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Old 12-18-2008   #1
Texans_Chick
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Default A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

I hate to interrupt the latest Texans have turned the corner talk but I figured you would be interested in this, even if you don't particularly like it:

Is the Texans defensive improvement real or fools gold?

It just seems to me I've seen this before. Like in 2006. You can watch Richard Smith talk about this on video between the 2006 and 2007 season. The Texans had an awful awful start but as he put it, they finished strong.

Not really. They finished still below average, and by the Football Outsider play by play stats, they finished that season rated 31st in the league.

I am not against conventional wisdom. I just like conventional wisdom when it is support by data. Stats aren't everything, but they are just a way to look at things relative to the rest of the league instead of relative to some really really poor performances.
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Old 12-18-2008   #2
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texans_Chick View Post
I hate to interrupt the latest Texans have turned the corner talk but I figured you would be interested in this, even if you don't particularly like it:

Is the Texans defensive improvement real or fools gold?

It just seems to me I've seen this before. Like in 2006. You can watch Richard Smith talk about this on video between the 2006 and 2007 season. The Texans had an awful awful start but as he put it, they finished strong.

Not really. They finished still below average, and by the Football Outsider play by play stats, they finished that season rated 31st in the league.

I am not against conventional wisdom. I just like conventional wisdom when it is support by data. Stats aren't everything, but they are just a way to look at things relative to the rest of the league instead of relative to some really really poor performances.
Well, Merry Christmas to you too, scrooge!
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Old 12-18-2008   #3
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

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Well, Merry Christmas to you too, scrooge!

Now that's funny! LOL

But I'm gonna have to agree with Texans_Chick on this.
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Old 12-18-2008   #4
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

TC,

I think you invest too much in what FO thinks. I think your opinion of the Texans is much more trustworthy than their DVOA stats, because you watch the Texans closely.

Overall I agree that the defense has been terrible this season, but these guys are on crack if they think DVOA tells the tale of the team's defensive performance over the last four weeks. That game recap does not accurately describe the game I watched Sunday (and rewatched on dvr twice).

The defense deserves credit for what they did against Tennessee.
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Old 12-18-2008   #5
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

The only place significant improvement has been made is in the scoring column, and that has more to do with few offensive turnovers than it does defensive prowess.

I looked at how often the Texans have kept other teams below their rushing average per play and/or passing average per play. They've only done it 5 times. Tennessee last week, both running and passing. Cleveland passing. Miami running. Tennessee running the first time.

Over the last games, Green Bay and Jacksonville were over their season average on both sides, and Cleveland was over rushing.

There has been no drastic improvement. It's all about the offense not turning the ball over.
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Old 12-18-2008   #6
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

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Originally Posted by Mailman View Post
TC,

I think you invest too much in what FO thinks. I think your opinion of the Texans is much more trustworthy than their DVOA stats, because you watch the Texans closely.

Overall I agree that the defense has been terrible this season, but these guys are on crack if they think DVOA tells the tale of the team's defensive performance over the last four weeks. That game recap does not accurately describe the game I watched Sunday (and rewatched on dvr twice).

The defense deserves credit for what they did against Tennessee.
They do deserve credit for Tennessee. It was easily their best game. But 1 of 14 is a failure.
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Old 12-18-2008   #7
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

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Originally Posted by noxiousdog View Post
They do deserve credit for Tennessee. It was easily their best game. But 1 of 14 is a failure.
It is indisputable that the Texans have been a failure on the defensive side of the ball for most of the season. The question is whether they're legitimately developing into a decent defense or if this is just a mirage.

From what I've seen Bulman, Okoye, and DelJuan Robinson do lately, I'm not convinced by FO's DVOA numbers at all. I see light.
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Old 12-18-2008   #8
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

Yea I definitely see the point, but I agree with the idea of the D passing the eye test for the past 4 weeks. They may not have played statistically much better according to the guru's, but they looked a hell of a lot better if you watched the game. Like night and day. I'm still not suggesting that they've looked fantastic, just much improved. Unfortunately I do think this means Richard Smith will keep his job. I think much of the improvement on D was because of what Kubiak suggested, there was continuity with the personnel on defense that wasn't there earlier in the season. Bentley, Adibi, Wilson, Ferguson, Dunta and Deljuan Robinson were all settling into active roles that they weren't in earlier in the year. Combine that with our apparently new found ability to use a well-timed blitz, and our defense stopped making some of the stupid coverage mistakes and looking more aggressive.

