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Old 04-04-2009   #1
dalemurphy
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Default Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

I know it's not exactly a thrill a minute being a Texan fan during the off-season, but I sure do like the way Rick Smith handles things. He has really done a nice job of deepening the talent on the roster with guys with some upside and in areas where our team lacked quality depth. Also, adding a 4th round pick in this draft, which is so deep, and immediately getting a young QB with a ton of ability and some experience as Schaub's backup.

Hopefully, after the draft, he'll be able to get some of these guys extended:
Dunta, CPitts, OD, DRyans, RButler, KWalter. It appears that the team, after signing picks, will still be $7- $10 million under the cap. That will be useful in re-signing this group- to be able to frontload some of these contracts so we don't get into trouble moving forward.

Here's a brief look at how he's improved the team this off-season, by position:

QB- Orlovsky played fairly well in his first 7 starts as a pro. His TD/int ratio was much better than Sage last year and obviously he was working under tougher conditions. He's a big and athletic guy with a strong arm. So, even if his QB skills don't improve much (which they should under Kubiak), he'll be more effective running bootlegs and stretch the defense with his deep balls. Considering Sage was in his last year under contract and is 4 years older, getting a 4th and Orlavsky under contract for 3 seasons is a really nice move. By the way, the Schaub trade is starting to look really good!

RB- Nothing so far. I'm assuming 2 things: 1. They've solidified other areas in preparation for some draft focus at RB. 2. They plan to pickup someone after the draft, probably one of the 15 RBs currently on Denver's roster.

WR- I like that they matched DAnderson's deal. He's a nice, small part of this team and I appreciate that Kubiak and Smith have a holistic view of the roster and aren't simply concerned about the top 30 or so players... some organizations actually do work that way (Washington, Dallas)

TE- High tender on OD was a no-brainer but also smart. And, I like the Dressen extension.

OT- The Rashod Butler pickup from '07 is going to payoff this year. He was tendered and is in position to be the swing tackle. I anticipate them to draft another OT late now that Salaam is gone.

OG/C- I'm worried a bit here. Pitts will be a FA after the season. Briesel, again, an excellent pickup a couple seasons ago. CMyers also was an excellent move. He's not a world-beater but for the money he's getting and for only a 6th round pick, he was very solid for us. We have no depth (CWhite, Studdard) and haven't addressed it at all. I'm thinking at least one interior lineman by round 4. There are at least 5 centers than are ready for the NFL in this year's draft.

DE- The only real money we spent was on Antonio Smith. I like what I've seen and heard from him so far. Clearly, though, the jury is still out. I do appreciate that our focus in FA is on younger guys with a good work ethic. I don't understand the dismissal of Earl Cochran- that's a head-scratcher. We tendered Bulman which was a good move because of his effort, versatility.

DT- Shaun Cody is a very inexpensive signing. He hasn't been able to rush the passer as a pro but he should at least compete with TJ and Okam as a run stuffer and perhaps we'll uncover some more of his talent.

LB- Buster Davis could compete for a backup role and is a good ST player. He'll probably compete for the last roster spot (7th LB) with Kevin Coley. I love the Cato June signing. He's excellent depth at the WILL if Adibi beats him out and stays healthy. Certainly 2 million is a little pricey for a backup, but he also will likely sub in nickel and dime packages and immediately becomes our best pass defending LB. Looking back to last season, the Bentley signing was a quiet yet brilliant one. Bentley is still pretty young and he was excellent on ST and when he subbed in at MLB or on the outside.

CB- Faggins was let go which speaks to our improved depth. The Reeves signing looks pretty good now. Even if Reeves regresses this season, his cap hit going into 2010 will be negligiable. I expect we may draft another CB at some point. However, I think the team believes it's 4 deep right now (Dunta, Reeves, Bennett, Molden). I'm glad they franchised Dunta. Giving him $25 million guaranteed is awfully steep so soon after the injury he had. Clearly, Smith mishandled how he expressed his intention not to franchise Dunta but I doubt that will be an issue moving forward. If nothing gets done this season, as long as the other contracts are taken care of, they can franchise him again if needed.

S- I guess that 6th round pick spent on DBarber is looking good. I'm glad they let CCBrown go and am thrilled with the EWilson pickup and his re-signing. They wisely re-signed Nick Ferguson as well. We need to get more athletic at safety and I expect an early to mid round pick spent there. I'm thoroughly confused as to why we didn't talk to Sean Jones. Phillie got him for almost nothing 2 weeks into FA.


