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Old 08-15-2008   #1
Texans_Chick
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Default Evaluating each unit of the Texans

AOL Sports asked each of the FanHouse writers to evaluate different units of each team, and give them a "heat index" rating. Sort of a cheesy exercise to go through, but we all did it.

Here's my review: FanHouse NFL Season Preview: Houston Texans - Too Bad They Are in the AFC South

I hate writing headlines. That particular one comes from the line that everyone uses as it relates to the Texans....great young team, but.....

The Index goes from "10" meaning "couldn't be any better" A "9" is one of the best in the league. A "7-8" is an above league average situation. "5" is league average. "4-3" is below league average. "1" is unreedeemable garbage with no potential at all.

I also think it is difficult to assess teams on a unit by unit basis--so often the play of the secondary affects the front of the defense and vice versa. If the offense is struggling, it can hurt the defense, etc. If the coaching reeks, it affects each unit too.

That being said, it was an interesting exercise. It's also good to read the previews for the other teams--we are rolling them out alphabetically by city.
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Old 08-15-2008   #2
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

Great write-up, and I loved your tough ratings. Everyone on here is ready to annoint a lot of players on potential alone.
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Old 08-15-2008   #3
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

A fair and balanced review, very good article.

I wouldn't have rated the secondary so low, but I would have rated the RBs lower. This will be a telling season, and as everyone familiar with the Texans knows, those first five games will set the tone for this year.
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Old 08-15-2008   #4
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

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Originally Posted by Thorn View Post
A fair and balanced review, very good article.

I wouldn't have rated the secondary so low, but I would have rated the RBs lower. This will be a telling season, and as everyone familiar with the Texans knows, those first five games will set the tone for this year.
It's hard rating "potential."

But our starting cornerbacks are:

1. A low round pick that got torched with the Cowboys. Allegedly he will be better in our system. Was Buchanon better in our system?

2. A second year player with a lot of promise.

3. And an assortment of a promising rookie and various castoffs and never weres.

Very very inexperienced group + safety play that is always a problem. I think Antonio Gates is still running free. I'm not blaming the Texans for having the group they have--it's not like they had many choices. They are doing the best they can with the resources they have.

As for the running backs, I would have rated them lower, but they are getting a Gibbs bump.

In other words, it would shock me much more if the Texans had a great secondary versus if they can have a great running game. Or it would shock me more if the Texans had an average secondary versus even an average running game.
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Old 08-15-2008   #5
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

The funny thing about our secondary is that I think its either going to be a huge surprise, either positive or negative.

Bennett, Molden, and Fletcher have been getting tons of positive press from coaches and media alike
Demps was a probowl alternate, and suddenly we have 3 or 4 more safeties at SS who look to be valid starters

At the same time, tons of guys coming off injuries + inexperience could take us to the opposite extreme. Its definitely an area to focus on this year
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Old 08-15-2008   #6
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

Our strong safety position is like Tampa Bay's QB position.
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Old 08-15-2008   #7
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

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Originally Posted by Thorn View Post
A fair and balanced review, very good article.

I wouldn't have rated the secondary so low, but I would have rated the RBs lower. This will be a telling season, and as everyone familiar with the Texans knows, those first five games will set the tone for this year.
Agreed. Bennett can't be any worse than league average and we'll have Robinson for more than 1/2 the year. Safety play should be improved, even though I still don't think it's a strength.

Regardless, an improved pass rush is likely to make the secondary look better.
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Old 08-15-2008   #8
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

The secondary this year is our least experienced but it is also our most athletic in team history. Plus it seems like none of the DBs have any reservations towards laying a hit on someone when necessary. Unlike the last DB we had here who was touted for his "athleticism"... I think that physical mentality will help a lot. I've particularly been impressed with Jamar Fletcher's (former 1st round pick...someone thought he had talent) physical play since he's come here. Is he a starter for us? No, but he can definately be a solid 3rd or 4th option and in this league you need guys like that.
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Old 08-15-2008   #9
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

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Originally Posted by Texans_Chick View Post
Was Buchanon better in our system?
Are the Texans in the same system? I know they're being coached by the same guy (Hoke). Dallas' pass defense was pretty good last year, and Reeves saw a lot of PT due to injuries to Newman. I don't think Reeves is a potential All Pro, but he's an improvement over the guys the Texans put out there last season (Hutchins & Faggins).