I still think Richard Smith needs to go. As others have mentioned, this has been a trend with his defenses since his arrival. Suck early in the year, play average for the last 5 or 6 games. I don't see much risk in trying to upgrade with a new D. Coordinator considering a season average of mediocre performances would be par for the course. Hell, if the new guy could just make us average over the course of a season it'd be a huge improvement.
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Old 12-18-2008   #9
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

Ahem....(clearing throat to sing a song in the lone ranger tune)

Fire Rick, Fire Rick
Fire Rick, Fire rick rick rick
Fire Rick, Fire Rick
Fire Rick Rick Rick.....
Fire Rick, Fire Rick
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiire Richard Smith!!!!!
-Thank you
( Also can be used for Petey sucks)
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Old 12-18-2008   #10
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

In my eyes out of the last 4 games the defense has played 1 good game (Jacksonville) 1 okay game (GB) and got saved in 2 games by the other teams offense having bad days (Cleveland and Tenn). If Cleveland doesn't have a terrible QB situation (For that particular game only due to Brady Quinn basically going on IR in the 3rd qtr) and Edwards doesn't drop 971 balls it's a much closer game. In the Tenn game you can't tell me that defensive performance was outstanding because it wasn't. Kerry Collins and Justin McCareins did more to hamper that offense than we did.

I'm tired of hoping that the opposing offense is going to be off for that day to give our team a chance to win. I felt the same way about the Colt game @IND in the first half. We were up 10 - 9 but that was mostly because Manning was off in the first half. When he started hitting his receivers coming out in the second half the game was completely different.

Some people are right and FO isn't the end all of statistical opinion but they do have a point. I have a question for the believers out there, how many games would we win if our offense only put up 13 points a game? Given everything being equal and there are no turnovers, how many times could we put a W down if we only scored 13 a game? My answer would be 1, maybe 2.
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Old 12-18-2008   #11
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

When we brought in Ray Rhodes I stated that we would end up playing lots of "bend but don't break" defense....Rhodes likes to keep the play in front of his players and tends to allow lots of yards in the middle of the field historically. At the start of the year we played 'bend but break' defense and now we are still giving up lots of plays but we are starting to play a little better when the field shrinks and on third downs.
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Old 12-18-2008   #12
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

I agree with b0ng's point above. Kerry Collins was as much as part of the Titans offensive ineffectiveness as our defense. There were several plays that he just overthrew his receivers, but they clearly had the coverage beat. If he had connected on 1 or 2 of those plays, the outcome probably would have been different.

You cannot rely on offensive meltdowns to be a good defense. And our D did not cause the failure. Collins was just having a bad day.

We did shut down the run, which I give major props to our D. We left it to Collins to beat us, and fortunately, he's an inconsistent QB. But Mario still needs another pass rusher with him, and our need at CB is glaring.
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Old 12-18-2008   #13
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

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Originally Posted by Vinny View Post
When we brought in Ray Rhodes I stated that we would end up playing lots of "bend but don't break" defense....Rhodes likes to keep the play in front of his players and tends to allow lots of yards in the middle of the field historically. At the start of the year we played 'bend but break' defense and now we are still giving up lots of plays but we are starting to play a little better when the field shrinks and on third downs.
agreed. but even the bending is less bent. Reeves and Wilson have made diving plays to swat the ball away on little curls and such. i don't remember seeing that 6 or 8 weeks ago. i don't remember our run defense being stout at the line of scrimmage ever. i don't buy the dunta's back theory. honestly, i don't know what the hell is going on there. but i STILL say that you can expect Smith back.
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Old 12-18-2008   #14
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

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I agree with b0ng's point above. Kerry Collins was as much as part of the Titans offensive ineffectiveness as our defense. There were several plays that he just overthrew his receivers, but they clearly had the coverage beat. If he had connected on 1 or 2 of those plays, the outcome probably would have been different.

