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Old 10-20-2009   #1
barrett
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Default Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

This victory can be attributed to everybody doing their job and a couple of guys, namely 1 guy, stepping up and making big plays when it counted.

Defense

When you watch this defense "do their job" you start to wonder how anybody is going to run on them. Yes, that same defense from the start of the season. If 90 doesn't get you, you can bet 56 will, and if you're running on the opposite side 59 will be there knifing through. Suppose you get past these guys, Pollard and Quin are great tacklers too. And the best part is... CONSISTENTLY, EVERYBODY, ALL 11 GUYS, ARE IN THEIR POSITIONS AND TACKLING WELL!

This is the smartest I've seen this defense play. I believe Wilson makes the mistake on the long pass to Chad Johnson and Ryans or Diles end up out of position on Benson's TD but it was a great run.

The big change that I notice with them compared to any D we've ever fielded is it's hard to make plays on them. The holes are tight and the timing has to be good to make a play against them. Palmer is a good QB and does a good job but it's not enough. Some drops by his WR's is enough to cost them the game.

DL

Williams has a bum shoulder and it is clearly having an effect on his power rush but he is still one hell of a run stopper.

Okoye plays magnificently. Especially with his hands. He's quick off the snap which we expect from him but he's also playing powerfully with his hands and being very disruptive against the pass and run. Apparently something Kollar is teaching him is sinking in. It could explain how he seemed to almost get worse at the beginning of the season. Sometimes with teaching you regress due to thinking too much.

Zgonina I should just cut and paste from the last two weeks because he's still defying his age. He's quick and relatively effective. Not amazing but much better than you'd expect. Never out of position and doesn't get blown up off the ball. Is he better than DelJuan Robinson the SECOND best DT on this team? No, but he is better than this guy:

Smith was ferocious and fairly impressive both inside and out. He and Bulman are very similar except that it's clear that Smith has the strength and power to really cause problems for his guy. He's terrific against the run and caused several key pressures throughout the game.

Okam doesn't fit into Kubiak's "smaller up front" concept that they are going with and he doesn't fit into my "DT's that are good at playing football" concept either. So the idea of suiting him over DelJuan Robinson the second best DT on our team is confusing to me. Nick Scurfield can expect another onslaught from me.

Bulman seemed relatively effective at both inside and outside positions.

Barwin seems to be getting more physical with his guys but his pass rush moves are still god awful ugly. He does a pure speed rush and gets a sack. I'd like to see him try this more often. I think maybe they don't want him over running the play or something but when there is no back in the backfield I don't want to see him making moves. I want him running at the QB as fast as he can. They may feel it opens up the possibility of a scramble but again, a guy like Palmer that isn't a factor. Run 98!

Jamison I didn't see him do anything good or bad other than line up off sides once. He only played a handful of snaps and was ineffective.


You don't see any of these guys lighting you up and saying "wow!" but they are all effective at applying relative pressure consistently. And EVERYONE is playing gap effective football and tackling well. ... Except Okam. They are mostly effective however.

LB

Cushing does not play well when he's not on the field. Every other time, he plays magnificently. Everyone has seen the stat of 9 tackles and 2 FF and 1 INT but 1 of those FF's was 59's. Fear not however, I found another! Right before half time with :03 left he forces another but for some reason the review booth doesn't catch it. It would have been nullified because Tim Jamison was lined up offsides but when you're talking about a guy single handedly changing the game that kind of stuff is notable!!! The key play that defines what this guy brings for me is on the 3rd and 1 stop. 94 and 56 crash inside and Benson cuts back for what appears to be an easy first down. 56 is seemingly run out of the play because of the cutback but 56 reaches back and with one arm slaps Benson across the chest and it's enough to slow him down and eventually the play is made and Cincy has to punt.

On top of all the attitude and awareness that he brings you see here another facet of his game. His sheer strength is enough to disrupt this play. He looks better every week in space and quick and aggressive on the line but always smart about it. Always in position now and mostly very sound on his angles. He is a play maker in the truest sense of the word. And he's only played 6 games!!!!!!!!

Ryans is playing as smart as ever and his tackling clinic that he puts on every week is getting absurd. It's like when you watch 80 catch a ball and you think "hmm nice catch" when the rest of the leauge is saying "OH MY GOD!!!" I don't really think anything when 59 knifes through and makes a play in the backfield or in the open field but just know that it's happening play after play after play and having 56 next to him has made him twice as effective. The sky is the limit for these two. Truly.

