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Old 01-26-2010   #1
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Default Where does Okoye stand right now?

First please note, this is NOT a "lets mindlessly bash Okoye" thread

Also please note, this is NOT an "I'm smarter than Rick Smith because I would have drafted Patrick Willis or Darrelle Revis" thread either

The purpose of this thread is to examine Okoye's status with the Texans right now and how his situation is approached going forward.

I think the Okoye discussion should start with his contract. It would help to have the specifics of it but I do know 1st round rookie contract money is always heavily backloaded and there's big bonuses on the back half. Typically a player's status is clear by their 3rd season in the league (excluding some positions like QB) which makes it easier to decide on those bonuses/cap numbers but Okoye's status is anything but clear.

His age (22) certainly complicates things, as he's the same age or younger than some of the DT prospects coming out in the draft this year. His tape from year-to-year looks like a different player almost. His rookie year he was surprisingly solid, his second year was surprisingly lackluster and his third year wasn't noteworthy excluding a few stretches of play where he looked like he did his rookie year.

There's going to come a point (as with all NFL players) where his contract will dictate the direction the Texans go as far as his future here. His snaps were reduced pretty significantly towards the end of the season to the point where he wasn't seen on 1st and 2nd down and when he was on the field he didn't look comfortable in his role. There was no clear explanation from the coaches as to why this was, but we can infer that it was tied to poor performance.

So what was said to Okoye in his exit interview? Was he told that he'll see more of the same (limited) playing time if he continues to underperform? Was he even told that he is in fact underperforming? Was he told that next year is the final year to prove himself as a player in the NFL?

My opinion on Okoye is that while he's still unproven and is underperforming, there are skills/tools in his repertoire that can help this team and he is a fit on our interior defensive line when he is right and is penetrating into the backfield. The problem is this does not happen nearly enough, and sooner (training camp 2010) or later (2011 offseason) a tough decision will have to be made to trade/release him if the money doesn't equal the results on the field.
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Old 01-26-2010   #2
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

I'm not sure where you got that impression about his playing time. He saw a reduced role in the second half, but still played the vast majority of the snaps.

Game snaps taken/possible snaps - sat out
1 59/80 - 21
2 50/65 - 15
3 51/64 - 13
4 50/61 - 11
5 55/60 - 5
6 54/58 - 4
7 53/62 - 9
8 42/45 - 3
9 59/81 - 22
10 60/70 - 10
11 45/67 - 22
12 51/70 - 19
13 55/69 - 14
14 47/60 - 13
15 63/80 - 17
16 46/64 - 18

I thought he showed some flashes early in the season, and at times seemed like he was getting things figured out. At one point he was on pace for 6.5 sacks, 26 QB Pressures, and 35 stops; then after week 5 he just seemed to disappear. He was practically invisible in the pass rush from Cinci in week 6 until his 7 QB pressure game against Miami in week 16.

I'd say it was a valuable year in his development, and for a 22 year old, it was a decent performance. He showed some ability against the run that we haven't seen in the past, and seemed to anchor better against the double team.

Okoye isn't making that much, and he will probably get the full length of his contract to figure things out. Almost all of his contract was guaranteed, and his base salary is pretty much league minimum.

Amobi Okoye Defensive Lineman 7/26/2007: Signed a six-year, $15.4 million contract. The deal contains $12.785 million guaranteed. Another $2.3 million is available through incentives, including a fifth-year escalator of $2.2 million. 2009: $630,000, 2010: $765,000, 2011: $850,000, 2012: $665,000 (Voidable Year), 2013: Free Agent
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Old 01-26-2010   #3
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

What we see from Okoye is what we're going to get. He's a mediocre rotation player. I'm not opposed to carrying him on the roster as a 4th DT kind of guy, but the automatic starter status he has right now has to go.
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Old 01-26-2010   #4
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

He was a top 10 pick based on his upside/potential. We selected him because of that upside, the need of a DT and more importantly, the need to beef up the players next to Mario. You have to let the #1 overall pick have every opportunity to excel.

Now add in the belief that a Defensive Lineman typically takes 3 years to get acclimated to the NFL and the fact that Amobi was the youngest player to take an NFL snap in over 40 years. I think we all want him to be producing... and quite frankly he should be expected to. No way should he get a free pass.

At this point in time, we can't afford to cut him. We don't have the depth right now to fill the void of his departure. Additionally, for financial reasons, we really don't gain anything out of it. He's not a troublemaker or cancer in the locker room, doesn't have bad work ethic that I know of... so all signs point to coach the hell out of him.

As you mentioned, he's about the same age as most of these DT's in the draft. He's ahead of the curve though because he's already got 3 years of nfl experience, solid starting experience at that. I think we just need to keep adding some quality players through the draft and FA. Keep our DL fresh by rotating them consistently and let them play at 100%. One might say I've got battle red glasses on but I think he's right on the verge of fulfilling his potential. The next few years is when we really see the early investment pay off. And if in 3 years, it still hasn't... then he doesn't get a contract like he's performed.... he get's offered one that fits what his role will be.

I still think he can be a HUGE part of our team and can live up to his draft selection.
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Old 01-26-2010   #5
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

Bust. Been saying it for a while now.

Okoye's biggest problem is in run defense. He usually gets blown off the ball and ends up 3 yards back off the line of scrimmage.
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Old 01-26-2010   #6
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by m5kwatts View Post
First please note, this is NOT a "lets mindlessly bash Okoye" thread

Also please note, this is NOT an "I'm smarter than Rick Smith because I would have drafted Patrick Willis or Darrelle Revis" thread either

The purpose of this thread is to examine Okoye's status with the Texans right now and how his situation is approached going forward.