You cannot rely on offensive meltdowns to be a good defense. And our D did not cause the failure. Collins was just having a bad day.

We did shut down the run, which I give major props to our D. We left it to Collins to beat us, and fortunately, he's an inconsistent QB. But Mario still needs another pass rusher with him, and our need at CB is glaring.
I don't agree at all. Collins was certainly off most of the game, but a big reason he was off was the consistent pressure the defensive line put on him. He was overthrowing his receivers because he was uncomfortable.

One of his best passes of the day came in the fourth quarter when he completed that 34 yarder to Gage. Hmm, just so happens that he had all day to throw that one. Go figure.

Conversely, one of his uglier passes (and more representative of his overall performance) occurred right after Kris Brown's FG put the Texans up 13-9. The Titans had 1st and 10 on their own 20. The Texans rushed five and DelJuan Robinson got free in the backfield. He obliterated Chris Johnson and knocked him on his ass and was bearing down on Collins, forcing him to throw a crappy pass off his back foot towards Crumpler down field. The pass never had a chance.

The D line is a big reason Collins sucked on Sunday. Yes, McCareins beat Bennett (or was it Reeves?) on that fourth down play, but it would've taken a perfect pass from Collins for the play to be successful because the DB was closing fast. The ball would've had to almost hit him in the head for it to hit McCareins's hands. The front four had effectively taken Collins out of rhythm all day.
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Old 12-18-2008   #15
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

Am I the only one who doesn't think it's a coincidence that the last four QBs we've faced have all had "bad days?"
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Old 12-18-2008   #16
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

The defense looks better, but Collins missed a ton of open receivers on Sunday--most notably on the fourth down play, but there were plenty of other guys he missed. I'll grant that we were getting better pressure (though not nearly as much pressure was Schaub was getting), but even a pressured QB should be able to hit a wide-open target 15 yards down the field in the NFL. Collins did not.

While the Jags game saw a better performance by the D, it still was not a very good one. Yes, the Jags rolled up 143 of their 385 yards in the last four minutes after they went down 23-3, but, if you examine their earlier drives, the stops we got were due either to Mario's individual brilliance or Jag self-destruction rather than us stoning them.

In the first drive, a holding penalty led to a three-and-out.
Drive #2 ended with Reeves' interception.
#3 ended with an MJD fumble.
#4 saw the Jags go from their 1 to our 25 before missing a FG.
#5 was the first punt we forced without the benefit of a penalty; Mario sacked Garrard on 3rd and 5.
#6 (first drive of second half) a 35-yard completion was nullified by a 15 yard facemask penalty and forced the Jags to punt.
#7 was a 69-yard drive that ended at our 11 with a FG.
#8 was a 56-yard drive that ended on downs at our 5 with that weird fourth-down-play where Matt Jones didn't even try to get open against Reeves.
#9 was the fumble forced by Mario
Drives 10 and 11 were long drives for the last 2 TDs.

So, basically, the only way we stopped the Jags from moving the ball was either (1) a turnover, (2) a Jag penalty or (3) a great individual play by Mario. Otherwise, we were in complete bend-don't-break mode and the Jags moved the ball on us easily. Now, I'll grant that our better overall play leads to more turnovers and penalties by the opponent, but that was not a hang-your-hat-on-it game (except for #90, of course).

I actually thought the D was much better in Lambeau, but, even then, they benefitted from some key penalties at key times (especially the holding penalty that negated a 15 yard run and let to DeMeco's clutch sack at the end). Still, I think that game was the defense's signature performance of the season--and they still gave up nearly 400 yards.

Finally, the Cleveland game can be chalked up to the Brownies abandoning the run for some completely-unexplained reason. Every time they came straight at us, they got good yardage. Why they didn't stick to it is a question we can ask Crennel when he hits the bricks a couple weeks from now.

No doubt, our defense the last four weeks is a vast improvement over what it was the first 10 games, but that just shows how god-awful we started.
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Old 12-18-2008   #17
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

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Originally Posted by Mailman View Post
TC,

I think you invest too much in what FO thinks. I think your opinion of the Texans is much more trustworthy than their DVOA stats, because you watch the Texans closely.