Diles can't even stay on the field because he's got to come out in nickle so he has to make the best of his 25-30 plays and he does. Very sound. No complaints, all he does is make plays and do his job.

I'm a broken record with this group but they are playing lights out all the way around. And we have two above average backups!!!

Secondary

Robinson continues to get better each week and he makes a few very impressive tackles. The main thing that keeps standing out to me with him is his football intelligence. He reads the run and short passing game extremely well. He's very quick to react and never seems to bite on fakes. He is mostly good in coverage when there is at least above average pressure. The big play to Chad Johnson appears to be on Wilson and Robinson makes a TD saving tackle.

Reeves is really showing up against the run. More so than I remember from him in the past. He whiffs on a tackle though (so did 59 and 31 on this particular play) and it's not his strong suit but he's got enough help around him that it isn't too much of an issue. Clean and fairly sound in coverage. No major mistakes or ball tracking issues to speak of. Very solid overall. He gives up a TD to Coles but Dale Murphy pointed out to me that the pressure broke down and Palmer has too much time. (This is one of very few instances where the DLine doesn't create some sort of basic pressure to force a throw.)

Quin can really lay the wood and is playing with very high intelligence right now. Sound in his position especially. There is a screen pass out to the flat and he has the option to attack the ball or take on the OLinemen that is in front blocking. He chooses to engage the linemen on his outside shoulder and seal the edge forcing the runner back inside where, wouldn't you know it, there is a swarm of guys there to tackle him for little or no gain.

Bennett does not see the field and therefore there are no big plays given up on those snaps.

Wilson seems sound overall other than the 1 big play on 85 where for some reason he hesitates on the post route. I don't think there was even play action. He's just reading the QB wrong.

Pollard is one of the guys on "team tackle". We've got some really nice, crisp sound tacklers here (yes this same D that you saw in the first 2 weeks) and 31 is fuel to the fire. He also plays very smart up near the line of scrimmage and I don't remember any deap threats where his lack of speed or coverage skills could be taken advantage of.

If the DLine continues to create average consistent pressure I think you're going to see this current lineup continue to improve and perhaps even excel. They are all playing very smart football and the 7 guys in front of them are as well and that makes for a better secondary.

I can't say enough about how consistent this D was. Everyone played very smart and the athleticism is there to make the plays. Their heads are clearing getting a grasp on Frank Bush's scheme and it's paying off big time.

This D has shut out the last three teams it faced in the 2nd half.

up next... the lowly inept offense (that put up almost 500 yards).
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Old 10-20-2009   #2
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

Deactivate Okam and suit up Robinson DelJuan Robinson then i'm happy with this rotation.

They're probably going to deactivate Okam and stay with Cody however who is an upgrade over Okam with the way he's been playing but like you i'd just like to see Robinson out of the doghouse.
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Old 10-20-2009   #3
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

I can't understand it. I agree that when Cody comes back Okam sits but I can't see how spelling Jamison in there is in anyway more effective than DelJuan. It's absurd.
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Old 10-20-2009   #4
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

Dunta took responsibility for the 50 yarder to Ochocinco. I believe it's in the post game quotes somewhere.
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Old 10-20-2009   #5
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

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Originally Posted by NitroHonda View Post
Dunta took responsibility for the 50 yarder to Ochocinco. I believe it's in the post game quotes somewhere.
I don't think he wanted to be the guy that throws someone else under the bus. Eugene Wilson > Carr
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Old 10-20-2009   #6
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

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Originally Posted by barrett View Post
I can't understand it. I agree that when Cody comes back Okam sits but I can't see how spelling Jamison in there is in anyway more effective than DelJuan. It's absurd.
They have Jamison in there right now because of Mario's shoulder. Kubiak said Mario only played about 40 snaps when he usually plays every snap. He's not healthy right now and i'm willing to bet any player on the team other than Mario and DeMeco would probably be sitting some games out with Mario's injury which sounds worse than what the team is letting on.

Once Mario heals up maybe they'll carry another DT and deactivate Jamison. Unfortunately, DelJuan must've pissed off somebody and it'll probably be Okam getting activated instead.
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Old 10-20-2009   #7
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

Couldn't rotating 66 in and out be more functional? You could continue to rotate DE's with 93, 98 and 94. I just don't see how 96 is better at DE than 66 at DT. If you get what I'm thinking here.
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Old 10-20-2009   #8
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

Here's what I thought:

-Antonio Smith made the first tackle of the game, arm tackling Benson for no gain, RT had no chance of stopping Smith from shedding him and getting to Benson

-The Bengals getting the ball first and the Texans getting it in the 2nd half was HUGE, especially after the Texans allowed the Bengals to take a 17-14 lead, this team is a 2nd half team, we might wanna consider kicking in the 1st half and receiving 1st in the 2nd half from now on, maybe Gary?

