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Old 04-19-2008   #61
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

I don't think we need a bigger DT nor a bigger MLB...

I think what we need is better LB's areound Demeco...AKA guys that can actually go and make plays and not guys who just play their responsibilities well...

If every run play we got hurt on was directly up the middle then yeah...I'd agree...

But fact is we get hurt on alot of off tackle and outside stuff...

Give me DB's and LB's more capable of "making plays" or good stick on the ball carrier and we'll be fine...

How many times do we remember a LB or DB coming up to "make a play" on a ball carrier not named Demeco or Dunta ? Not often...

TJ is fine, Demeco is fine....The problem is the lack of support from the other LB's and DB's...Moreso the LB's though....Those guys have been invisible and non-agressive...

Giants were 4th against the run last year and their biggest DT wasn't much bigger than TJ...Te thing they did have was a good LB corp in regards to making plays in the run game...


JMO...

Last edited by Polo; 04-19-2008 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 04-19-2008   #62
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
Since it appears that our "philosophy" is to have smaller DT's, I'm not sure Demeco is the right guy in the middle.
I don't know if it's really the Texans philosophy so much as dealing with the hand your dealt. The really big 2 gap DTs are hard to find. Per Parcells' planet theory, huge guys who are athletic are a rare commodity. That's why guys like Ted Washington, Keith Traylor, and Grady Jackson can have such a long career. They're very difficult to replace. And that's also why jumbo DT prospects like Red Bryant and Frank Okam will go earlier in the draft than the experts predict.

Ryans is of typical size for the modern 4-3 MLB. One reason is that they're asked to make deep drops in the middle zone. Another is that they're asked to make plays sideline-to-sideline. I don't see Ryans as being rare in needing protection up front. Even a XL MLB like Urlacher is better served by keeping blockers off him.
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Old 04-19-2008   #63
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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Originally Posted by Polo View Post
If every run play we got hurt on was directly up the middle then yeah...I'd agree...
http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/dl.php

If you go down about 3/4's of the way down the page, you'll see the rankings for our defensive line for runs at different areas.

We gave up:

left end: 4.51 ypc (24th)
left tackle: 4.73 ypc (20th)
between guards: 4.40 (25th)
right tackle: 3.66 (7th)
right end: 4.33 (19th)

We're great at runs at the right tackle. That's normally Mario.

Everywhere else, we have problems. We give up the most over the left tackle but we're rated lowest in the middle. That's what I think we need to shore up. But, except for Mario, we need help across the board on the run game.

If you go down to the very last bit, we have:

left end: 11%
left tackle: 9%
middle: 59%
right tackle: 10%
right end: 11%

Now, you said that all the big runs weren't in the middle and that may be true, but other teams have recognized that we're weak in the middle and they concentrate on running against us up the middle. There were only 4-5 teams that got run on in the middle more than we did.
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Old 04-19-2008   #64
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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[url]

If you go down to the very last bit, we have:

left end: 11%
left tackle: 9%
middle: 59%
right tackle: 10%
right end: 11%

Now, you said that all the big runs weren't in the middle and that may be true, but other teams have recognized that we're weak in the middle and they concentrate on running against us up the middle. There were only 4-5 teams that got run on in the middle more than we did.

All the top portion of your post proves is that we were poor across the board regarding run support...


1) The main point of my post still stands...

2) Those percentages are meaningless without a comparison to other teams


The high number of runs in the middle can probably be attributed to several things...

...maybe teams in the NFL in general run more towards the middle
...Maybe playing the Jags and Titans 2 times a piece has something to do with that...

Regardless, those numbers by themselves don't prove that teams have "noticed a weakness"....
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Old 04-19-2008   #65
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

As I go back and look at those percentages EVERY TEAM is run on more heavily towards the middle of their defense according to those statistics...

Jacksonville, with their big DT's, were sitting at 55%....

Tennessee with Haynseworth was sitting at 60%...

Last edited by Polo; 04-19-2008 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 04-19-2008   #66
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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Originally Posted by Polo View Post
As I go back and look at those percentages EVERY TEAM is run on more heavily towards the middle of their defense according to those statistics...

Jacksonville, with their big DT's, were sitting at 55%....

Tennessee with Haynseworth was sitting at 60%...
Yes... BUT... like I said, there were only a handful of teams (Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Baltimore, and Buffalo) that were run on in the middle to a greater degree than we were.

Jacksonville was at 55% but that's less than we were. (And despite their tackles, they didn't do a good job of stopping people running up the middle. They gave up 4.46 ypc, which is even worse than what we gave up.)

Most teams were in the 40-50% range. Some were as low as 30%. We were at 59%.

