, it maybe didn't create such a good direction as it related to acquiring offensive linemen/running backs).

My point is this:

Either:

a. The Texans do not have a clearly identifiable defensive philosophy and they are just making stuff up as they go along.

b. The Texans defense does have a specific philosophy but that it hasn't been articulated very well to the fanbase, and the real form of it hasn't been seen on the field due to injuries and inexperience.

We have repeatedly been told that a lot of things have been simplified down because of problems in the secondary and inexperience up front. They did end up mixing it up in the front a little. Originally, Smith unleashed his defense at the beginning of 2006, and it was so bad and so confusing to the players, that Kubiak had to step in and help the defensive side of the ball out.

You might think that "a" above is ridiculous, and that no NFL team would do such a thing. Of course, the Texans didn't have much of a rational offensive philosophy in its early years. At first, they were doing stuff that wasn't working because of personnel. Then they simplified it down. Capers did some tinkering. And eventually this evolved to the awful Palmer/Pendry mishmashed train wreck that resulted in 2005.

The defense philosophy I have seen so far is completely reactionary. That from week to week, their game plan has been to not do the thing that sucked so bad the week before.


Quote:
With the line it seems like they want big, athletic guys. Franklin addresses that in this interview by saying they want big guys that can move, and that is reflected in the linemen they field. There is not a big difference in size from our DE to our DT. Our DE are all around 280 lbs with the exception of Kalu (265 lbs) and Mario (291 lbs). Our DT are all 290lbs-300lbs. Our starting linemen are 291 lbs 305 lbs 302 lbs 280 lbs. Big, athletic linemen.
By NFL standards those aren't big linemen. The Jaguars, for example, have carried some big DTs. Albert Haynesworth with the Titans is what I would consider a big DT.

But my question about the defensive roster is, are we picking guys to suit our system (whatever the heck that is) or are we picking guys because we are just making do with the best we can get in a short period?


But going back to my original point, I think this goes to an NFL bias I have. I believe the best teams in the league have a staff that works well together, and believes in the same distinct philosophy. That it is no surprise that some of the best coaching changes happen when a head coach comes to a team with a lot of "his disciples" to help him mold his vision for the team. And that teams have a harder time when they have a staff that has a mismash of philosophies.

It is hard enough for a team to come together behind a way of doing things if the coaching staff doesn't know what their way of doing things is. Having a proven philosophy/scheme of the way you do things means that you know that it works. It's been battle tested.

This is one of the reasons why I was skeptical about the Sherman/Kubiak mix of WCO. And it is one of the reasons why I wonder about the defense.

Of course, the Texans have huge personnel deficits on defense. You only need to look at how few players are left from the 2005 roster. We have years of draft picks who are no longer are on the team but would be in the primes of their careers if they were any good. And as you know, I am willing to be patient for player development, and I don't go off the handle about that stuff.

But....you can't tell me you don't have any concerns about an unproven defensive coordinator, who has never had any success building a defense from scratch, who has made a number of questionable decisions, whose defense craters if he tries to unleash it to what it is "supposed to look like," and whose defense is ranked in the bottom of the league for two years in a row.

I do not think coaching and scheme is overrated. In the modern salary cap era of player movement and relying on young players in key positions, you need coaches who can install a proven scheme the players can understand quickly, so that they can just get on the field and play. Yeah, the Texans need more talent, but talent can be wasted if you don't get the right guys for what you are trying to do. That they compliment each other and suit your scheme.

Coaching changes can make a huge difference to a team, for better and for worse.
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Old 04-18-2008   #25
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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I'm not talking about identity--that a dominating defense is known for its style of play. I am just talking basics. What attributes are valued by the defense at different positions? If you can compare the Texans defense to some other defenses in the league, when the Texans have all their pieces and parts, who would they most resemble?

I've asked that last question to people from reporters to coaches to fans, and never really get any good answers. I don't have a good answer to that because I have no idea what the heck they are trying to do on defense.
Tony Dungy along with Monte Kiffen installed a very specific defense at Tampa Bay before TB became good. He installed his philosophy of defense with the Colts when he went to the Colts.
Referring to the statement in bold . .

Do you have an idea what the Patriots, Steelers, and Colts are trying to do on defense? I know that their defenses are successful, but specifically tell me what each of those teams are "trying to do on defense". Tell me what each of those "philosophies" are.

Are you looking for things like "46 defense" like Buddy Ryans, or "Tampa 2" or something?

