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Old 09-12-2009   #1
LORK 88
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Exclamation LORKs Gameday Preview: Week 1

HOUSTON VS NEW YORK PREVIEW

Football is here! Most of us are so pumped about this that I don’t even need a catchy intro to hook people in. Check back in a week if that’s what you’re looking for, but right now is all about the beginning of what could be Houston's first playoff run. We’ve seen the free agency moves, followed the draft religiously, and scouted the team during even the most meaningless of series in the preseason. The end result of all this is what we’ll see on the field Sunday against the Jets. The Jets themselves had a quiet winning season last year and made some major moves in the offseason by adding head coach Rex Ryan and QB Mark Sanchez. For Houston, the key to the season is getting off to a fast start unlike the past few seasons. Can Houston start off on the right track and continue it into the season or we will continue or slow starts like we have in the past?


Houston’s Running Game vs. New York’s Run D: Before last season, Houston had only 1 team that was in the top half of the league in rushing. Last year changed that when Houston ended up 11th in the league. However, Houston struggled mightily running against 3-4 defenses never averaging over 4 YPC and no one player ever ran for more than 75 yards individually. A lot of the problems typically starts with the nose tackles and the Jets have a massive one. Kris Jenkins is a massive NT but has deceptive quickness. RDE Marques Douglas is another solid player despite his age, but the LDE starter (either Devito or Pouha) is very inexperienced. The LBs in the middle is where I expect the rest of the run stopping to come from. Bart Scott is well versed in Ryan’s defense and will play a similar role as he did in Baltimore. He’s very consistent and instinctive. David Harris is young, but definitely has the potential to be a thumper and showed great flashes his rookie year and when healthy. For Houston, a lot of it will be controlling the line of scrimmage. Jenkins is where I expect a lot of the problems to come from so he needs to be top priority. Slaton had his ups and downs in pre-season, and will need to make quicker decisions as to be ready to cut back. Duane Brown proved to be more of a mauler than we thought last season. With Gholston’s inexperience, I think our running success will be its best coming off the tackles. We struggle running against 3-4 defenses, but in truth this game I feel it will only need to be supplementary to our passing game to be effective. As long as Slaton can have a decent game running the ball and keep the defense on their toes, we can have success on the ground.


Houston’s Passing Game vs. New York’s Pass D: Earlier this pre-season and offseason, we were given a gift. Calvin Pace and Shaun Ellis were both suspended for the opening game. Last year, thy combined for 15 of the team’s 41 sacks and will be a huge help out. Rex Ryan is infamous for crazy looks and intricate blitz schemes so missing the top 2 previous sack leaders should help (I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 1-7 scheme of Jenkins standing up). Out of the starting DLine, nobody should be a serious pass rush threat; they’re job is to hold the line an occupy blockers to free up opportunities for the LBs. The main pressure should come from Bryan Thomas and Vernon Gholston on the outside, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see David Harris on some inside stunts. In the secondary, Revis and Rhodes are definitely the leaders and most talented. Revis is one of the best in the business and well rounded. Rhodes has great size and instincts; he should benefit greatly from Ryan’s schemes. Rounding out the starters is Lito Sheppard who was acquired via trade after a falling out in Philadelphia, and Jim Leonhard who’s a small safety who shined in Baltimore. For Houston, Andre Johnson will have a tough matchup with Revis, so Schaub needs to be ready to go to his 2nd and 3rd options. Walter or Davis will have a solid matchup against Sheppard who didn’t start much his last year in Philly while Owen Daniels will have the most ideal situation against the LBs. On the line, everyone needs to be ready to slide protection as well as look for timed blitzes. The phrase “head on a swivel” applies severely here. As long as Schaub can stay on his feet and avoid 3rd and long, this shouldn’t be a problematic area.


New York’s Rushing Game vs. Houston’s Run D: This is where most of Houston’s focus needs to be on. New York was a top 10 rushing team who’s returning every single starter on the O line and they have 3 talented RBs. Thomas Jones is definitely the stud of the group and the most dependable. He’s a patient runner who can carry the ball inside or out. Leon Washington is the electric back who’s a threat to score on any play either on the ground or from a pass. Greene is definitely the bruiser out of the three and is a tough player to bring down. As far is the o line is concerned, it’s probably their biggest strength on offense, especially in run blocking. They all started together last year and never missed a game. In general, they’re all experienced and talented. They key OL to focus on will be center Nick Mangold who’s one of the best centers out there. A point of emphasis will be D’Brickishaw Ferguson who shows flashes of brilliance and had a great season last year, but needs more consistency. Moore and Faneca were solid at guard as was Woody at right tackle. For Houston, they key will be to get penetration and stay strong in the middle and not give Thomas Jones running lanes. It will be up to Okoye and Cody to stay stout in the middle and give our LBs the chance to make plays before Jones and company break into the secondary.