Our only glaring roster needs as of today are: RB, interior OL, S... all of which can be adequately addressed in the mid-rounds. It's refreshing to see how many minor deals and pickups have ended up shaping this team:

KWalter (trade 7th round pick)
E Wilson (FA dirt cheap)
Bulman (FA dirt cheap)
Bentley (FA, about $1 million per year)
CMyers (trade 6th round pick)
Briesel (FA, minimum salary)
Dressens (FA?)
NFerguson (FA, vet minimum, i think)
RButler (pulled of carolina practice squad, i think)
VLeach (cheap FA)
ADavis (pretty cheap FA, then re-signed for 4yrs -$11 million or so)

that's a pretty impressive list of guys that we got off the streets cheap or in minor trades. that doesn't even include our late round draft picks (4-7)... below are some of those:

ODaniels (4)
DAnderson (7)
FBennett (4)
DBarber (6)
Adibi (4)
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Old 04-04-2009   #2
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

Just simply.....awesome post man.
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Old 04-04-2009   #3
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

I think Smith and Kubiak still have an incomplete on their report card. Yeah, they replaced Weaver with Antonio Smith. Should be a very good swap. But, they still lack an edge rusher opposite Mario on passing downs. As you pointed out, they have yet to address the lack of depth at RB or the interior offensive line. Smith and Kubiak seem a little too confident in the safeties, for my taste. And to me, Shaun Cody is too much like the DTs already on the roster to expect much of an impact.

Regarding getting the extensions on the main guys like DeMeco, Dunta, and Daniels, this is a tough offseason to make that happen. I'm not going to give or take away props on handling these situations, because we really don't know what these players are asking for.

Smith and Kubiak have put a lot of pressure on themselves to fill holes in this draft. While I don't have many problems with what they've brought in during free agency, I just don't think it is enough. Still, the offseason is far from over, and there is time get the job done. I'll reserve the back slapping for when they actually get the job done.
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Old 04-04-2009   #4
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
I think Smith and Kubiak still have an incomplete on their report card. Yeah, they replaced Weaver with Antonio Smith. Should be a very good swap. But, they still lack an edge rusher opposite Mario on passing downs. As you pointed out, they have yet to address the lack of depth at RB or the interior offensive line. Smith and Kubiak seem a little too confident in the safeties, for my taste. And to me, Shaun Cody is too much like the DTs already on the roster to expect much of an impact.

Regarding getting the extensions on the main guys like DeMeco, Dunta, and Daniels, this is a tough offseason to make that happen. I'm not going to give or take away props on handling these situations, because we really don't know what these players are asking for.

Smith and Kubiak have put a lot of pressure on themselves to fill holes in this draft. While I don't have many problems with what they've brought in during free agency, I just don't think it is enough. Still, the offseason is far from over, and there is time get the job done. I'll reserve the back slapping for when they actually get the job done.


a few things:

1. we should definitely be able to get extensions done for all of the 4year NFL players: OD, DRyans, Butler... because until collective bargaining is reached- those guys have to worry about not becoming FAs until 2012. So, that is a huge bargaining chip that the team should use:

"Demeco, here's a 5 year deal that will make you the 7th highest paid LB in football. It's the best we can do. If you choose not to accept then you may have to come back for the next two seasons with only a 20% raise off your current, relatively small salary. Under the deal we are offering, you'll see $20 million between now and the end of 2011. If a CBA isn't reached, you'll only see $2.5 million during that same time.

2. Don't you find the list of small deal guys from Smith's first 2 years to be quite impressive? And, in the regard, I anticipate some of this season's will work out as well. The main compliment, however, is the efficiency for which they are adding depth, youth, and potential to the back end of the roster.

again, here's that list:
KWalter (trade 7th round pick)
E Wilson (FA dirt cheap)
Bulman (FA dirt cheap)
Bentley (FA, about $1 million per year)
CMyers (trade 6th round pick)
Briesel (FA, minimum salary)
Dressens (FA?)
NFerguson (FA, vet minimum, i think)
RButler (pulled of carolina practice squad, i think)
VLeach (cheap FA)
ADavis (pretty cheap FA, then re-signed for 4yrs -$11 million or so)
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Old 04-04-2009   #5
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

Really good stuff, thanks mate
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Old 04-04-2009   #6
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

But but what about Demeco and Dunta? We haven't given them their cash yet?

Don't they get an F on that basis alone?

/sarcasm
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Old 04-04-2009   #7
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

We still need

1. young SAM
2. Speed rusher DE
3. 2 RB's
4. DT who can stop the run & in 2010 replace TJ
5. CB Later in the draft 4-5th rd to replace Petey
6. S It would be great to get an impact S but I will settle for S depth for 09

With that said I think that Smithiak have done a great job of filling needs considerinng the budget constraints that Uncle BoB has them under.

