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Old 12-10-2004   #1
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Default Offensive Line

At least IMO, the OL has been the single greatest failure of the Texans this year. The pass protection is better than the run blocking but only because the run blocking is miserable. So what does it take to improve the OL next year:

a) time--they just need to gel
b) new personnel at one of more positions--I will nominate center
c) a new OL coach--some how San Diego's OL coach has changed 4 out of 5 guys and replaced them, including putting in 2 rookies and a vet considered a yeoman on other teams
d) dump the zone blocking
e) a combination of the above or
f) leave it alone--it is all the RB and QB's fault

Not having heard anyone else's opinion, IMO they need a center and to let the line gel. I just don't know about the zone blocking and am willing to be patient but it clearly isn't working right now. It appears we missed out by not grabbing the coach San Diego got when we got Pendry but have no idea if there is a better OL coach out there that would make a difference--if not stick with (a) & (b).
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Old 12-10-2004   #2
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Cak,

I think once before you posted info on the sacks given up and penalties called on each lineman. Can you update that?
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Old 12-10-2004   #3
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Personally, I'd like to see Washington get some playing time again.
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Old 12-10-2004   #4
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My answer: A

We have a new LT, LG and RT to go along with a new scheme. Give them time...
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Old 12-10-2004   #5
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I think it's a combination of the above and the only real choice here is to leave it alone. Not because it's all the QB and RB's fault but because the only thing that's going to improve this bunch is time together and experience.

Wand, He's got to learn it and keep getting better. Right now he's wet behind the ears and learning his second scheme in two years.. That's not good and that's not just about the Texans line. Players that come up in stable systems, consistent systems have a head start on players who get their systems changed all the time. At this point I'd rather wait and see where this zone blocking scheme goes, see what we're looking at in 2005 and then draw a conclusion from that.

Pitts, He's doing his second system in three years and he's playing a new position for the first time in his career. All the talk about his being a natural guard has obscured the fact that he's always been a tackle even in college. He's destined to be a guard in the NFL but this is his first year there. He needs more time and like Wand he needs to not be learning a new system next year. Granted he'd have it easier going back to the old system since he started in it for two years before the zone blocking scheme got here but he'd have to learn what a guard does in the old scheme.

McKinney, the only cure for McKinney is I fear a replacement. McKinney was a better guard and is a terrible center. The Texans need to be looking at the draft for a center or if there isn't one there worth drafting they need to be looking to trade for or sign one. In terms of excuses his only one is that this is his first season with the zone blocking scheme. He might get it down better with time but he's always going to be Steve McKinney.

Weigert, second year here in his second system and playing next to a new guy on his right and Steve McKinney on his left. We know Weigert can play. We've seen him play and play well. I consider him to be a victim of what's going on around him, new players and a new system. If the zone blocking scheme is the future then I expect him to get it down and do well in it. Until he's next to a real center and Todd Wade gets comfortable though he's not going to look good consistently.

Wade, new guy in a new system. I'd have thought he would be settled in by now but I'd have been wrong. I still think he's going to be a good signing but like the rest of them he's taking to the zone slowly and he has been injured some this season.

The zone works elsewhere. The players we have are not bad players. At one time or another they've all (excluding Wand who's a first time starter and McKinney who is what he is) played well and I expect them to play well again. The learning part seems to be going slow and trying to learn a system while getting comfortable with a bunch of teammates you're unfamiliar with is probably very hard. I think changing again so quickly is going to set them back at this point. Hindsight might say that changing wasn't such a good idea (it does to me) but changing again is going to just mess things up even more.

One more year to see whether this is going to work. If they're looking at 6 wins in 2005 and the running game sucks rocks again then I say ditch it. For now though the Texans just need to sleep in the bed they made.
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Old 12-10-2004   #6
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Default boot mckinney!

mckinney must be replaced. ideally i'd like for them to get a center who's versitile enough to play guard if necessary.

is it abundantly clear yet that fred weary will only be a depth player at best?
and-- i'd say the same for milford brown (a bit premature i know) ,but i seem to recall hearing rumblings from training camp that he had an honest chance to start.

i'm curious as to what the overall consensus is on seth wand.

i think hes been "ok" for the most part. (keep in mind i had visions of carr going down for the season because of him).
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Old 12-10-2004   #7
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I did too Powda. Wand was the "Ok, this looks alright but it could all go to hell in one play" guy on the line I thought. Last season all I heard was that he was a project with no strength who had played at a small school with no coaching or conditioning program. I couldn't believe he'd be ready to start this season. I just couldn't make myself believe it.

You know what I'd like to know? I'd like to know how Wand has stacked up against Pitts in his first season at LT. To provide more balance I'd like to also know how he stacks up to Pitts in his second season. Has he been that big a drop off from Pitts? I'm curious but I'm not a statistics commando so perhaps someone who is good with them might chime in with that.