Considering your previous views on the Texans RB situation, I thought you were very generous in your grade. Probably more than I would be. But, I also believe that Gibbs brings the fear of the cut block into defensive fronts, and that should take the running attack to a different level (from horrible to mediocre?).

When evaluating an upcoming season, promise & potential have to be taken into consideration. Else, you just cut & paste from the previous year. And when the talk turns to potential, Amobi Okoye should be the first discussed. Okoye has the kind of quickness that is rare at his position, and difficult to simulate in practice. Kubiak has said that Amobi has had the best offseason of any Texan. I expect Okoye to become a difference maker in 2008, and help turn the Texans D-line into one of the best in the league.
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Old 08-15-2008   #10
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

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Originally Posted by Texans_Chick View Post
It's hard rating "potential."

But our starting cornerbacks are:

1. A low round pick that got torched with the Cowboys. Allegedly he will be better in our system. Was Buchanon better in our system?

2. A second year player with a lot of promise.

3. And an assortment of a promising rookie and various castoffs and never weres.

Very very inexperienced group + safety play that is always a problem. I think Antonio Gates is still running free. I'm not blaming the Texans for having the group they have--it's not like they had many choices. They are doing the best they can with the resources they have.

As for the running backs, I would have rated them lower, but they are getting a Gibbs bump.

In other words, it would shock me much more if the Texans had a great secondary versus if they can have a great running game. Or it would shock me more if the Texans had an average secondary versus even an average running game.
I think you did a great job. I was most impressed, with how you resisted the urge to grade them on potential & "talent".

I'm curious to see how your end of season grade, or next year's grades will come out. You mentioned earlier, how it's difficult to judge one group apart from the other, and this will be the test.

We've got a whole new backfield.... none of those guys started with the guy next to them ever before, at the positions they are playing. Demps was our "FS" last year, DD was the "SS" Reeves wasn't even on the team, and Bennet, well you know.

If they all of a sudden become playmakers, will it be because of Mario & his group, will it be because of chemistry amoung the secondary, will it be because they are better suited to play where they are now??

That will be interesting.

Same with the RBs.. We haven't seen enough game time from any of them, with maybe the exception of Chris Brown, to know what to expect. If any of them are successful, is it because of their talent?? their Vision?? Their determination?? The opportunity to earn the starting job?? or the OL opening gaping holes??
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Old 08-15-2008   #11
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
Are the Texans in the same system? I know they're being coached by the same guy (Hoke). Dallas' pass defense was pretty good last year, and Reeves saw a lot of PT due to injuries to Newman. I don't think Reeves is a potential All Pro, but he's an improvement over the guys the Texans put out there last season (Hutchins & Faggins).

Considering your previous views on the Texans RB situation, I thought you were very generous in your grade. Probably more than I would be. But, I also believe that Gibbs brings the fear of the cut block into defensive fronts, and that should take the running attack to a different level (from horrible to mediocre?).

When evaluating an upcoming season, promise & potential have to be taken into consideration. Else, you just cut & paste from the previous year. And when the talk turns to potential, Amobi Okoye should be the first discussed. Okoye has the kind of quickness that is rare at his position, and difficult to simulate in practice. Kubiak has said that Amobi has had the best offseason of any Texan. I expect Okoye to become a difference maker in 2008, and help turn the Texans D-line into one of the best in the league.
nice post Lucky

I beleive this, the current Texans coaching staff (9) can stand up to any other NFL staff, that our talent while short on winning expereince in the NFL is on par talent wise so other than the RB position (3-4) every other position is @ least avg. (5) or higher (7-8).