I don't know why an "aggressive 4-3" is not an appropriate scheme. But you you have to have your multiple million dollar defensive line get pressure on the quarteback, right? Which is something they haven't consistantly done. And you have to have better secondary play. Need I mention DeMarcus Faggins? And you have to not be so depleted by injuries, that you're forced to play rookies. (what I guess you call "dumbing down")

Again, I'm observing that make you make note of the player/talent/injury/experience issues, but it seems that you still don't take them into account regarding Richard Smith.

Bottom line TC, I just get the feeling your mind is already made up about Smith. He didn't come in here with a proven track record of success, therefore, he won't be successful here.

I think he deserves a little bit more time.
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Old 04-18-2008   #26
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

My only thing about not having a defined defensive philosophy is that we play different teams every week...

We cannot play the Colts the same way we play the Jags, and we Can't play Vince the same way we play the Browns....

Every defense changes up how they play week to week and the less talent you have, the more you have to compensate with those changes...

We haven't had the kind of talent on our defense that would allow us to dictate a game defensively....Our LB corp is below average...Our D-line is just starting to come together and I need not mention the secondary...

Don't blame Franklin, blame the previous regime for leaving a jumbled mess that needs to be sorted out...How could he have put together a unit that has defined itself with what we have out there ?

Let these guys have their time to try and sort it out...
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Old 04-18-2008   #27
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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By NFL standards those aren't big linemen. The Jaguars, for example, have carried some big DTs. Albert Haynesworth with the Titans is what I would consider a big DT.

But my question about the defensive roster is, are we picking guys to suit our system (whatever the heck that is) or are we picking guys because we are just making do with the best we can get in a short period?
I should have said bigger DE and smaller DT. Honestly I don't see much difference in personnel preference between the offensive and defensive lines. They want athletic guys that can move. If they can find a bigger guy that is still capable of moving (parallel between Spencer and Mario) then they'll take him. But obviously, they don't want a guy that cannot move around the field.

I don't know. Their personnel preferences don't seem to fit any conventional schemes, but that doesn't mean there isn't one. Apparently they want an athletic line that can get to the QB and big, physical DB that can press. In addition to that they want smart LB who makes plays. I don't know what kind of philosophy, or scheme, or whatever that translates into but it seems like a pretty clear pattern to me.
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Old 04-18-2008   #28
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

And you can't compare the offensive side of the ball (identity wise) with the defensive side...

Defenses tweak the way they play week to week based on offensive personnel and style, not the other way around...
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Old 04-18-2008   #29
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
I don't know why an "aggressive 4-3" is not an appropriate scheme. But you you have to have your multiple million dollar defensive line get pressure on the quarteback, right? Which is something they haven't consistantly done. And you have to have better secondary play. Need I mention DeMarcus Faggins? And you have to not be so depleted by injuries, that you're forced to play rookies. (what I guess you call "dumbing down")

Again, I'm observing that make you make note of the player/talent/injury/experience issues, but it seems that you still don't take them into account regarding Richard Smith.

Bottom line TC, I just get the feeling your mind is already made up about Smith. He didn't come in here with a proven track record of success, therefore, he won't be successful here.

I think he deserves a little bit more time.
totally agreed.
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Old 04-18-2008   #30
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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Referring to the statement in bold . .

Do you have an idea what the Patriots, Steelers, and Colts are trying to do on defense? I know that their defenses are successful, but specifically tell me what each of those teams are "trying to do on defense". Tell me what each of those "philosophies" are.

Are you looking for things like "46 defense" like Buddy Ryans, or "Tampa 2" or something?

I don't know why an "aggressive 4-3" is not an appropriate scheme. But you you have to have your multiple million dollar defensive line get pressure on the quarteback, right? Which is something they haven't consistantly done. And you have to have better secondary play. Need I mention DeMarcus Faggins? And you have to not be so depleted by injuries, that you're forced to play rookies. (what I guess you call "dumbing down")

Again, I'm observing that make you make note of the player/talent/injury/experience issues, but it seems that you still don't take them into account regarding Richard Smith.

Bottom line TC, I just get the feeling your mind is already made up about Smith. He didn't come in here with a proven track record of success, therefore, he won't be successful here.

I think he deserves a little bit more time.
I think we are talking past each other some.

Where did I say bring out the pink soap for Richard Smith? The main premise of my article is that going into year three of Smith, it is amazing that we don't have a better sense of the players he covets for what his ideal defense would be. That doesn't mean he has no philosophy, though it clearly isn't a proven one because he hasn't run a 4-3 defense before.