Also I think Milford Brown is an eventual starter. He came close to taking a spot this season. He's going to pan out but he's not going to be one of those guys who can jump in there and start right away. Most offensive linemen spend time behind a starter it seems so this isn't too bad. He's just not ready.

Fred Weary? I just don't know about Fred Weary. If Brown's getting it slowly then Weary's crawling. Maybe he's just a longterm project or maybe he's always going to be depth. All of our draft choices aren't going to pan out so maybe he's one of them. I just don't know. I know one thing though. The grabbed Pitts and Weary with an eye towards playing them at LG and RG respectively. They planned on supporting them with veterans surrounding them (Boselli, McKinney, and Young) but then they grabbed Brown in the expansion draft right away. Sure the Texans needed depth everywhere but deep down inside I think even then they had the idea in the back of their minds that Fred was going to take a while to come around. Since the got Brown I've never heard of Weary being a potential starter, just Brown on that side.
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Old 12-10-2004   #8
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Defensive Line IMO. Texans offense ranks 14th in the NFL while the defense is 29th even though the secondary has the 2nd most interceptions. The front 3 of the Texans are not failing because of inexperience either with Walker in the NFL 10 years, Payne 8 & Smith 5. Heck even Marcus Spears has 10 years & Corey Sears 5. On the other hand your blasting a offensive line that includes some veteran leadership Weigert 10, McKinney 7 & Wade 5 but also has youngsters Pitts 3 & the KEY LT manned by 2 year Seth Wand.

Yes I agree that the Texans need to continue to build the line, I'd like them to use their 2nd round pick as a matter of fact on Ben Wilkerson C, LSU. But our #1 priotiry has to be the infusion of a stud DT that can put more pressure on the QB's. This has been far and away the most disappointing aspect of the 2004 Texans IMO.
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Old 12-10-2004   #9
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Here are the penalties and sacks for the line as it is now:

Wand--2 holding, 0 false starts, 7.5 sacks
Pitts--3 holding, 4 false starts, 3 sacks
(2003)--7 holding, 8 false starts, 5.75 sacks
(2002)--5 holding, 3 false starts, 15.5 sacks
McKinney--0 holding, 0 false starts, 3 sacks
(2003)--2 holding, 1 false start, 3.75 sacks
(2002)--0 holding, 2 false starts, 2 sacks
Wiegert--0 holding, 1 false start, 3 sacks
(2003)--1 holding, 6 false starts, 1.5 sacks
Wade--0 holding, 2 false starts, 4 sacks

Wand is on pace for a better statistical 1st year at LT than Pitts--of course remember, Wand has a much better LG next to him than Pitts did.

My gut feeling is the personnel is good except for McKinney and that a 1st day pick should be used to replace him and otherwise keep the line and the scheme the same.

Nice posts Herv--looks like pretty much the same conclusion with a much better explanation.
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Old 12-10-2004   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infantrycak
Wand--2 holding, 0 false starts, 7.5 sacks
Dang, no false starts. That is a surprise. However, it would be fitting if he got a couple of early starts this week now that I know that he hasnt had a false start all season...
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Old 12-10-2004   #11
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i'd like to see the sack numbers on him go down a little ! But other than that i have not been to dissapointed with his performance this year !
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Old 12-11-2004   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infantrycak
Here are the penalties and sacks for the line as it is now:

Wand--2 holding, 0 false starts, 7.5 sacks
Pitts--3 holding, 4 false starts, 3 sacks
(2003)--7 holding, 8 false starts, 5.75 sacks
(2002)--5 holding, 3 false starts, 15.5 sacks
McKinney--0 holding, 0 false starts, 3 sacks
(2003)--2 holding, 1 false start, 3.75 sacks
(2002)--0 holding, 2 false starts, 2 sacks
Wiegert--0 holding, 1 false start, 3 sacks
(2003)--1 holding, 6 false starts, 1.5 sacks
Wade--0 holding, 2 false starts, 4 sacks
In all fairness to Wand (or who ever the LT is), ya gotta discount this # somewhat because he is usually going against the oppositions best
pass rusher.

Last edited by nunusguy; 12-11-2004 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 12-11-2004   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hervoyel
McKinney, the only cure for McKinney is I fear a replacement.
Great post Herv - you da man when it comes to the OL. So if we do look to the college draft to upgrade McKinney, we can probably get a "top-of-the-line" center (or guard) in the 2nd or even 3rd round, unlike a top tackle which
usually means a first round pick ?
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Old 12-11-2004   #14
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The key to the line has been the health of Wade. In the games he was totally out Spears was abused. I wonder what his numbers are. McKinney is playing the same as he has over 3 years. Decent position/pass blocker, but not a great power guy and can get bowled over at times. Even if the texans draft a center first lineman i expect that McKinney start next year before the prospect pass him.

