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Old 03-14-2009   #1
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Default The 08' Season: Analysis

First, I can't spell analysis

So we often hear about how the season is split up into quarters. Nothing could be more true when you think about the Houston Texans in 2008. The first quarter was horrible. Expectations were high and the team was devastated first in points, then by a hurricane; thirdly and forthly by two heart breaking losses one with missed opportunities and one with a blown lead.

I'm subscribed to the NFL Rewind and I'm reviewing the season game by game. I thought I'd split it up into the aforementioned quarters and break it down as best I can. Here goes:

First Quarter

Offense
QB

With expectations high we came out flat, Schaub looks good in the first series and after a few hits, he appears to loose sight of the decision making that we hoped to see improve from the 07' season. Some speculate a concussion. It's hard to say for sure but there is no question that Schaub's decision making is flawed in the first four weeks.

By the end of the first game he seems to be thinking clearer but he's very inconsistent against the Tacks and even though he puts up good numbers against the Jags he's still making bonehead decisions, strange reads and most importanly, for some reason he's inaccurate when throwing to Johnson specifically.

Rosenfels comes in to the Indy game and gives a fair argument for a QB issue in Houston. He seems to be seeing the field more consistently and oddly, finding Johnson repeatedly.

RB

The run game is non existent in wk 1 but it's clear that the ZBS is going to take some time. By week two we're starting to think this Slaton kid's pretty decent and by wk 4 he's a bonafied rookie sensation.

WR

These guys are all on top of their game. It's apparent that they are used to being without Johnson. They all hold their own. Even cocky if you will. If I'm Johnson I'm starting to get annoyed with the fact that Schaub can't throw me a single pass where I can reach it. I might be loosing my concentration by wk 3 against Jax cuz by the end of the first half I'm not apart of the game plan and when my QB does throw it to me he misses me. I bet if he hit me right in the numbers in the endzone I'd catch it for sure... After the colts game I want to go to Schaub and say... "do it like that" (except for at the end).

OL

The OLine takes a beating in week one except that Brown actually seems to handle his side fairly well. His technique slips from time to time but overall he's holding his own. By the Jax game we've actually established a running game but we're inconsistent. Meyers gets pushed around alot and slowly we start to see that the right side (including Winston) is a weakness in pass pro. The left side seems to be faulty in run blocking unless they are the backside and then they fuction well between Brown and Pitts.

OVERALL

Overall the offense seems to show flashes at times and weakness' as well. Decision making and accuracy by Schaub seems to be our major weakness. By wk four we're running all over the Colts poor defense and we're looking fairly well on our way. Why is this Schaub guy still "the guy"? He seems like a bit of a head case... It's clear he's the better quarterback when he's the better quarterback, I mean to say, his better is better than Rosenfels'. He looks down field and when accurate he's perfect, but he's wildly inconsistent.
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Old 03-14-2009   #2
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

Defense

DLine

The defense is a mystery, no matter who lines up on the DLine we don't get pressure except from Williams. By wk 4 Bulman is starting to emerge as an aggressive pass rusher. Cochran is physical and aggressive as well... but they don't get any pressure. They're flying around but they can't get there fast enough. Mario is so close so many times it kills you to watch. Okoye and Johnson don't make plays. Period. I can't figure out why they're on the field.

LB

The linebackers seem clearly two sided. Demeco is looking like his old self, the Diles kid seems to be around the ball consistently and by the Indy game he's a difference maker. Greenwood is out of position and missing tackles, I can't figure out why he's on the field. Bently comes in at one point and looks terrific! He makes two tackles for a loss in his first two snaps. They seems to get blown up in run stopping thought because the interior DLine is getting manhandled. Demeco has stellar vision though and if he can keep guys off him he's making plays at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield consistently.

CB

Bennett is around his guy and you're thinking "he's gonna be good" but slowly, and it's very hard to figure out from the TV camera angles but he's always around the ball but it's after a big play. he's apparently out of position or slow to react alot. getting beat on hitch routes and strange simple things. physically he seems slow. in quickness not in overall speed. Reeves is all over his guy all the time. ALL THE TIME. You can't figure out why he gets beat on third downs because he's right there... but he's not turning for the ball. By week four it's frustrating. Why isn't he correcting this? Faggins starts to show up in wk 3 and looks better and better by wk 4 but you're thinking this guy is a good nickle guy. Not a #2. By wk 4 I believe he's replaced Bennett.