Overall I agree that the defense has been terrible this season, but these guys are on crack if they think DVOA tells the tale of the team's defensive performance over the last four weeks. That game recap does not accurately describe the game I watched Sunday (and rewatched on dvr twice).

The defense deserves credit for what they did against Tennessee.
My eyes are telling me that this Texans defense is bleh and not double plus bleh.

The FO folks are just confirming with numbers a lot of the stuff I am thinking.

It's sort of like when you get a deep tissue sports massage. And it hurts like hades. But by the end you feel better, not because the massage was good, but because it finally stopped.

So maybe you don't have Petey getting burned for a 96 yard TD, but it is still not even close to what it needs to be.
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Old 12-18-2008   #18
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

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I don't agree at all. Collins was certainly off most of the game, but a big reason he was off was the consistent pressure the defensive line put on him. He was overthrowing his receivers because he was uncomfortable.
You don't agree at all? You don't agree that we shut down the run? Holding the Titans to 100 yards rushing with no rushing TDs is hard to argue.

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One of his best passes of the day came in the fourth quarter when he completed that 34 yarder to Gage. Hmm, just so happens that he had all day to throw that one. Go figure.
You just stated that we were pressuring him all day. But then here you state that he had all day.

If you look at some of the plays, Collins got the ball to his receivers but he just overthrew them. Other plays his receivers were either dropping passes or put themselves in the wrong position. Collins even connected under pressure. He was just inconsistent, and we will have to agree to disagree if that inconsistency was solely because of our D (your take) or if it was a combination of a bad game along with the pressure of us taking away the run game.

I'm not trying to dog our D, but I'm not going to drink the koolaide that they have somehow turned the corner.

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The D line is a big reason Collins sucked on Sunday. Yes, McCareins beat Bennett (or was it Reeves?) on that fourth down play, but it would've taken a perfect pass from Collins for the play to be successful because the DB was closing fast. The ball would've had to almost hit him in the head for it to hit McCareins's hands. The front four had effectively taken Collins out of rhythm all day.
I see your point, but, a better QB would not have been closed down by the pressure we had on Sunday. The fact is that Collins is a decent game manager but he's not one of the NFL's great QBs. The pressure we put on him was perhaps enough to do it (along with limiting their run game), but we are going to need something stronger to go up against the better QBs in the league. That's all I'm trying to say here.
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Old 12-18-2008   #19
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

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Originally Posted by Texans_Chick View Post
My eyes are telling me that this Texans defense is bleh and not double plus bleh.

The FO folks are just confirming with numbers a lot of the stuff I am thinking.

It's sort of like when you get a deep tissue sports massage. And it hurts like hades. But by the end you feel better, not because the massage was good, but because it finally stopped.

So maybe you don't have Petey getting burned for a 96 yard TD, but it is still not even close to what it needs to be.
I don't read the site often, but from the few recaps I've read I get the impression they're more concerned with one-upping each other with witty zingers second-guessing players and coaches than offering factual observations of the games. I find the Football Guys do a better job because they give straight information without trying to impress everyone with clever ridicule.

Vince Verhei's observations this week were kinda off the mark, IMO, and I'm surprised that a football expert would express confusion about the onside kick at the end of the first half. Was it really that confusing, Vince? All they were trying to do was play keep away from the Texans' returners. They got lucky and actually recovered the ball.

The defense over the last month has played well. The Texans are winning the turnover battle and they're getting off the field on third down, two things they weren't doing when they were losing. They're not giving up 30 points a game, either. I'm not saying they're great, but they're better than the Outsiders believe them to be. Schatz and the other FO experts are too focused on what they did over the last three months and not focused enough on the last month. I think it's a trend and not a mirage.
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Old 12-18-2008   #20
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Default Re: A look at the Texans defensive numbers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailman View Post
Am I the only one who doesn't think it's a coincidence that the last four QBs we've faced have all had "bad days?"
Collins had a bad day. Quinn/Anderson had a below average day.


Rodgers went 19/30 for 295 yards, 2 TDs and a pick.
Gerrard went 25/35 for 287 yards, 1 TD and a pick.
Those are good days.
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