If the majority of rush attempts against you are in the middle, wouldn't you want to make that the stingiest part of your defense?

If you take the numbers and run with them:

Left End: 186 yards
Left Tackle: 160 yards
Middle: 976 yards
Right Tackle: 137 yards
Right End: 179 yards

Should we upgrade our outside LB's? Yes. But we need to reduce how much yardage people are picking up running up the middle on us.

However we get that done.
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Old 04-19-2008   #67
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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Originally Posted by Polo View Post
...Maybe playing the Jags and Titans 2 times a piece has something to do with that...

Regardless, those numbers by themselves don't prove that teams have "noticed a weakness"....
I'm sure the Jags and Titans noticed, because they've had great success doing it (151, 153, 244, 96 yds) - and we're going to have to play them 2 times apiece again. Those are the 2 teams I've been most worried about when I argue for a bigger front seven.

DeMeco had injury issues to contend with, and I'm sure he could use more help from his fellow LBs, but a lot more of the tackles he was making in 07 were downfield rather than at the LOS. In most sets, OLBs can't react that quickly to be a factor in runs up the middle. The safeties can't either unless they run blitz or just sit in the box, which we can't afford to have them do. Sure there's more than one way to skin a cat, but the Giants have a very creative scheme that takes advantage of their personnel, which is very different from ours, as is our scheme as we know it. More comparable in terms of personnel IMO (with better LBs overall), Denver in 06 had a small, fast front seven that blitzed a lot, like the Giants, and started out gangbusters. But they got worn down in the second half of the season. I'm worried that's going to happen to DeMeco unless he gets more protection.

I'm hopeful Amobi and TJ will both be able to improve in the run game. But it'll still be a concern until they prove it.
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Old 04-19-2008   #68
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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Originally Posted by Rex King View Post
I'm sure the Jags and Titans noticed, because they've had great success doing it (151, 153, 244, 96 yds) - and we're going to have to play them 2 times apiece again. Those are the 2 teams I've been most worried about when I argue for a bigger front seven.

DeMeco had injury issues to contend with, and I'm sure he could use more help from his fellow LBs, but a lot more of the tackles he was making in 07 were downfield rather than at the LOS. In most sets, OLBs can't react that quickly to be a factor in runs up the middle. The safeties can't either unless they run blitz or just sit in the box, which we can't afford to have them do. Sure there's more than one way to skin a cat, but the Giants have a very creative scheme that takes advantage of their personnel, which is very different from ours, as is our scheme as we know it. More comparable in terms of personnel IMO (with better LBs overall), Denver in 06 had a small, fast front seven that blitzed a lot, like the Giants, and started out gangbusters. But they got worn down in the second half of the season. I'm worried that's going to happen to DeMeco unless he gets more protection.

I'm hopeful Amobi and TJ will both be able to improve in the run game. But it'll still be a concern until they prove it.

The interior line weakness last year against the run was clearly A. Okoye. That will improve this year. A rookie starting in the interior line usually struggles a great deal. Okoye played most downs also... Frankly, I would have had him more in rotation but they were probably trying to give him as many reps as possible. Haynesworth, Henderson, Stroud all struggled their rookie seasons' as well. Having said that, a big space-eater in the 4th or 5th round makes sense so he can be used situationally on short yardage downs.
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Old 04-19-2008   #69
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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
Yes... BUT... like I said, there were only a handful of teams (Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Baltimore, and Buffalo) that were run on in the middle to a greater degree than we were.

Jacksonville was at 55% but that's less than we were. (And despite their tackles, they didn't do a good job of stopping people running up the middle. They gave up 4.46 ypc, which is even worse than what we gave up.)

Most teams were in the 40-50% range. Some were as low as 30%. We were at 59%.

If the majority of rush attempts against you are in the middle, wouldn't you want to make that the stingiest part of your defense?

If you take the numbers and run with them:

Left End: 186 yards
Left Tackle: 160 yards
Middle: 976 yards
Right Tackle: 137 yards
Right End: 179 yards

Should we upgrade our outside LB's? Yes. But we need to reduce how much yardage people are picking up running up the middle on us.

However we get that done.
Even if everything you say holds true, it still doesn't dispute my main point...

Besides all that, Amobi clearly had a lot to do with weakness up the middle against the run...

Better LB's, Amobi getting better at the point of attack and we'll be o.k IMO...
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Old 04-19-2008   #70
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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Well TC, AJ certainly does not need me to speak up for him, or come to his defense in any fashion, but I'm going to fess up and say I positive rep'd his obvious sarcasm. The reason why, is that he and I both find your statement "Where did I say bring out the pink soap for Richard Smith?" rather disingenuous at best, downright insincere at worst.