S
Model boy is all over the field but getting caught to far away from the ball downfield. Physically it's becoming clear that he can't keep up. Harrison looks lost in wk 1 but by wk 3 he's looking better but eventually he peaks and starts to look lost again... can't figure out why he's on the field.

DEFENSE OVERALL

This is a mystery, the defense seems to be aggressive and blitzing and showing different looks and switching from man to zone and really shaking it up but the blitzes don't get there and the front 4 don't get there and the secondary is getting eaten alive. All the misdirection and different looks don't seem to be fooling anyone or if it is fooling them, it's not causing enough confusion to cause pressure. At the end of the first quarter the defense is looking terrible except for Williams, Cochran Bulman, Ryans, Diles and (at times) Reeves.

ST

We look porous on both sides, what happened to our kick return game and kick cover game? we can't block or tackle. Kicker and Punter seem fine. Jones is a heart attack. It's clear that he's one step from breaking it or making a bone head decision... (I wonder what will happen...)
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Old 03-14-2009   #3
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

Barrett,

NFL Rewind is awesome, huh?!

Did you notice how ODaniels looked blocking in the run game? I know he was very impressive late in the season, but I'm curious how much progression happened before that?

Did you actually watch the 4th quarter of the Rosencopter game? I couldn't make myself do it.

Also, at this point in the season, is Cochran playing DT next to Mario on passing downs? My memory is that he looked quite good rushing the passer before his injury from that spot.

Finally, How much Dejuan Robinson has there been to this point? I'm interested in how he looked early in the season and how many opportunities he got.



Awesome job!! I look forward to part 2. I really enjoyed the Demarcus Faggins props, BTW! I was the lone member of that bandwagon in the first quarter of '08, if you remember... I'm pretty sure I spilled beer on Chuck just celebrating when he took the field.
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Old 03-14-2009   #4
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

I forgot to mention that Vonta Leach looks AMAZING!!!!


DeJuan has been in some sort of rotation but I didn't notice much production from him. Cochran is in, I can't remember if it's just passing downs or if he's next to Williams because Williams is shifting back and forth. Cochron seems to always be on the strong side.

Daniels is inconsistent in pass blocking. Another thing I failed to mention, it appears that Meyers, although always getting pushed backwards, he settles in after a few steps back and although it is hindering Schaub from stepping up it doesn't seem to have as much of an effect as you might think. You can't say that Schaubs inconsistency is due to not being able to step up. He takes a deep drop so it's not as much of a factor but it does effect him when the tackles loose too much ground. (winston specifically)
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Old 03-15-2009   #5
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

If you want to be a stat hound and look at the offense play by play..

here you go
http://www.chron.com/databases/texansplaybook.html
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Old 03-15-2009   #6
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

vonta leech is prob one of are best playes but he has dropped a few short passes thrown his way but i let that slide since hes a FB and u dont usally throw to a FB


and even given his size he has gone down pretty easy by much smaller guyz
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Old 03-16-2009   #7
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

I'm rushing into the 2nd Quarter of the season because my rewind pass is expiring in the morning. Plus, I"m eager to get past the depressing 1st Quarter.


Second Quarter

Offense
QB

As if Schaub somehow knew it would be more dramatic this way, He comes out looking awful after returning from his illness. He's randomly inaccurate, sometimes spectacular and mostly still a head scratcher in his first week back. He pulls out the win in exciting form but leaves you asking yourself what we actually have here? Over the course of the next two weeks he is stellar and he torches the two worst teams in the league. You begin to see what the offense is supposed to look like with the help of weaker defenses but more than anything you begin to recognize that Schaub's decision making is starting to really come together. His accuracy improves as well.

It isn't until the Vikings game where the team as a whole kicks themselves but it's clear that Schaub's knee injury effects his decision making. At this point it is becoming clear that he is unlucky but he may be a bit un-tough too. He seems to get shaken mentally after he takes a few big hits in a row. In his defense, in this game the OLine is really letting him down (more on this later).

Rosenfels comes in to replace him in the second half and just when you're starting to remember how good he was looking in the Indy game, he reminds you how bad he looked at the end of the Indy game. End of debate there. Still a very VERY capable backup.

RB

Slaton continues to impress with his reads and burst. His pass blocking improves. Everything improves actually. Green comes back in and shows that he'll make a very good #2 until he gets hurt... and then, well, that's the end of that.

