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Old 11-10-2009   #1
Texanmike02
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Default I can't keep silent any more

OK, this has been my least active year as a Texans fan on here. Don't get it wrong, I still dress me, my brother, my mom and my son up every week and sit down and watch the game, I just haven't been as active here. Its time for some good ol' fashioned wisdom from yours truely however.

This is a MUCH improved team. Bernard "Bob Sanders" Pollard is amazing. I said early in the season this defense was MUCH better and that lack of speed and play recognition was responsible for 2 to 3 big plays a game but I had no idea that the defense would become such an important part of this team. It is no longer a liability, it is a strength.

The Offense

Passing Game:

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. I was calling for Schaub before we traded for him. I feel pretty comfortable in saying that I was right. If you don't see the command this guy has over the offense, and the level of comfort when he's protected at an average or above average level, enjoy soccer. He hasn't been his best the last two weeks, but he's rebounded from early mistakes to bring his team back. The sad thing is 3 times this year, at least, he has put the team in position to score with less than 10 seconds left in the game to tie and somebody else has had a "yard short" type failure. (At least our yard short wasn't in the superbowl) Daniels being out hurts us but we still have 4 or 5 very talented receivers in AJ (best in the league), KW (can catch anything), Slaton (when he gets the ball out of the flats watch out), Jones (and you thought he was just a returner) and Davis (he can still stretch it). The bottom line is this, as long as Schaub is healthy and upright he is at the top of the 2nd tier of QB's in the league.

The running game:

The offense and our inability to run the ball consistently is a real problem. Slaton gained weight and the playbook seems to have leaked out of his head. I think the fumbles are a result of him thinking too much personally. He needs to do what he did, see daylight and run for it. I am guessing that he's lost most of the weight he gained in the offseason because he looks faster the last two or three weeks.. he just has a different burst. Moats is under-rated. He never got a chance in Philly because a rich man's Reggie Bush plays there and I don't know if ya'll followed him in college (I actually went to LA Tech my freshman year and both of my parents graduated there so I watch them occasionally) but he had HUGE games against big name teams (close to 90 yards on like 6 yards a carry against Miami and Tennessee if I remember). I saw somewhere that he's a 2 ypc back, and he's actually something like 4.6-5.0 ypc back. He's not an every down back but in a pinch he will do. The real answer over the next 7 weeks is figure out if Slaton was a flash in the pan or if he can really run. If it was a flash, that's fine he's our 3rd down back next year and we bring in thunder to compliment him.

Passing Defense

This pass rush is better than last years. Mario doesn't have numbers, but I think that's because QBs are less comfortable than last year. Smith gets pressure and we even see the center in the QB's lap from time to time. I still think this team would be INCREDIBLE with a top flight DT that could push the middle of the OL back. Gone, however, are the days that the other QB just watches to see if Mario frestyled past their OT or TE. QB's now need instincts. I don't know if anyone else has noticed but there are a LOT more poorly thrown balls this year and QBs seem to throw the ball away a lot more frequently. The DB's have been a pleasant surprise. There are still lapses in coverage, but Reeves has learned to turn his head and make a play (Ala TO in the endzone vs the Bills) and Daunta, while never a cover corner, has jarred a few loose. Our safety play was TERRIBLE the first three games, and then comes Pollard. He isn't the BEST safety out there, but he makes a lot fewer mistakes. If he does make one though, he's fast enough that it doesn't automatically mean we're going to see him pulling up about the 10 yard line as the opposition waltzes in for the score. Another thing we've seen is the opponents receivers drop and/or alligator arm A LOT of balls this season. We might have the hardest hitting secondary in the league as a whole. Drob, Pollard, Wilson and McCain all lay the wood at least once or twice a game. Oh yeah, and Wilson figured something out. I don't know what exactly is different but he's always in position to make a play.

Run Defense:

The Texans really blew it this draft. There were several greek gods available in the draft, instead they settled for a gym rat who "lacks hip flexibility". What a mistake that has been as he combines 10+ tackles with better than advertised coverage ability and a knack for knifing through the line at just the right time. Ryans is of course, Ryans. He seemed to be trailing off the last few years but he's back on track for the first time since his rookie year. Diles is the worst of the bunch and he's at least an average linebacker. Smith is what we thought we had with the last DE we signed. He is effective enough in the passrush that the other QB has to watch for him and he rarely loses contain.

This is easily the best defense we've had in our history.

Front Office/Coaching:

This team, in 4 years, has gone from a 2-14 team with no talent to a team that is really about to break through. We used to talk about this team in terms of the 4-5 holes we had before we were really a decent team. Our mantra was "If we can just fill 5 postions we can be competitive on a weekly basis". Now we need 2 or 3 postions to be an elite team. C,DT,RB are our biggest weaknesses. We have depth at every postion, and not WAC or MAC depth, real depth. Our coach has faith in our playres and we take chances. The games are exciting. At this point, it is about playing 4 quarters of football. I don't know if it is personnel (as evidenced between the near lynching of Frank Bush pre pollard to the various and scarry man crushes on him since pollard arrived) or scheme that make the difference on defense, but our defense is legit. Our Offense is inconsistent, in our bad half we are capable of putting up less yards than most teams do on one drive, but then we play our good half and put up what most teams would consider a good game in one half. If we can steady the offense this team can go places.

The Schedule:

I look at our schedule and its a different experience. I no longer look for games we might be able to steal, I look at games that might sneak up on us. We're a 10-11 win team and we SHOULD round out this schedule going no worse than 5-2. Indy and NE are the only acceptable losses. I don't know if 10 wins is good enough for a wildcard this year but it is the benchmark. I thought coming into the season we were in for an 8 or 9 win season at best, but I would be dissapointed if we finish with 9 wins at this point in the season. With NE likely locking up their division early it is possible that we either go 6-1 or we run the table, either situation would be a welcome change.

We've heard it for years "It's fooball time in Houston"... it finally is.

Mike
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