New York’s Passing Game vs. Houston’s Pass D: While the run game is where New York shines, the passing game is a huge question mark. Sanchez is the biggest question mark. He’s talented, but starting as a rookie after 1 year of starting college experience could be detrimental. He’s typically an accurate passer, and will work the intermediate passes well. As far is targets go, Jerrico Cotchery is easily the Jets best receiver. The question after that is who will step up as their #2 WR? After Cotchery, everyone else is young and inexperienced. Stuckey will get the first shot to be the starting #2 with David Clowney as the #3. Both are speedy, but neither has produced in the regular season on a consistent basis. The sleeper in the passing game will be second year TE Dustin Keller. He’s very much a pass catching TE who can line up in the slot and had a stellar rookie year. He’ll most likely be the second target in the offense. For Houston, the key will be to get pressure on Sanchez consistently and not find his rhythm. He may only be a rookie, but he can show flashes of greatness and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen. Mario, Smith, and Barwin should be able to get pressure on the outside and hopefully force some mistakes. A key matchup as well will be how the LBs handle Dustin Keller in coverage. Dallas Clark usually has good success with us and Keller is in a similar mold. Lucky for us Dunta Robinson will be back to take on Cotchery while Bennett gets to go against an inexperienced #2. While we should thrive against New York in pass coverage, it won’t matter if we can’t stop the run.


POSITION BATTLE
QB Advantage: HOUSTON
RB Advantage: NEW YORK
WR Advantage: HOUSTON
TE Advantage: HOUSTON
OL Advantage: NEW YORK
DL Advantage: HOUSTON
LB Advantage: PUSH
CB Advantage: NEW YORK
S Advantage: NEW YORK
K/P Advantage: HOUSTON
RET Advantage: NEW YORK


X FACTOR OF THE GAME: DUNTA ROBINSON, CB
This should come as no surprise. As it is right now, a 6th round rookie Brice McCain and Fred Bennett would be starting if Robinson isn’t ready to go. While both looked decent in the preseason game, none of our CBs are as talented as Dunta Robinson is. He’s the only CB on our roster who can be a true playmaker in the secondary. He should be fully recovered and healthy, but it will be up to him to be ready to start week 1 and make a serious impact.


KEY FACTORS TO THE GAME
1) Win the turnover battle! This was a huge problem all of last season. Whenever we were able to win the turnover battle last season, we typically won the game. Too many times last season did we see a drive end early. The same can be said about our defense; they caused too few turnovers and let opposing offenses get away with clean turnover sheets way too often. That needs to change immediately with this first game.

2) Protect Schaub at all costs! It’s no secret, Rex Ryan loves to blitz and he’s amazingly good at it. It’s bad enough that we struggle with top defenses (Pittsburgh and Minnesota last season), but add in the fact that Schaub’s health is heavily correlated to this team’s success, and it becomes vital to this game let alone the season. If he can stay in the pocket untouched, we can accomplish a lot on offense much like we did last season.

3) Pressure Sanchez the entire game! He’s a rookie and only started 1 full season at USC. He’s very talented, but a rookie with less starting experience than normal in his first NFL game should be targeted and pressured more than normal. This will be a huge point of emphasis for Mario, Smith, Amobi, and anyone else Bush blitzes. Sanchez is talented and can flash brilliance at any moment, so we need to make sure that never happens this game.
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Old 09-12-2009   #2
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Default Re: LORKs Gameday Preview: Week 1

I would add red zone O & D to the keys to the game. Being great between the 20's is good, but points decide the game, not total yds.
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Old 09-12-2009   #3
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Default Re: LORKs Gameday Preview: Week 1

Its almost here ahhhh!
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Old 09-12-2009   #4
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Default Re: LORKs Gameday Preview: Week 1

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Originally Posted by LORK 88 View Post
KEY FACTORS TO THE GAME
1) Win the turnover battle! This was a huge problem all of last season. Whenever we were able to win the turnover battle last season, we typically won the game. Too many times last season did we see a drive end early. The same can be said about our defense; they caused too few turnovers and let opposing offenses get away with clean turnover sheets way too often. That needs to change immediately with this first game.
Great writeup as usual, Lork.

But, I found this interesting. How did we do last year wrt turnovers and wins.

We had 9 games where we lost the turnover battle. In these games, we went 3-6.

We had 3 games where we tied in the turnover battle. We went 1-2.