WR

There is nothing to say about them except the are a stellar group as a unit and it's very difficult to find a single flaw in their game except that they don't make the "amazing" catches but they sure as hell make a ton of the rest of them. and they are clutch. all of them. Johnson is proven to be one of the best if not the very best in the NFL. In the one catch that Jones makes in the VIking game you have to hope he can get on the field more. He's very exciting and seems to be a cut away from a big play.

OL

It's becoming clear that our tackles are struggling in pass pro. They seem to hold up but the pocket seems to break down quicker than you would hope. Perhaps it's designed to work this way because it's more built for the run game with the smaller linemen who won't be able to hold up for very long in pass pro. It's frustrating because when you look at it from just pass protection you think they all suck except pitts. AND THEN WE RUN THE BALL. Pitts is the weakest run blocker but the best pass blocker maybe Meyers is worse against the run. The timing of the offense seems to click though and that's why I think I'm beginning to understand that this is how it works.


OVERALL
It's become clear by this point that Schaub and the Texans are well on their way. If they can get more reps, they will really come together. If Schaub continues to improve we could have a consistently elite offense. Currently we are untested with no real competition except the Vikings and Schaub got hurt. I'd kill for another stab at these guys.

p.s. the only real noticeble bad coaching call I have noticed is going for the onside kick vs. the vikings. there are 3 minutes left and we have 1 timeout and have contained peterson for the most part.
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Old 03-16-2009   #8
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

Defense

DLine

Nothing has changed here. Williams, Bullman and Cochran are the only play makers at all. And they are not getting it done. Okoye seems to be a good run tackler in the interior but he and Dejuan Robinson, Johnson and Zgonina are getting no pass rush at all. We seem to be improving against the run over all. But the lack of pass rush is really become aparent that it's more of an issue on the interior of the line. Also, we are consistently getting beat by scrambling because our edge rushers are so far up field and the interior linemen are pushed to the sides. There is no pressure up the middle.

LB

Say hello to our new LB duo of Demeco and Diles. Diles by the end of the 2nd Quarter is a tackling machine. You see he and Ryans reacting simultaneously to formations and they are clearly on the same page and equally agressive. Diles is really becoming a threat as a pass rusher too. He's a great open field tackler as well. If anything I notice Ryans attacking at the line of scrimmage but missing quite a few tackles surprisingly. Greenwood is on the field and wearing a uniform.

CB

By this point Reeves inability to play the ball is nauseating. He's on his guy but keeps letting the receiver catch it. Bennett gets benched and comes back much more focused. By the end of the 2nd Quarter I feel like he's not starting but is on the field more than FAggins. Oh, he can run with his guy AND plays the ball. Dunta is getting more aggressive but he makes mistakes. There isn't much we can do. There's no pass rush and our CB's are flawed. One guy can cover but can't play the ball. One guy can do everything but is young and inconsistent. One guy is clearly rusty and the fourth guy Faggins is consistently not good enough to be on the field for very long. This group needs better coaching or more help from the DLine.

S
It only takes one week for Wilson and Ferguson to be on the field together for you to start feeling better about this group. Unfortunately it's against the Vikings where the team as a whole was not playing as well. Harrison still rears his head from time to time and I am understanding that he's young because every now and then he makes a play at the line. But only at the line. our SS group is still just that. a bunch of SS's

DEFENSE OVERALL

The aggressive play calling has continued and half way through the season it appears that the coaches haven't changed anything other than personnel. And none of the personnel has any notable effect other than Wilson and Ferguson. at this point they've only played 1 game together though. We are clearly in good shape with 4 players. Thats right, only 4. Williams, Cochran, Diles and Ryans. I'm starting to feel good about Bennett again as well. But othewise it's looking hopeless. And yet in every game they play well as a unit sometimes. So it's very frustrating to watch. Most glaring... no pass rush.

ST

Jacoby Jones is going to be a superstar! God he's scary though. We really lucked out with this guy but it's obvious that sometimes he's really taking chances. So long as he keeps scoring touchdowns I"m loving it. Bah da bah bah bah....
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Old 03-16-2009   #9
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

Fantastic writeup, thank you so much. Looking forward to the next couple of quarters!
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Old 03-16-2009   #10
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

Thanks again, Barrett. A few questions:

1. In the Detroit game, on the big C.Johnson TD... Could you tell if Faggins was supposed to have safety help? My recollection is that Kubiak said they were playing quarters, which means Faggins had deep responsibilities on his quarter of the field>

2. Should I start a thread suggesting Winston move to guard and we got Rashod Butler on the field at RT and draft another tackle to go along with a veteran?