With the FA's Smithiak have picked up they can take the BPA (defense). Instead of having to be forced to draft for need.

There's still much work to be done.
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Old 04-04-2009   #8
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

Great post dalemurphy!
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Old 04-04-2009   #9
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
I think Smith and Kubiak still have an incomplete on their report card. Yeah, they replaced Weaver with Antonio Smith. Should be a very good swap. But, they still lack an edge rusher opposite Mario on passing downs. As you pointed out, they have yet to address the lack of depth at RB or the interior offensive line. Smith and Kubiak seem a little too confident in the safeties, for my taste. And to me, Shaun Cody is too much like the DTs already on the roster to expect much of an impact.

Regarding getting the extensions on the main guys like DeMeco, Dunta, and Daniels, this is a tough offseason to make that happen. I'm not going to give or take away props on handling these situations, because we really don't know what these players are asking for.

Smith and Kubiak have put a lot of pressure on themselves to fill holes in this draft. While I don't have many problems with what they've brought in during free agency, I just don't think it is enough. Still, the offseason is far from over, and there is time get the job done. I'll reserve the back slapping for when they actually get the job done.
Just out of curiosity, what holes do you think they need to fill in the draft with immediate impact players that they didn't already bring in free agency? The Texans needed a DE...check, DT...check, and a LB...check. That's fewer holes that need to be filled during the draft and come to think of it, I may already be able to answer that question by saying we still need secondary help, whether Safety or CB, and a bruiser at RB. IMO, I think we fill those needs in the first two rounds which eases the pressure on Smith and Kubiak to go BPA the remainder of the draft.
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Old 04-04-2009   #10
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalemurphy View Post
Don't you find the list of small deal guys from Smith's first 2 years to be quite impressive?
I think the Walter deal was excellent. Though Smith gets no credit, as he was working in Denver at the time of the trade. That was Kubiak's deal. And really, all of the deals Smith has done since joining the organization have been with Kubiak's blessings. Smith doesn't work in a vacuum.

Rick Smith has a reputation for finding low cost and street free agents who perform above their price tag. Thus far as a GM, his record for signing higher priced free agents has been poor. I'm going to examine what he and Kubiak have done thus far in 2009 without such prejudice based upon past successes or failures. Whatever has or hasn't been done in the past doesn't have an effect on what needs to be done now. I'm not giving credit for something that has yet to happen.
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Old 04-04-2009   #11
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
I think the Walter deal was excellent. Though Smith gets no credit, as he was working in Denver at the time of the trade. That was Kubiak's deal. And really, all of the deals Smith has done since joining the organization have been with Kubiak's blessings. Smith doesn't work in a vacuum.
Rick Smith has a reputation for finding low cost and street free agents who perform above their price tag. Thus far as a GM, his record for signing higher priced free agents has been poor. I'm going to examine what he and Kubiak have done thus far in 2009 without such prejudice based upon past successes or failures. Whatever has or hasn't been done in the past doesn't have an effect on what needs to be done now. I'm not giving credit for something that has yet to happen.


I agree. And, in regards to this off-season, I appreciate the focus on inexpensive, young players with some upside at positions where they don't have to become great players in order to improve our depth.

I also agree that Kubiak and Smith work together and will share credit and blame for a lot of what they do. That being said, if I'm discussing how much a player has improved over the course of his time in Houston, I'm going to give particular credit to the coaching staff and Kubiak. If I'm discussing strictly draft picks and FA signings, then I'll be sure to primarily credit/blame Rick Smith, though I realize that Kubiak has something to say about it as well.
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Old 04-04-2009   #12
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexMexVato View Post
Just out of curiosity, what holes do you think they need to fill in the draft with immediate impact players that they didn't already bring in free agency? The Texans needed a DE...check, DT...check, and a LB...check.
Antonio Smith is a DE, and should fill that need. But, he doesn't bring a resume as an accomplished pass rusher. Mario Williams has accounted for 46% of the Texans QB sacks over the past 2 seasons. He must get help in pressuring the QB in order for the Texans to create turnovers and get the opposing offense off the field. Unless someone from the current roster emerges as that pass rusher, it is still a huge hole to be filled.

Regarding the DT and LBs brought in, it's a major stretch to label them as immediate impact players. At best, they could push for starting jobs and provide quality depth. At worst, become training camp fodder. I will credit Smith and Kubiak for these signings when they produce on the field.
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Old 04-04-2009   #13
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

If Bush wants to play pressure defense Smith needs to add an OLB & DE in rds 1-3.