-The pass rush was not good enough - Yes Barwin got his first sack but we did not get sufficient pressure on Palmer.... our DBs played well despite this fact

-Reeves is fantastic, its Dunta giving up the big plays looking like 08 Reeves, although I think the corners as a group played very well

-Caldwell was bad in pass protection - Schaub was flushed from the pocket and had to throw the ball out of bounds a few times because of Caldwell

-JACOBY IS A THREAT, 10 total TD's is very possible, after Andre, Jacoby is the best WR on this team at getting open deep, love this guy and his improvement, although Walter has been phased out it seems due to JJ's emergence

-Chris White is just good enough, he won't be the goat of the line as he's always atleast solid but he won't dominate anyone. He had trouble with Sims in pass protection but definitely didn't struggle like Caldwell did

-Chris Brown is effective! He carried the running game in the 2nd half and helped ice the game.

-The tackles are terrific, they'll have a brain fart for one play and get beat both Winston and Brown but overall they had dominant games, love DB's blocking on screens especially

-Mario needs a huge game, like next week.... he's been mysteriously MIA

-Amobi didn't get a sack or much pressure in the game, but did anyone catch the announcers saying Bengals coaches say Amobi is one of the best interior rushers in the game?

-The 50's are the most important part of this defense right now!! I'd be happy with 54 59 & 56 for the next decade

-Kris Brown is in a total funk, his kicks are way too low and flat and do not have the lift to get over the 6'5" d-lineman with hands in the air jumping trying to block the kick

-More MIA's = James Casey (solid special teamer though), Deljuan (appears to be last on the DT depth chart), Anthony Hill (haven't needed him all year/just not good enough/who knows?)
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Old 10-20-2009   #9
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

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Originally Posted by barrett View Post
Couldn't rotating 66 in and out be more functional? You could continue to rotate DE's with 93, 98 and 94. I just don't see how 96 is better at DE than 66 at DT. If you get what I'm thinking here.
I agree with you but according to the coaches they'd rather have an extra pure DE than an extra pure DT when they've got 2 DEs who can also bump inside in Smith and Bulman.
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Old 10-20-2009   #10
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

I'm not even complaining either. I actually think the D is playing spectacularly. But 97 instead of 66 is just a bit retarded. I have enough faith in the staff that there must be something going on that we don't know about. They are making all the right lineup moves otherwise so there's something there.
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Old 10-20-2009   #11
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

Offense

The running game is still MIA but Steve Slaton is starting to show his form. The OLine looked good in the run during the first half and then it seemed to sputter in the 2nd half. I can't find any specific reason other than they were moving bodies early and not so in the back half. Oh, and Antoine Caldwell is a rookie. The play calling was as imaginative as I've seen it and they are finding new ways to be effective with motion and formations.

Schaub seems as comfortable as he ever has in this offense. He has a bad series before the half where he seems to be making the wrong reads and throwing to guys that are dangerous when other guys are open. Other than that, he plays terrifically. He continues to improve his decision making and he's already very very good so you have to start asking yourself, how good can this guy be? I'd like to see him fire it in there better at times but I'm not convinced he's not capable of it. I think usually he puts it where it need to be at the velocity that it needs to be to get there. When he doesn't, the WR's seem to adjust comfortably.

RB

Slaton is back. I know he only has 43 yards rushing but if you watch him, he's doing what we fell in love with last year. He's getting small and finding creases and breaking tackles. He's starting to cut back with better vision. I think you can expect to see the running game improve every week from here on out. Then there's the fumbling. Otherwise Shanniak are using him in space and it's working on two levels. He's effective and getting yards and points but also I think it's giving him some of his moves back when he's running behind the line.

Brown is just big enough to fall forward for 3 or 4 yards. Not very impressive. They give it to him on short yardage conversion and he takes a terrible line but somehow he is able to drive for the first. It wasn't pretty though and I'm not impressed.

Leach continues to be an elite blocker who seems to make 1 mistake a game. Not bad. He's also developed into a threat in the flat. Casey spells him on at least one occasion and he becomes a threat because he can go in motion as a WR/TE or stay in as a FB. This may become his career here. We can line up with him at fullback and he could become a major factor as a pass catcher at any point.

