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Old 07-19-2009   #1
Texans_Chick
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Default Football Outsiders on Defense Predictions

If the Houston Texans defense plays just average can they be a playoff team? Part 4 of Football Outsiders discussion

This is a series of blog posts I am doing with Bill Barnwell managing editor of Football Outsiders. After reading the Texans chapter of the Football Outsiders Almanac, I asked Bill a bunch of questions and he left detailed answers.

It is a mixed analysis.

Also, as soon as I posted it, there was one inane comment left by Cowboy that I fear will totally derail the comment section of the post. I would love for those who have an opinion of the interview, leave a thoughtful post in the comments (ignoring Cowboy). The Football Outsider people have been linking to these series of posts and I would prefer for the comment section not to devolve into a Cowboy bash fest because national fans have enjoyed the comments in the previous posts.

So, please ignore the trolling and feel free to leave a comment. Totally easy process to do at the Chron blogs--it asks for email information but they don't do anything with it.
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Old 07-19-2009   #2
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Default Re: Football Outsiders on Defense Predictions

I posted a long reply over there but got the submission failed error. It said I am not allowed to post comments. I post on LZ's blog and also with McClain. Don't know what happened. I even changed names and email addresses and got the same thing. Here is the post so I can copy and paste it over there later if I figure out what is wrong.

The Houston Texans most definately can be a playoff team if the defense plays just average. I believe just getting rid of Richard Smith should move us up. Then you add free agent DE Antonio Smith opposite Mario replacing the statue Anthony Weaver which can only help. Move Smith inside on 3rd down and put draftee Conner Barwin in and it sure looks to be an explosive DL. And I better not forget about the newly motivated and slimmed down version of Frank Okam.

Our Lb's look to be our strongest position. Demeco Ryans is solid as a rock at mlb. Then you throw in Adibi that has bulked up and Cushing that the players are describing as a beast and I think this group will be all over the field making plays and creating havoc. With June and Diles backing them up we should be solid all season.

DB is probably the weakest link. Some say it doesn't matter if we had Champ Bailey back there if you leave them on an island too long. With the new scheme of attacking I think this young group will hold their own. Bennett and Reeves will be the starters if Dunta never gets his situation resolved. Our draft pick Quinn has been turning heads in OTA's and could possible start at nickel for us. McCain is one player I don't know enough about to comment. All in all this group should be fine if the front seven is doing their job.

Safety is the sore spot of the defense. The Texans have never had anything at this position except scrubs. This year's group doesn't look too exciting either. Barber, Ferguson, Wilson and Nolan. Take your pick here. Hopefully the scheme that Frank Bush designs will help cover our weak areas.

Add a new DL coach (Kollar), new dbacks coach (Gibbs) and new coordinator (Bush) I just can't see the Texans doing any worse than average. I can see them anywhere between say 12 to 18 and that would be enough to put us in the playoffs with our high powered offense. There are too many positives on the defensive side of the ball to only move up a few slots to 24th in the rankings this year. I have to respectfully disagree with Bill Barnwell on his ranking of the Texans. They could even suprise and beat out my expectations. Too many positives this year not to be optimistic.
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Old 07-19-2009   #3
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Default Re: Football Outsiders on Defense Predictions

I am pretty intrigued by the discrepancy between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down defense, and how he says the Texans will regress to the mean on 3rd down the following year. Why don't teams who play well on 3rd down eventually play better on 1st and 2nd down. That seems to make more sense to me than the opposite, which he claims to be true. Playing good defense on 3rd down is traditionally more pressure filled, so you'd think it would be tougher.

Anyway, the fact that the Texans D played better on 3rd down than on 1st and 2nd implies to me that either
a) they were an immature group last year and that they were very affected by crowd noise and played harder in more intense situations
or
b) that our defense was too soft on 1st and 2nd and got more aggressive playcalling or blitzing on 3rd down

Either way, this year should be better for both a and b
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Old 07-19-2009   #4
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Default Re: Football Outsiders on Defense Predictions

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Originally Posted by gtexan02 View Post
Why don't teams who play well on 3rd down eventually play better on 1st and 2nd down.
In many cases, there's a difference in the personnel on the field. In the Texans case, it was often Tim Bulman & DelJuan Robinson replacing Anthony Weaver and Travis Johnson. I'm not suggesting that Bulman and Robinson are great players. Just that they were better 3rd down players than Weaver and TJ were as 1st & 2nd down players.

This season, we should see an improvement in the 1st & 2nd down defense, with the additions of Antonio Smith & Brian Cushing. The 3rd down defense should improve as well, with Smith, Connor Barwin, and a healthier Dunta Robinson. That's not even taking into consideration the improvement that could/should come from our changes in the coaching staff. Or the continued improvement of Mario, DeMeco, and Amobi. Sure, a jump from the lower echelon ranking to a middle of the pack defense seems extreme. But if you factor in the change (for the better) across the defense, it's entirely possible.
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Old 07-19-2009   #5
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Default Re: Football Outsiders on Defense Predictions

not to mention the improved health specifically of Ryans, Okoye and Robinson.
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Old 07-20-2009   #6
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Default Re: Football Outsiders on Defense Predictions

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Originally Posted by bckey View Post
I posted a long reply over there but got the submission failed error. It said I am not allowed to post comments. I post on LZ's blog and also with McClain. Don't know what happened. I even changed names and email addresses and got the same thing. Here is the post so I can copy and paste it over there later if I figure out what is wrong.
Weird. I think maybe the site has been having problems. A number of the comments were slow to save and I've been bombarded by a ton of junk comments. Thanks for letting me know and I hope you try again.
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Old 07-20-2009   #7
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Default Re: Football Outsiders on Defense Predictions

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Originally Posted by Texans_Chick View Post
Weird. I think maybe the site has been having problems. A number of the comments were slow to save and I've been bombarded by a ton of junk comments. Thanks for letting me know and I hope you try again.
I got the same error message when I tried to post as "Old School". When I changed it to my real name the system accepted it.
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