7.5 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 4 = 20.5 sacks (not a terrible total) ...I know Spears gets a few more , but are there team sacks or do the TEs and RBs get some credit against them also?
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Old 12-11-2004   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infantrycak
Wand is on pace for a better statistical 1st year at LT than Pitts--of course remember, Wand has a much better LG next to him than Pitts did.
And Wand is playing with a more experienced QB, as well.

What are the O-line options? Going back to the draft and picking up a LT in the draft won’t help in the immediate future. Robert Gallery was the best LT prospect in years, and he had to start out his career at RT. Unless you want to find a way to bring in Walter Jones in the offseason, you have to wait on Wand. If Wand could just pound on the smaller RDEs in the running game, it would help him slow down their pass rush. But the Texans have trailed too often in the 2nd half to make that a viable strategy. Wand & Pitts have been burned on stunts. Hard to know who’s to blame there, but that has to get fixed or Carr will get waxed.

Pitts needs to improve, but his history here indicates he will improve in his 2nd season at a position. Is this the right scheme for a power blocking guy like Chester? He’s not extremely quick, but Pitts can man handle a guy who comes right at him. Look at what he did to Stroud in the Jag game. It’s guys like the Colts’ Reagor who have given Pitts problems. But I believe that Pitts (and Wand) will get better over time.

The other guys are vets, and time is not on their side. I’m satisfied with Wade, but he hasn’t blown me away. He’s a solid, workman like lineman who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. You can win with Wade at RT, but he won’t dominate.

What has disappointed me about McKinney is that he’s lost his quickness. He always had problems with players directly over him, but now he has trouble sliding over to double team or pick up blitzers. Has Steve’s knee problem from the preseason carried over into the regular season? I thought the zone blocking scheme would be a good fit for McKinney, but that hasn’t proven true. Still, can you bring in a rookie and ask him to make the line calls? It may be the ’06 season before McKinney can be replaced.

Wiegert’s sack numbers (Three?) seem low to me. I know he’s given up a lot of penetration this year on runs & passes. Last season, Zach would demolish the guy in front of him. This year, he’s taking bad angles and whiffing on blocks. The new blocking scheme may have hurt Wiegert more than anyone else. I see keeping Zach as an either/or proposition. Either Wiegert goes or the zone blocking is trashed. With his cap number rising to $3.3 million next year, Wiegert being replaced by a younger, cheaper, more athletic lineman seems to be the best choice. Regarding the reserve linemen on the Texans, if they could play it would have become apparant by now.

There are legendary O-line coaches who can piece together a unit from scraps. Hudson Houck (with the Chargers), Alex Gibbs, Jim McNally come to mind. If a guy like that became available, I’d say jump on him. Otherwise, just stay with the guys that are here (Pendry & Marshall). And I wouldn’t dump the zone blocking, but add to it. Run some traps, pull some linemen, block man on man sometimes. Don’t be such a one trick pony.

With a quarter of the season left, I reserve the right to change my mind. But unless major improvement is shown over the last 4 games, I think something has to change regarding the O-line in ’05.
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Old 12-11-2004   #16
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The left side of the line is set. Pitts and Wand just need to continue to work together. They have the quickest feet of all the linemen and will be our left side for years.

Wade is going to be here for years also. RT is set.

Weigert and McKinney will need upgrading in the near future but it would not shock me to see this entire group as our starters next year.
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Old 12-11-2004   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powda
mckinney must be replaced. ideally i'd like for them to get a center who's versitile enough to play guard if necessary.
Maybe "Inside Skinney" should sign up with his own business venture, Velocity. They are suppose to increase strength, quickness, and agility.
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Old 12-11-2004   #18
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[quote=Vinny]The left side of the line is set. Pitts and Wand just need to continue to work together. They have the quickest feet of all the linemen and will be our left side for years.

Wade is going to be here for years also. RT is set.

I couldnt agree more with you Vinny.While the o-line stinks as a consistant unit I think were on the brink of having a good if not dominate o-line in the near future.Time together and maybe one upgrade and I think we"ll be there.
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Old 12-11-2004   #19
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So to summarize even those of us who believe that switching blocking schemes might have been a mistake also think that our best chance of getting better is to push on with it. I think Carr could have used another season of consistency that would have come from the Texans building their running game on the previous years progress but that decision has been made. There's nothing to be gained now by trying to go back to what was. All we can do is keep trying to make "what is" work the way it's supposed to. It's going to be alright in the long run. I believe that.
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Old 12-11-2004   #20
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I do not understand why you people think we need a new center what's wrong with McKinney, someone please tell me! MAybe yall r looking at something that im not,but in my eyes McKinney is not the problem the problem is the LT, yes he goes up against some of the best, but heck we're in the NFL for crying out loud. I think we need a faster and more agile LT, IMO that is our #1 concern for the O-Line not McKinney.
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