It looked to me like everything was clicking in the first half but then the holes closed up and 20 put it on the ground but they kept at it and mostly the RB's made the most of their opportunities.

Pass catchers

Daniels makes a catch... well, you saw it. He fumbles out of bounds too and it's not the first time. He's been mostly lucky from that standpoint this year. But he does a terrific job of getting off his block and getting open as a receiver but he is also doing some very interesting things as a blocker. Shanniak has him blocking across to the opposite side down on the DE but the beauty of it is later in the game they use that as a route that gets him wide open. Open Daniels...

Dreesen is only a factor as a blocker but is solid.

Johnson is the best WR in the NFL and he plays like it. But he fails to come back to the ball at times and it almost costs us 6 when the CB jumps the route and Schaub throws it less than light speed. 80 has to come get it.

Walter makes all the catches. Bobbles one catch that costs us a first down even though he ends up pulling it in. I'm often shocked when any WR doesn't make a catch on this team. I was shocked that he bobbled it even though he was hit immediately. We don't know how good we've got it here in Houston.

Jones makes a very good adjustment on a less-than-overthrown TD pass by Schuab. If he ever becomes a good blocker....

Davis is only in on a play or two and isn't noteworthy

Anderson makes the catches thrown to him. Does his job well.

it's so boring to review a bunch of individuals who do their job exactly as they are asked to do so. Luckily, we have these guys:

OL

Brown seems to be very consistent and is really showing off on the screen plays. He does get beat for a sack. Seems like it happens once a game but I have a hard time criticizing him when the other 70+ snaps he looks completely dominant. Just imagine when he's got 3 or 4 years under him.

Studdard looks much better in pass pro and against the run. He still gets blown up 1 or 3 times but overall he's improved each week. There is a play or two where u see him just drive his guy to the point of absurdity and you say, man, when he get's better... But this is one of the first games where I didn't really notice him doing much wrong. Partially because Slaton was adjusting to 64 being in the backfield better.

Meyers plays terrific in the first half and gets to the second level well but as the game wears on he seems less effective. But it's the best I've seen him play this year by far. In the run game the same could be said for the entire line

Catfish plays fairly well the majority of the time. You can see he lacks athleticism at times but he is servicable to say the least. White is a downgrade from Brisel but only slightly.

Caldwell is 100% to blame for the 3 and out after the second TD. He gets destroyed on 2 strait run plays and then lets the guy through to block the 3rd down pass. I would say he played half of his snaps poorly and half decently. Reasonable I suppose for his first real action. The positive I take away from it is I see some of the things I see with Brown where he gets out of position but is able to hold it together with his athleticism. As he improves this will become an asset.

Winston played much better against the pass but still has his usual few plays where he lets his guy manhandle him. I am still not impressed as I once was.

overall the OLIne seemed to be run blocking like we were used to last year but something happens in the second half. They don't get to the next level well. They get sloppy. Caldwell didn't help but it wasn't just him. The interior overall seemed to dry up until it was time to seal the deal at the end of the game and by then the will was gone for the Bengals. BUT I want to say that in pass protection, this unit overall has been stellar by my ZBS standards and it has shown up in Schaub's stats, accuracy and decision making. If it continues I think we'll see that consistency in the W-L column as well.

I'm predicting that this team as a whole has already started on a roll and baring significant injuries we'll see some very impressive football in the coming weeks.
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Old 10-20-2009   #12
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

Here's my review of just the running game. I do not think it was MIA--it just was eclipsed by the crazy passing game numbers. It didn't have the long runs that lead to great yards per carry numbers, but it did what the running game is supposed to do: 1. keep defenses off balance; 2. keep Schaub out of long down and distance; 3. chew clock.

Most great running days aren't a series of 5 yards per carry plays. Usually it is consistent positive yards, few stuffs, and then a great big long play here or there. That was Slaton's last year, and I can see this being improved as this offensive line group gets more used to playing together.

Improvement is a good thing:

Texans running game myths and nonsense about the offense
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Old 10-20-2009   #13
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

Thanks, good observations
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Old 10-20-2009   #14
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

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Originally Posted by barrett View Post
This is the smartest I've seen this defense play. I believe Wilson makes the mistake on the long pass to Chad Johnson and Ryans or Diles end up out of position on Benson's TD but it was a great run.
It looks like they're in cover 3, and somebody forgot to cover the deep middle. Robinson takes off toward the sideline at the snap, and looks like he's heading for the deep zone between the numbers and boundary.