3. Are you now as upset as I am that Cochran was let go when his contract was for so little? I just don't see how he doesn't belong in any 7 or 8 man rotation of our DL, regardless of what happens this off-season.

4. Has Briesel begun to look better to this point?

5. Did you notice the running plays we used on the left side where Brown pulls out toward his sideline as a lead blocker and either Kevin Walter or OD cracks down on the DE. That was one of our most effective running plays this season and it really highlights Brown's athleticism?

6. How is OD's blocking at this point?


Okay, thanks.
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Old 03-16-2009   #11
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

This is great! I'm looking forward to more. Thank you, barrett.
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Old 03-16-2009   #12
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

Thank you very much for this great writeup. I am too looking forward to the last two pieces.
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Old 03-16-2009   #13
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

Quote:
Originally Posted by barrett View Post
Defense

DLine

The defense is a mystery, no matter who lines up on the DLine we don't get pressure except from Williams. By wk 4 Bulman is starting to emerge as an aggressive pass rusher. Cochran is physical and aggressive as well... but they don't get any pressure. They're flying around but they can't get there fast enough. Mario is so close so many times it kills you to watch. Okoye and Johnson don't make plays. Period. I can't figure out why they're on the field.

LB

The linebackers seem clearly two sided. Demeco is looking like his old self, the Diles kid seems to be around the ball consistently and by the Indy game he's a difference maker. Greenwood is out of position and missing tackles, I can't figure out why he's on the field. Bently comes in at one point and looks terrific! He makes two tackles for a loss in his first two snaps. They seems to get blown up in run stopping thought because the interior DLine is getting manhandled. Demeco has stellar vision though and if he can keep guys off him he's making plays at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield consistently.

CB

Bennett is around his guy and you're thinking "he's gonna be good" but slowly, and it's very hard to figure out from the TV camera angles but he's always around the ball but it's after a big play. he's apparently out of position or slow to react alot. getting beat on hitch routes and strange simple things. physically he seems slow. in quickness not in overall speed. Reeves is all over his guy all the time. ALL THE TIME. You can't figure out why he gets beat on third downs because he's right there... but he's not turning for the ball. By week four it's frustrating. Why isn't he correcting this? Faggins starts to show up in wk 3 and looks better and better by wk 4 but you're thinking this guy is a good nickle guy. Not a #2. By wk 4 I believe he's replaced Bennett.

S
Model boy is all over the field but getting caught to far away from the ball downfield. Physically it's becoming clear that he can't keep up. Harrison looks lost in wk 1 but by wk 3 he's looking better but eventually he peaks and starts to look lost again... can't figure out why he's on the field.

DEFENSE OVERALL

This is a mystery, the defense seems to be aggressive and blitzing and showing different looks and switching from man to zone and really shaking it up but the blitzes don't get there and the front 4 don't get there and the secondary is getting eaten alive. All the misdirection and different looks don't seem to be fooling anyone or if it is fooling them, it's not causing enough confusion to cause pressure. At the end of the first quarter the defense is looking terrible except for Williams, Cochran Bulman, Ryans, Diles and (at times) Reeves.

ST

We look porous on both sides, what happened to our kick return game and kick cover game? we can't block or tackle. Kicker and Punter seem fine. Jones is a heart attack. It's clear that he's one step from breaking it or making a bone head decision... (I wonder what will happen...)
Are you sure you were watching the Texans defense? About the only thing aggressive about this unit in the 1st 4 games was the PPG allowed & rushing yards allowed. They were mostly conservative, tried stupid stunts at stupid times, made bonehead plays and let teams keep drives alive due to poor playcalling AND poor play. A few individuals shined, but there was consistent lack of playmaking across the board. Your unit by unit analysis of the D was pretty good, though.
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Old 03-16-2009   #14
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalemurphy View Post
Thanks again, Barrett. A few questions:

3. Are you now as upset as I am that Cochran was let go when his contract was for so little? I just don't see how he doesn't belong in any 7 or 8 man rotation of our DL, regardless of what happens this off-season.
seems to me Cochran wasn't satisfied with the Texans' offer and wanted to test the market...