It just means the defense is a question mark to the fans, and two years of bad defensive performances makes you uneasy for the future because you are unsure of his direction. Other than bad, because every time it seems he wants to unleash his defense, they have to simplify it again because bad things happen.

And of course, I acknowledged the youth, inexperience and injuries, but you know what, that happens all over the league. You have to draft and acquire players to your strengths, to your scheme.

Let's say you were asked to write up a wiki article about what the Texans offensive philosophy and scheme were and the Texans defensive philosophy and scheme.

Sort of what this wiki freak did with the New England Patriots here.

It would be easy for me to write the part about the Texans offense. Because it is well known what they are trying to run and you can see it on the field, even if it isn't complete.

What would you write for the defense? The Texans run an aggressive 4-3? Nope. The Texans want to run an aggressive 4-3 when they get all their pieces and parts together? I'm not saying that isn't appropriate, but I am just saying that doesn't tell you anything. It's vague. That doesn't mean anything. It doesn't say how they run their secondary or their line. It doesn't say how often they want to blitz, and how well disguised the blitzes are going to be.

When the Texans are done with their perfect defense, will it look like the Eagle's version aggressive 4-3, with quick undersized linemen, physical secondary, a premium put at the linebacker position, and blitzes from all over the place? Who knows.

As it relates to Richard Smith, I would love him to have success. But it is easier to preach patience to me if a guy has more of a track record. To be honest, my complaint as it relates to this is probably more towards the mainstream media to articulate what we are supposed to be seeing on the field. Did you know that Travis Johnson was considered the perfect guy to be next to Amobi Okoye before listening to that interview? Not me.

I pay attention to this stuff because I want to know what the ideal player would be for a Texans defense and what I am supposed to be seeing. It makes it more fun for me to watch the game. I would like to watch the defense without being in constant fear that they are going to give up yet another big play to an aging or inexperienced quarterback.

The biggest change from that awful last year defense to this year is a couple of players, another year in the system whatever that is, and some seasoning. Does this mean we go from the bottom of the league to even average by next year? It makes me worry.
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Old 04-18-2008   #31
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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And you can't compare the offensive side of the ball (identity wise) with the defensive side...

Defenses tweak the way they play week to week based on offensive personnel and style, not the other way around...
The offensive game plans get adjusted too, depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the defenses you are facing. It's all matchups.

You have a sense of the type of team you are playing from week to week, but every week the offenses and defenses look to exploit matchups.
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Old 04-18-2008   #32
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

Here's what I've picked up about our scheme:

1. We want to get pressure from the front four alone and only blitz on occasion.

2. We want to play press man coverage. Although we played a lot of zone during stretches last season, by the end of the season, we were playing more press coverage.

3. We want our DB's to generally be responsible for a side of the field and not switch, e.g., we have a right and left CB and we have a right and left safety.

4. We want tweener safeties so that they don't have to switch sides of the field based on alignment and function as either free or strong safety based on the play.

5. Our LB's appear to normally be in a read/react mode. The mike is frequently left in charge of the deep middle zone similar to a tampa 2.

6. We drop our d-linemen into coverage. That includes DT's as well as DE's. We especially like to do this as our "prevent" style of defense.

Those were just some things I noticed during the year but there are people on this MB who know more about the x's and o's than I do.
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Old 04-18-2008   #33
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

i think those are good general observations. the only thing i can think of differently is the coverage. i still felt like our "big aggressive CB's" when in man were still kind of read and reacting as well. it would have been nice to see where we would be if Dunta had stayed healthy and Bennett had progressed as he did. I feel like Bennett was much better at this "aggressive press coverage" thing than any other corners we had on the field.

i'm not convinced that our "tweener" safeties are skilled enough to perform the tasks required of them. but i do see that they are a certian type of player. they all seem like SS's that are a bit "tweenish". and i do see that our DLine has a certian direction.

I think the most talked about, repeated and reiterated thing over the Richard Smith / Kubiak era has been "we want to get pressure on the QB from our front four". How exactly that translates to the LB's and DB's i'm not sure exactly but I do think that, in part, is the defense style that we run
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Old 04-18-2008   #34
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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it would have been nice to see where we would be if Dunta had stayed healthy and Bennett had progressed as he did. I feel like Bennett was much better at this "aggressive press coverage" thing than any other corners we had on the field.
That's an excellent point. Robinson and Bennett started only one game as a tandem (in Oakland), and Dunta went down in the 1st Quarter. Just how much improvement would the defense have made with those two on the field together over the 2nd half of the season?