You need to go back to the beginning of this discussion and re-read. If you try, you'll see the obvious anti-Smith bias. You're a writer, you should be able to see it if you'd be honest with yourself. There are times that you try to disguise it with "well, maybe the media needs to do a better job" statements and the like, but believe me, you're not fooling anyone.
Disingenous and insincere. Gee. I know that tone can get misinterpreted on the internet so I let me speak very straightly and at the risk by some of belaboring. Anti-Smith bias? I don't know him as a person, but yeah, I think it is obvious that I'm unimpressed with the work he has done but at this point we have no other options.

I dearly hope that he has a clear plan for what he wants to do, that he is acquiring players to do it, and that at the end of more seasoning, the Texans have the most dominating defense in the league. I have no idea whether that will happen or not.

I dearly hope that people like the 1560 folks get fans more information about the defense.

At this point there is no right or wrong with this. There are only possibilities, and things to be looking for. Richard Smith, for all anybody knows, could end up being the best defensive coordinator in the history of personkind.

If anyone cares, my boring views on Richard Smith in whole so that people don't have to selectively search things I've written about him and the defense:

1. He was the best we could get at the time we needed to hire him. (Better I thought than Jim Bates, who had qualifications but was supposed to be full of himself and is no longer employed by the Denver Broncos)

2. Smith did not have a background that made you believe that he was going to be a guy who would do a remarkable job in building a defense from scratch.

3. Smith was given a very bad hand. The reasons why the Texans were so awful as opposed to normal awful in 2005 is that the defense was terrible. There are few people left from that squad. Robinson was the only playmaker.

4. Because of the complete remaking of the defense, I think you need to be patient. I also think the offensive turnover epidemic did the defense no favors.

5. There was a lot of coaching things in Richard Smith's first two years running the Texans defense that made you scratch your head (actually, use massive profanity). The first three games made you think he had no idea what he was doing and was out of his element. The offense did some headscratching things as well, but at least you could see where they were going and some vast improvement.

6. I expressed after some particularly bad defensive performances that if they could find a better 4-3 coach in the offseason, I hope they would get him.

7. It is too late in the coaching cycle to find anybody good, so at least at this point we should concentrate on figuring out what he is trying to do so: 1 you can understand what the Texans aredoing in the draft; and 2. to increase your enjoyment of what you watch on the field--that if you know what they are trying to do, you can see that development.

8. My lists never include 8.

9. This list is boring me too.

10. I believe that the most stable organizations only fire people during certain times of the year. I do not like mid season firings, and believe they should only be used as a last resort and when you have a better Plan B option that won't turn a bad season into a catastrophic clown car.

11. So, in sum, and to make this list go to 11, my position has been that yeah, I was underwhelmed with the Richard Smith hiring from the start, that I have been actively looking for reasons to think that this might be a good thing but generally that has been a utterly depressing thing to do, that given what I saw, I hoped that they would make a change in the offseason to someone better at that role, but they didn't.

So now, I am just continuing in my quest to try to understand the team I root for better and discuss such things with people who care to find out the same things. If some people think that my efforts in this regard are disingenous or insincere, well then, they don't know me very well. I'm terribly, sickeningly earnest in person.

I'm not trying to convince people of anything. I am just saying how I see things, and if people disagree and bring up stuff I might not have thought about, that's always a good thing. It's part of a dialogue and getting people talking. It's what good MB do--they make you think about stuff.

I adore being wrong about stuff I was pessimistic about. Absolutely love it. Because it means good things are happening to my favorite team.

So let's get back to talking defensive lines or whatnot.
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Old 04-19-2008   #71
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

I have absolutely nothing to contribute to the discussion here. I wish I could contribute but I'm flat out outmatched here. You guys are just absolutely amazing. I wanted to let each and every one of you know that I have found this thread to by far be the most informative thread that I have ever encountered here on TexansTalk. Every one of you deserves rep for putting thought into the discussion. I love hearing you guys discuss this without flinging dung! I've learned so much about this Texans team by listening to your opinions and am developing my own insight as a result of this thread. Great job guys!!

By far the most informative thread... Wow! Amazing!! I'm proud to be a member of this board.
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Old 04-19-2008   #72
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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Originally Posted by Polo View Post
Even if everything you say holds true, it still doesn't dispute my main point...

Besides all that, Amobi clearly had a lot to do with weakness up the middle against the run...

Better LB's, Amobi getting better at the point of attack and we'll be o.k IMO...
I read your main point as our outside linebackers need to make more tackles up the field of play. But I don't see the outside linebackers helping on those runs up the middle which is what I see as our main problem.