Quote:
Okoye plays magnificently. Especially with his hands. He's quick off the snap which we expect from him but he's also playing powerfully with his hands and being very disruptive against the pass and run. Apparently something Kollar is teaching him is sinking in. It could explain how he seemed to almost get worse at the beginning of the season. Sometimes with teaching you regress due to thinking too much.
Wait, I thought I was the only one who thinks Okoye doesn't stink on ice.
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Old 10-21-2009   #15
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

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Originally Posted by Texans_Chick View Post
Here's my review of just the running game. I do not think it was MIA--it just was eclipsed by the crazy passing game numbers. It didn't have the long runs that lead to great yards per carry numbers, but it did what the running game is supposed to do: 1. keep defenses off balance; 2. keep Schaub out of long down and distance; 3. chew clock.

Most great running days aren't a series of 5 yards per carry plays. Usually it is consistent positive yards, few stuffs, and then a great big long play here or there. That was Slaton's last year, and I can see this being improved as this offensive line group gets more used to playing together.

Improvement is a good thing:

Texans running game myths and nonsense about the offense
TC I found your blog posting very insightful. Helpful to see the yardage split off like that. My assessment of the MIA comment has more to do with the line play. I felt like Slaton was making the best of a less than good situation. I agree that it's those little gains that count but when you see the offensive line executing as designed there is substantially more movement at the point of attack and less dancing having to take place by the RB.

In the first few drives I was seeing Meyers getting to the second level and the cut back lanes seemed more precise. I didn't see our guards getting exploded back into the backfield. In that 4th drive that you show in your break down, that started to happen and the gains decreased.

There is little doubt in my mind however that the run game is going to get better every week. This is the first week where it seemed to "click" at any point in the season and I expect to see more of that.
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Old 10-21-2009   #16
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

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Wait, I thought I was the only one who thinks Okoye doesn't stink on ice.
I thought he did when he was playing like it. But in the last three weeks he's improved substantially.

this is my review of his play from the tacks game:
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A. Okoye thinks he played decent according to one article I read. Look, I'm actually very slow to criticize because I am going to assume I don't understand enough about the X's and O's to get what a player is being "asked to do". But unless Amobi Okoye is being asked to just absolutely get thrown around like a rag doll and stand pat and not be a factor in either the run game or the passing game WHATSOEVER!!!!... then I think he's really, really bad. I mean, he was not even a factor AT ALL on (from what I could see) more than 2 plays the entire 1st half. He's quick of the snap but that's all he does. I know DT's are often times designed to just kind of take up linemen so the LB's can make the plays but seriously, he's pushed right out of the play regardless if it's run or pass.
so clearly my opinion of him has changed because his play has changed.
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Old 10-21-2009   #17
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

Thanks Barrett.

I appreciate your reviews and really enjoy reading them each week.

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Old 10-21-2009   #18
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

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I thought he did when he was playing like it. But in the last three weeks he's improved substantially.

this is my review of his play from the tacks game:

so clearly my opinion of him has changed because his play has changed.
He had some bad plays in that game, but overall I felt like he was a plus. He was in the backfield quite a bit, being disruptive, and had a crucial tackle for loss on the Tits 15 to force a punt, which lead to a TD for us that tied the game up.
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Old 10-21-2009   #19
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

I believe he had 3 big plays in that game but the rest of the time he was atrocious. Not average or okay... atrocious.

They just sent Jamison back to the P.S. I'm glad to see that Kubiak is reading my posts again.
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Old 10-21-2009   #20
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Default Re: Isolated review of Texans vs. Cincy

Some thoughts; against S.Fran we should get far enough ahead that Caldwell gets plenty of reps. We may need him as season progresses. Even though Pitts is out, the injury bug has not been as bad so far. Duane Brown is becoming the LT I have looked for. Slaton coming around (avg per carry is still woeful) would be a huge benefit remainder of season. I expect his stats to increase dramatically if Kubes keeps the game plan he had against Bengals. IMO Chris Brown is a failure as a RB. Hopefully Foster will see some time soon.

Defense: I'm concerned that re-shuffled line with small DTs will wear down quickly, although successful for now. Okam will be practicing law next season. If DR continues to improve (imagine where he'd be if he had been at camp) and may be our Franchised player again next season. If so,maybe Quinn will get a shot at FS. I really like Pollard and hope he does not slack off after he has made his point for being cut.

In summary, at least we can say this team did not peak to soon.
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