Thus the coaching staff can actually cancel out the RB deficiencies by working through the situation while excecuting much improved in all other areas. What I'd like to see differrent from an offensive approach is for Kubiak to throw the ball to set up the run instead of vise versa. spread out the defense with quick short drops first some long to intermediate strikes then eat clock & cut block the hell out of the exhausted linemen/LB's into pulp while the defense chomps on the bit to get another crack on the field
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Old 08-15-2008   #12
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

great job, T.C. I mostly agree with your assessments. A couple of "quibbles"....

I think Richard Smith (2/3) and (to a lesser extent because he's unproven) young Shanahan (5?) bring the coaches grade down to a 6. Our only solid "9" is Marciano. The other guys are 7s.

Also, Schaub gets a 6 until shows he won't spend significant time keeping Ahman Green company on the sidelines (Manning, Brady, the old guy in New Jersey, etc. show up EVERY week - IMHO, consistency is no small part of the grade). Also, both he and Sage stop making bonehead throws into coverage they won't get higher than a 6 from me. They have "8" moments, they truly do. But they still have too many "4/5" moments to earn a solid 7.

But those are nits. (aren't they?)
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Old 08-15-2008   #13
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

Looks like Chris Brown will be starting this game at RB. Lets see how this goes...
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Old 08-15-2008   #14
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

Good read TC. Was wondering, will y'all be making a 'evaluation revisited' post during the season (say, after game 8?) and at the end of the season? Would be interesting see hear your own evaluation of the evaluation
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Old 08-15-2008   #15
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

TC,

I always respect your posts/threads however, I must respectfully disagree on the grades you give our OL and LB. I believe they are both too high at this point. I would give the OL a 4 with potential to be much better and I would give our LB's a 4 ONLY because of Ryans. The rest of our LB's have NEVER done diddly and, until they prove it on the field, I just can't give the group a higher grade. Now, I have hopes that Diles and Adibi can step up and bring that grade up, but gotta see more production first.

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Old 08-15-2008   #16
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

Also, I have to agree with ObsiWan that our QB's are graded too high at this point. I believe that Schaub has the potential to be an 8 but.........

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Old 08-15-2008   #17
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

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TC,

I always respect your posts/threads however, I must respectfully disagree on the grades you give our OL and LB. I believe they are both too high at this point. I would give the OL a 4 with potential to be much better and I would give our LB's a 4 ONLY because of Ryans. The rest of our LB's have NEVER done diddly and, until they prove it on the field, I just can't give the group a higher grade. Now, I have hopes that Diles and Adibi can step up and bring that grade up, but gotta see more production first.

Greenwood is solid and Ryans is pro-bowl, all pro. SAM backer is important, but not as important as WILL and MIKE. I think our LB are above average at worst.
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Old 08-15-2008   #18
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

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Greenwood is solid and Ryans is pro-bowl, all pro. SAM backer is important, but not as important as WILL and MIKE. I think our LB are above average at worst.
Take a look at the other LB corps in our division. Are they significantly better? Worse? Equal? And those are playoff teams.

I think the Texans have one of the top 5 LBs in the league. I think most teams have a Greenwood, a vet who is OK, but replaceable. And many teams are counting on an unproven young LB to come through.

What I like about this particular Texans team, is that they are deeper than those in the past. Bentley and Thompson have started in the league. Adibi is a young talent who could push for PT. Colvin is like an insurance policy. So I see this as at least an average group, with the potential to be better, if Diles and Adibi step up.
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Old 08-15-2008   #19
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

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Take a look at the other LB corps in our division. Are they significantly better? Worse? Equal? And those are playoff teams.
I'd also like to point out that Danny Clark, who I thought played OK but not as well as I would have liked last year, was our SAM last year. And now, he's going to be starting at WILL for the Giants.