Regarding the safety spots, I'm very interested in how the two Brandons (Harrison & Mitchell) progress during the mini camp and training camp. I remember these guys lining up together in last year's camp thinking they could be the starting combo down the road. They looked like Tampa 2 will LBs. I can't wait to see Ray Rhodes work with them.
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Old 04-18-2008   #35
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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Did you know that Travis Johnson was considered the perfect guy to be next to Amobi Okoye before listening to that interview? Not me.
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Of course, there's no point in Franklin dumping these guys in the grease because Weaver's cap situation is bad, and the Texans aren't likely drafting Dlineman high yet again.


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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
Here's what I've picked up about our scheme:

1. We want to get pressure from the front four alone and only blitz on occasion.

2. We want to play press man coverage. Although we played a lot of zone during stretches last season, by the end of the season, we were playing more press coverage.

3. We want our DB's to generally be responsible for a side of the field and not switch, e.g., we have a right and left CB and we have a right and left safety.

4. We want tweener safeties so that they don't have to switch sides of the field based on alignment and function as either free or strong safety based on the play.

5. Our LB's appear to normally be in a read/react mode. The mike is frequently left in charge of the deep middle zone similar to a tampa 2.

6. We drop our d-linemen into coverage. That includes DT's as well as DE's. We especially like to do this as our "prevent" style of defense.

Those were just some things I noticed during the year but there are people on this MB who know more about the x's and o's than I do.
Good post Pencil Neck. These are all things I've noticed as well. Our defense definitely has some consistent characteristics to it (even if one of them is being bad). Another thing that was made fairly evident is that a lot of our X's and O's in the defensive line revolve around Mario. They move him from side to side and even inside to create mismatches and confusion.

I was under the impression that we ran quite a bit of press man coverage until Dunta went down, then we used more zone. Did we come back to man at the end of the year? I know some people have been speculating Rhodes influence will cause us to run more zone this year, should be interesting.

I still have patience for Smith, but it'll be running very low if we have another repeat performance. No history of success elsewhere + a 3 year history of failure here with all of the young talent we've been accumulating = we might need to move on if we don't see some improvement.
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Old 04-18-2008   #36
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
Here's what I've picked up about our scheme:

1. We want to get pressure from the front four alone and only blitz on occasion.

2. We want to play press man coverage. Although we played a lot of zone during stretches last season, by the end of the season, we were playing more press coverage.

3. We want our DB's to generally be responsible for a side of the field and not switch, e.g., we have a right and left CB and we have a right and left safety.

4. We want tweener safeties so that they don't have to switch sides of the field based on alignment and function as either free or strong safety based on the play.

5. Our LB's appear to normally be in a read/react mode. The mike is frequently left in charge of the deep middle zone similar to a tampa 2.

6. We drop our d-linemen into coverage. That includes DT's as well as DE's. We especially like to do this as our "prevent" style of defense.

Those were just some things I noticed during the year but there are people on this MB who know more about the x's and o's than I do.
I think #2 thru #5 are all dependent on #1.

If you want to cut it down to the bare bones, #1 IS the defensive philosophy. Kubiak has much as said so. I agree with this philosophy. I know a lot of people don't, because like I mentioned earlier, that multi-million dollar front 4 isn't doing that consistently enough without "manufacturing a rush with the blitz" . . . (his own words)

I think that's the philosophy, and I think it should be the philosophy.

You send more people in on a blitz to make up for the lack of a rush by the front four, then you can't disguise it, they'll know it's coming, and then they'll burn that man to man coverage that Faggins is forced to use.

For all the money that's being spent on that defensive line . . . that philosophy is sound. And I think with a little more playing time under their belts, that philosophy will be proven.
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Old 04-18-2008   #37
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

I still don't know who you guys want us to blitz...

Quick....Name a good blitzer we have on our team besides Demeco or Dunta...
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Old 04-18-2008   #38
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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I still don't know who you guys want us to blitz...

Quick....Name a good blitzer we have on our team besides Demeco or Dunta...
Isn't that supposed to be Chaun Thompson's specialty? Probably a lot of the reason he was signed....not sure, but what about Diles, Bennett?
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Old 04-18-2008   #39
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Isn't that supposed to be Chaun Thompson's specialty? Probably a lot of the reason he was signed....not sure, but what about Diles, Bennett?
I'm talkign about the '06 '07 Texans...

From those teams who should we have been blitzing ?
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Old 04-18-2008   #40
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

i remember C.C. Brown making a few big plays in the backfield on a blitz. Miami I think? hmmmm Or was it Earl? I hate one of them, can't tackle. I like the other one. The one who can.
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