Now, I will grant that Amobi growing into his role and stuffing the run more would help this immensely. So, I agree with you there. We all knew that his problem as a rook was going to be holding up at the point of attack in the run game. Most of us mentioned that as a problem going into the season and we weren't wrong. Hopefully he's gotten stronger and will be able to get more penetration as well.

But I don't know if I agree about TJ. In some games last year, he was getting mauled and he's not a rookie that's supposed to be weak at the point of attack. I'm not anti-TJ. He made some great plays last year. But for every time he got his hand up and deflected the ball (Danny Clark's interception in Oakland is an example), you get something like that big run by Selvin Young in the Denver game here TJ was just swept from the play (it didn't help that CC was playing in the box and whiffed on the tackle and Demps ended up having to make it even though he was playing the deep safety on that play.) Maybe he can grow into his role... although I'm worried that his role isn't to stuff runs like that.

If our defense's approach is to have all the linemen penetrating and pursuing, then I'm not sure we've got the right linebacker mix to work behind that kind of line.

After the moves we make this offseason, hopefully we'll have a mix of players closer to whatever philosophy Smith had when he was designing his defense.

Anyway, it's been a good discussion and made me think about my own beliefs on this.
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Old 04-20-2008   #73
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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But for every time he got his hand up and deflected the ball (Danny Clark's interception in Oakland is an example), you get something like that big run by Selvin Young in the Denver game here TJ was just swept from the play (it didn't help that CC was playing in the box and whiffed on the tackle and Demps ended up having to make it even though he was playing the deep safety on that play.) Maybe he can grow into his role... although I'm worried that his role isn't to stuff runs like that.

If our defense's approach is to have all the linemen penetrating and pursuing, then I'm not sure we've got the right linebacker mix to work behind that kind of line.

After the moves we make this offseason, hopefully we'll have a mix of players closer to whatever philosophy Smith had when he was designing his defense.

Anyway, it's been a good discussion and made me think about my own beliefs on this.
You're right that TJ isn't exactly the ideal NT. I also think you're right, certainly from what I've heard from coaches this off-season, that they're looking for more one gap penetrating from both DTs. What I didn't see much of last year was TJ getting beatin regularly. He was very active and disruptive. However, I was disappointed at how limited his role was compared to Okoye.

Regarding LBs, I'm pretty encouraged about the potential strength of our OLB with the draft ahead of us, the addition of Thompson who is highly athletic with excellent size, and Zac Diles. I am of the belief that Greenwood's job may be in jeopardy as the preseason gets going- depending on the health of the group.

Last year there was a definite reality of our weakness up the middle. On the DL, Okoye was manhandled quite a bit. Ryans, whom I love, naturally struggles with a guard on him and the OLBs were average at best. Finally, our safeties have been brutal against the run- which is ashame since they're so poor against the pass. So, I'd say that everything up the middle needs to improve- I also think it likely will.
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Old 04-20-2008   #74
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

don't laugh but I was hoping the Titans wouldn't re-sign Haynesworth. I'd love to have him in our mix.
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Old 04-21-2008   #75
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

that guy's a thug. no way. i don't care how good he is. that's bad people. this is just a game.
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Old 04-21-2008   #76
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Default Re: Jethro Franklin Interview

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What I didn't see much of last year was TJ getting beatin regularly. He was very active and disruptive. However, I was disappointed at how limited his role was compared to Okoye.
This drove me nuts! Especially since his replacement was Jeff zgonoineoniinoen... who looked just like a defensive version of Mike Flannigan: 5 yards from the line of scrimmage on his back. Play him!



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Regarding LBs, I'm pretty encouraged about the potential strength of our OLB with the draft ahead of us, the addition of Thompson who is highly athletic with excellent size, and Zac Diles. I am of the belief that Greenwood's job may be in jeopardy as the preseason gets going- depending on the health of the group.

Last year there was a definite reality of our weakness up the middle. On the DL, Okoye was manhandled quite a bit. Ryans, whom I love, naturally struggles with a guard on him and the OLBs were average at best. Finally, our safeties have been brutal against the run- which is ashame since they're so poor against the pass. So, I'd say that everything up the middle needs to improve- I also think it likely will.
i'm also of the thinking that it may be greenwood who's the odd man out by the end of camp. I don't know enough about Thompson to form any sort of educated opinion, it's more of a hunch. I just can't help but think that Greenwood is just "kind of, pretty ok, sort of" and it wouldn't take much better talent to overtake him on the depth chart. maybe not better talent at all. maybe just someone younger or more enthusiastic who works really hard. (not to suggest that Greenwood isn't a hard worker. everything i've ever read about him suggests that he is.)
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