Our LB corp can't be THAT bad if we didn't even try to re-sign him.
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Old 08-15-2008   #20
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Default Re: Evaluating each unit of the Texans

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Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
Are the Texans in the same system? I know they're being coached by the same guy (Hoke). Dallas' pass defense was pretty good last year, and Reeves saw a lot of PT due to injuries to Newman. I don't think Reeves is a potential All Pro, but he's an improvement over the guys the Texans put out there last season (Hutchins & Faggins).

Considering your previous views on the Texans RB situation, I thought you were very generous in your grade. Probably more than I would be. But, I also believe that Gibbs brings the fear of the cut block into defensive fronts, and that should take the running attack to a different level (from horrible to mediocre?).

When evaluating an upcoming season, promise & potential have to be taken into consideration. Else, you just cut & paste from the previous year. And when the talk turns to potential, Amobi Okoye should be the first discussed. Okoye has the kind of quickness that is rare at his position, and difficult to simulate in practice. Kubiak has said that Amobi has had the best offseason of any Texan. I expect Okoye to become a difference maker in 2008, and help turn the Texans D-line into one of the best in the league.

Who knows what the Texans scheme will be in the secondary? They simplified things last year due to injuries, but it isn't like this is the most experienced group in the world with a high football IQ and the sort of experience that will get them some close calls by the refs.

I think Reeves is a question mark. So far what we've seen of him in his NFL career is uh, nongood. So maybe he can be coached up, but maybe not. He is a Texas guy who was who we could get but he is not someone who makes me say gee, all our problems in the defensive backs are solved.

I am not counting Dunta Robinson in the equation at all. I could be completely wrong, but if I see him coming back this year, I expect his return to be of the Kailee Wong variety--inspirational but not impactful. I hope I am totally wrong.

I think our running back group is awful. They only get this grade because 1. they could thrive under Gibbs and his track record has been good everywhere he has been; 2. I think in year 3 of the passing game, things may be opening up more for the running game.

I take promise and potential into account with both the linebacking and defensive line. But I also have to take the lack of positive track record of Richard Smith into account. Our defense has been bottom of the league awful. So improvement just gets you into the average range.

So with the defensive line, Williams and Okoye are plus factors. No real pass rush on the other side is a neg factor, plus it is hard to see the unit being schemed up to be better than they are. How do you give a solid above average grade to a unit that was so below average against both the run and the pass last year? Rosevelt Colvin hasn't had a great camp/preseason, so we are likely going to make do on the other side with a bunch of try hard guys.

With the linebackers, I love Ryans. Everybody else right now is either filler or bodies or maybe intriguing potential. I do not see Morlon Greenwood as being solid. I see him as someone that doesn't have good football sense and gives up ground. So with the linebacker rating, Ryans individually might be a 9, but everybody else is either a 5 or lower. It's hard to rank them as a group as being above average, even factoring in potential.

Potential also usually equates to young, and young often equates to learning through mistakes.

The defense has been bottom of the league bad in a lot of statistical categories and just with the eye test. Hard to grade them above average in anything. As I see it, a lot of bodies have been switched out from last year, but that they aren't necessarily much better.

Line: Williams +, Okoye +, TJ same, and a whatever on the other end.
Linebackers: Ryans healthy +, Greenwood same or worse, and a whatever on the other side.
Secondary: Bennett +, Reeves ? (could be good or bad), other guys about the same old same old, safeties garbage (either slow/old or bad football IQ).

Really, the biggest upside I see that this defense has is if the offense can chew more yards rushing and hold onto the ball, and get opposing offensives more one dimensional trying to catch up and taking advantage of that. I don't see huge improvements in talent nor am I anticipating huge improvements in scheme making players look better than they are.

Don't mean to be a buzz kill. The Texans are one of the multitude of teams in the middle of the league--they have tons more direction than a bunch of teams, quality QB play in a league where lots of teams have questions at that position. With health, breaks, and young players shining early, good things could happen. I wouldn't trade the Texans situation with too many teams in the league.
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