I think we will have a much improved defense with these additions.

Adibi has added 20lbs of muscle & is my pick for most improved player in 09
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Old 04-04-2009   #14
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalemurphy View Post
that's a pretty impressive list of guys that we got off the streets cheap or in minor trades. that doesn't even include our late round draft picks (4-7)... below are some of those:

ODaniels (4)
DAnderson (7)
FBennett (4)
DBarber (6)
Adibi (4)
Great post dm!

That 4th round sure seems to be our "money" round, and we have 2 of them this year!
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Old 04-04-2009   #15
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

I would guess that the 3rd would now become our money round. Reason; We used to have over night to study what was left over from the 1st day and plan our picks accordingly. Now the time to study the left overs is the 3rd round. Just seems to make sense that we would pick better when they aren't under the gun and have a few moments to think about the next selection. No doubt about it though, they have made some nice selections in the 4th.
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Old 04-04-2009   #16
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
Antonio Smith is a DE, and should fill that need. But, he doesn't bring a resume as an accomplished pass rusher. Mario Williams has accounted for 46% of the Texans QB sacks over the past 2 seasons. He must get help in pressuring the QB in order for the Texans to create turnovers and get the opposing offense off the field. Unless someone from the current roster emerges as that pass rusher, it is still a huge hole to be filled.

Regarding the DT and LBs brought in, it's a major stretch to label them as immediate impact players. At best, they could push for starting jobs and provide quality depth. At worst, become training camp fodder. I will credit Smith and Kubiak for these signings when they produce on the field.[/QUOTE]
Of course, that will be the only way to know if they're getting what they invested for once they get on the field and get the chance to produce. Getting Antonio Smith isn't a guarantee to relieve most the double teams for Mario but he was taken because DE was a position of need and on top of that, he has upside because of his veteran presence and experience in the playoffs (Super Bowl). Also, in 5yrs., he has 14.5 sacks as oppossed to Weaver at 15.5 in 7yrs. Shaun Cody is a little meh' to me but at one point he was a highly touted DT coming out of the draft a few years back and although he didn't have great success at Detroit, maybe a change in scenery could help him. As I'm sure you recall, Detroit did go 0 - 16 which only leads me to believe that the coaching probably wasn't very good so maybe Bush and Co. can turn him around. Now, my favorite signing right now is Cato June. He brings playoff experience as well as a Super Bowl ring and I believe he made the Pro Bowl in 2005, too. I don't know why he had a decline in TB but once again, maybe a change in scenery would help him, perhaps being back in the AFC South can do that. *cross fingers* LOL Now on the other side of the coin, drafting highly touted players in the draft is always a crap shoot, no matter what pick, whether a top 10 or later in the 1st RD...these picks are based off potential and statistics taken at the combine for 40 yd. time, vertical, Bench Press yadda yadda yadda, whereas, Smith and June have statistics of already producting in the NFL. In conclusion, whether we draft players that fill the needs or through free agency, no one will ever know just exactly what they will accomplish until Training Camp starts and they compete for the position. Then once the season starts, only then will they have the chance to show whether they produce or not. I'm excited for the season and these signings only reinforce that. Just my and opinion.

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Old 04-04-2009   #17
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

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Originally Posted by steelbtexan View Post
If Bush wants to play pressure defense Smith needs to add an OLB & DE in rds 1-3.

I think we will have a much improved defense with these additions.

Adibi has added 20lbs of muscle & is my pick for most improved player in 09
Where did you hear that Adibi put on 20lbs?
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Old 04-04-2009   #18
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

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We still need

1. young SAM
2. Speed rusher DE
3. 2 RB's
4. DT who can stop the run & in 2010 replace TJ
5. CB Later in the draft 4-5th rd to replace Petey
6. S It would be great to get an impact S but I will settle for S depth for 09

With that said I think that Smithiak have done a great job of filling needs considerinng the budget constraints that Uncle BoB has them under.

With the FA's Smithiak have picked up they can take the BPA (defense). Instead of having to be forced to draft for need.

There's still much work to be done.
The salary cap?
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Old 04-04-2009   #19
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

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Where did you hear that Adibi put on 20lbs?
Right here homey:

http://www.houstontexans.com/news/blogs.asp?post_id=469

Quote:
Linebacker Xavier Adibi chimed in, “There is nothing like a Ray Wright workout.” Adibi looks like he’s packed on about 20 pounds since December, if that’s any indication of the results this program is getting.
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Old 04-04-2009   #20
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Default Re: Kudos to Rick Smith's Off-Season work.

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Hell yeah, that is promising.
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