We had 4 games where we won the turnover battle. We went 4-0.

Looking at it another way, in the 8 games we lost, we had a total -12 turnover differential. In the 8 games we won, we only had a +3 turnover differential.

All of this means absolutely nothing, but I thought it was interesting.

Let's go out and take the ball away and not give it up.
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Old 09-13-2009   #5
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Default Re: LORKs Gameday Preview: Week 1

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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
Great writeup as usual, Lork.

But, I found this interesting. How did we do last year wrt turnovers and wins.

We had 9 games where we lost the turnover battle. In these games, we went 3-6.

We had 3 games where we tied in the turnover battle. We went 1-2.

We had 4 games where we won the turnover battle. We went 4-0.

Looking at it another way, in the 8 games we lost, we had a total -12 turnover differential. In the 8 games we won, we only had a +3 turnover differential.

All of this means absolutely nothing, but I thought it was interesting.

Let's go out and take the ball away and not give it up.
I disagree. I think it's absolutely vital. I did the same breakdown after the 2007 season. When we won the turnover battle we usually won the game.

Out of the 8 games we won, we came out on top in the turnover stat 4 times. In the other four wins, we either tied or only had one more turnover than the other guys.

At no time, in 2007, when we won the turnover battle did we lose the game.

Minimizing our turnovers is crucial to winning for us because I'm not convinced that we have the defense that can reliably get a three-&-outs following our turnovers.
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Old 09-13-2009   #6
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Default Re: LORKs Gameday Preview: Week 1

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I disagree. I think it's absolutely vital. I did the same breakdown after the 2007 season. When we won the turnover battle we usually won the game.

Out of the 8 games we won, we came out on top in the turnover stat 4 times. In the other four wins, we either tied or only had one more turnover than the other guys.

At no time, in 2007, when we won the turnover battle did we lose the game.

Minimizing our turnovers is crucial to winning for us because I'm not convinced that we have the defense that can reliably get a three-&-outs following our turnovers.
Um.

You're disagreeing with... what... exactly?

I just put the stats up and said they were interesting. I didn't draw any conclusions and I wasn't disagreeing with Lork that we have to win the turnover battle and that we need to end this season on the plus side.
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Old 09-13-2009   #7
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Default Re: LORKs Gameday Preview: Week 1

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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
Great writeup as usual, Lork.

But, I found this interesting. How did we do last year wrt turnovers and wins.

We had 9 games where we lost the turnover battle. In these games, we went 3-6.

We had 3 games where we tied in the turnover battle. We went 1-2.

We had 4 games where we won the turnover battle. We went 4-0.

Looking at it another way, in the 8 games we lost, we had a total -12 turnover differential. In the 8 games we won, we only had a +3 turnover differential.

All of this means absolutely nothing, but I thought it was interesting.

Let's go out and take the ball away and not give it up.
I think he disagreed with the highlighted. Turnovers have been a huge factor with our team.
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Old 09-13-2009   #8
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i think everyone can agree.....less turnovers on offense, play better defense and you have.......PLAYOFFS!!!!! GO TEXANS!!!!!
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Old 09-13-2009   #9
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Default Re: LORKs Gameday Preview: Week 1

Good write-up Lork.

Also, I just read this on Alan Burge's Pre-game notes for this game..

Quote:
Texans win-loss record by rushing attempts per game during the Kubiak era, 2006-08:

Rushing attempts/ W-L

* 30 or more; 15-2
* 25-29; 7-7
* Less than 25; 0-17
This shocked me. Thought it would be a nice discussion point for this thread.

GO TEXANS!
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Old 09-13-2009   #10
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Default Re: LORKs Gameday Preview: Week 1

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Um.

You're disagreeing with... what... exactly?

I just put the stats up and said they were interesting. I didn't draw any conclusions and I wasn't disagreeing with Lork that we have to win the turnover battle and that we need to end this season on the plus side.
DocBar read me correctly.

You uncovered a very telling stat: During the past two years, when we came out on top or just broke even in the turnover stat column, the odds were really good that we'd win the game; there's no way it means "absolutely nothing". I only disagreed with the "All of this means absolutely nothing" part of your post.

And no, it's not a news flash for those of us paying attention. It's been like that for at least two years. Probably more. The question is, how do we fix it?
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Old 09-13-2009   #11
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I think he disagreed with the highlighted. Turnovers have been a huge factor with our team.
Then I was unclear withwhat I wrote because you've both misunderstood what I meant by that. I meant that all of my futzing with the numbers was just mental masturbation on my part. That wasn't meant to imply that we shouldn't be trying to win the turnover battle.
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