Quote:
Cochran, 28, provided depth at end and tackle. In his one start last season at Indianapolis, he suffered a season-ending foot injury that required surgery. He continues to undergo rehabilitation and is expected to be ready by training camp.
Cochran received the minimum tender of $1.01 million, meaning the team had a right of first refusal if they failed to match an offer sheet he signed with another team. After the Texans signed Arizona defensive end Antonio Smith, they withdrew the tender and offered Cochran a one-year contract. He was released when they failed to reach an agreement.
LINK
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Old 03-16-2009   #15
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

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seems to me Cochran wasn't satisfied with the Texans' offer and wanted to test the market...



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He was a RFA. It didn't matter if he was satisfied with it or not.
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Old 03-17-2009   #16
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

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Thanks again, Barrett. A few questions:

1. In the Detroit game, on the big C.Johnson TD... Could you tell if Faggins was supposed to have safety help? My recollection is that Kubiak said they were playing quarters, which means Faggins had deep responsibilities on his quarter of the field>
It's really hard to tell what's going on in the secondary because of the camera angles. (i'd like to make a push for next years rewind to involve wide agle bypass option. but only nerds would care about this so I don't see it happening.) There was one safety deep and both receivers ran deep routes. Johnson's speed clearly was way more than Faggins was prepared for. He had help but there was no way he could have got there in time. The only way I could see that being avoided is if the safety was cheating to Johnson's side. Or making sure Faggins isn't 1 on 1 with him.

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2. Should I start a thread suggesting Winston move to guard and we got Rashod Butler on the field at RT and draft another tackle to go along with a veteran?
This is only the 2nd quarter of the season. Let's see what's going to happen....

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3. Are you now as upset as I am that Cochran was let go when his contract was for so little? I just don't see how he doesn't belong in any 7 or 8 man rotation of our DL, regardless of what happens this off-season.
I was upset immediately. I posted the story about him being released. I'm now even more upset. The only scenario I can figure is that somehow he wanted to try to test the market and the Texans are always looking to further the careers of their family so they let him go? I know that's rediculous but I can't figure out (by the 2nd quarter of the season) why on earth they would release him.

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4. Has Briesel begun to look better to this point?
honestly he's not looking bad at all thus far. I would say he's done fairly well in both run blocking and pass pro. Admittedly I've really been focusing on Brown, Winston and Meyers in pass pro and Pitts, Brown, Daniels and Dreesen in run blocking. But I haven't singled Brisel out because I'm not seeing him getting blown up or running around with no one to block. If nothing else he's well rounded.

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5. Did you notice the running plays we used on the left side where Brown pulls out toward his sideline as a lead blocker and either Kevin Walter or OD cracks down on the DE. That was one of our most effective running plays this season and it really highlights Brown's athleticism?
I have noticed this play. I don't think it's used as often in the first half of the season but I've seen it. I plan to focus more and more on the run blocking in the 2nd half because the passing game seems to be very consistent. (minus the QB play)

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6. How is OD's blocking at this point?
Better but he clearly whiffs from time to time. By the second quarter he's become a play maker down field. He seems inconsistent on the line of scrimmage. When he's on he looks great as a blocker.
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Old 03-17-2009   #17
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

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Are you sure you were watching the Texans defense? About the only thing aggressive about this unit in the 1st 4 games was the PPG allowed & rushing yards allowed. They were mostly conservative, tried stupid stunts at stupid times, made bonehead plays and let teams keep drives alive due to poor playcalling AND poor play. A few individuals shined, but there was consistent lack of playmaking across the board. Your unit by unit analysis of the D was pretty good, though.
I didn't say they were doing anything well. They were being aggressive it just wasn't working. They were blitzing more and stunting more but it didn't make any difference. It was aggressive by Texans standards.

By the second quarter I was seeing alot of Diles blitzing from the weak side and Dunta even got in the mix by the Cincy game. We were playing 8 men up alot and they weren't always reading and reacting. I saw a few times where we sent everybody and NOBODY got there.
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Old 03-17-2009   #18
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

I'm waiting for the 3rd quarter.
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Old 03-18-2009   #19
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

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vonta leech is prob one of are best playes but he has dropped a few short passes thrown his way but i let that slide since hes a FB and u dont usally throw to a FB


and even given his size he has gone down pretty easy by much smaller guyz
Yes, but the one he caught in Green Bay on the side line was pretty good wasn't it ? No way I though he had the grear much less the hands to make that catch.....that wasn't tallent ...that was shear will. He willed himslef to make that play. Can't measure a guys heart.
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Old 03-18-2009   #20
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Default Re: The 08' Season: analisys

On that play his heart took up the whole screen.
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