I think the Okoye discussion should start with his contract. It would help to have the specifics of it but I do know 1st round rookie contract money is always heavily backloaded and there's big bonuses on the back half. Typically a player's status is clear by their 3rd season in the league (excluding some positions like QB) which makes it easier to decide on those bonuses/cap numbers but Okoye's status is anything but clear.

His age (22) certainly complicates things, as he's the same age or younger than some of the DT prospects coming out in the draft this year. His tape from year-to-year looks like a different player almost. His rookie year he was surprisingly solid, his second year was surprisingly lackluster and his third year wasn't noteworthy excluding a few stretches of play where he looked like he did his rookie year.

There's going to come a point (as with all NFL players) where his contract will dictate the direction the Texans go as far as his future here. His snaps were reduced pretty significantly towards the end of the season to the point where he wasn't seen on 1st and 2nd down and when he was on the field he didn't look comfortable in his role. There was no clear explanation from the coaches as to why this was, but we can infer that it was tied to poor performance.

So what was said to Okoye in his exit interview? Was he told that he'll see more of the same (limited) playing time if he continues to underperform? Was he even told that he is in fact underperforming? Was he told that next year is the final year to prove himself as a player in the NFL?

My opinion on Okoye is that while he's still unproven and is underperforming, there are skills/tools in his repertoire that can help this team and he is a fit on our interior defensive line when he is right and is penetrating into the backfield. The problem is this does not happen nearly enough, and sooner (training camp 2010) or later (2011 offseason) a tough decision will have to be made to trade/release him if the money doesn't equal the results on the field.
Regarding Amobi's contract, from Rotoworld,

Quote:
7/26/2007: Signed a six-year, $15.4 million contract. The deal contains $12.785 million guaranteed. Another $2.3 million is available through incentives, including a fifth-year escalator of $2.2 million. 2009: $630,000, 2010: $765,000, 2011: $850,000, 2012: $665,000 (Voidable Year), 2013: Free Agent
So his contract isn't really problematic. He will in all likelihood play out his contract here, barring a trade, since his contract is that manageable.

His age is definitely what muddles the situation, because if he were a typical 3 year vet, I would not hesitate to label him a bust. However, at 22 he is still growing and should be getting much stronger. He has gained about 15 pounds since entering the league if you compare his combine weight to his current weight at NFL.com.

Because of this, I have actually been wondering if he might grow into a decent NT for us. I know his game is supposed to be getting sacks and hurries, but he hasn't been overly effective in that role. Maybe with a couple more years of bulk, he will stop getting blown off the ball and become more stout in run defense. Who knows? I'm still wondering why he was so great in his first few games and hasn't played as well since.
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Old 01-26-2010   #7
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

There's no good reason to cut him and I don't even see why you bother to trade him at this point unless Charlie Casserly or Matt Millen get another NFL job and come calling with stupid compensation. Okoye is semi-quality depth and every team needs that. He's not a starter, he's not even the first guy off the bench but he's going to be cheap next year and he knows the system.

We still need a starting DT but that has nothing to do with Amobi Okoye at this point in time. You sign or draft a guy and give that player every chance to beat out Okoye. If he's even got a pulse that shouldn't be a problem. Then you let Okoye try and earn time and his next contract if he can (he can't). If you like him better than any of the other tomato cans out there then maybe you give him a minimum offer to be your "somewhere towards the bottom" DT but even then don't expect him to be back in 2011. Somebody somewhere will think they can motivate this kid and develop him or do something we didn't (hell maybe they can) and he'll be gone.
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Old 01-26-2010   #8
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

The problem with drafting a 19 yr old kid is he may be good when he's 25 but he probably wont be on your team. The Texans went through all of AO's growing pains and some other team will reap the benefits. This is the catch 22 of this situation.

It is also the reason a rebuilding team should never spend a top 10 pick on a 19 yr old kid.
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Old 01-26-2010   #9
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

I still think its too early to give up on AO. At 22 years old, his body is just maturing to the level that most are at in their first year. It is extremely difficult when you are a boy playing amongst men. I think we will really start to see some positive development in the next year.
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Old 01-26-2010   #10
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexCanada View Post
I still think its too early to give up on AO. At 22 years old, his body is just maturing to the level that most are at in their first year. It is extremely difficult when you are a boy playing amongst men. I think we will really start to see some positive development in the next year.
Hopefully we will se improvement.

But I hope he doesn't decide to spend anothe offseason in Nigeria doing whatever it was that he did after his rookie year.

He needs to be here in the offseason doing whatever it takes to perfect his craft.

The reason he's able to go galavanting around the globe is because of the $ he gets paid for playing football. He needs to realize this and put all of his efforts into becoming a better football player.

He is bordering on bust material right now. IMO
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Old 01-26-2010   #11
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexCanada View Post
I still think its too early to give up on AO. At 22 years old, his body is just maturing to the level that most are at in their first year. It is extremely difficult when you are a boy playing amongst men. I think we will really start to see some positive development in the next year.
This is what I was wondering about. I constantly hear people say that a rookie needs to bulk up a bit. I assume this not only means they need to work at it (because the NFL is a different beast than college is), but also that they are getting older and their bodies are maturing into a frame that is more capable of putting on that bulk.

It was pretty clear that AO was a project, he may have had a harder time keeping up purely due to age. Now that we have 3 years of coaching into him, maybe once his body matures a bit, he will turn out to be a bit more effective.
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Old 01-26-2010   #12
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

Where does he stand?

On the sidelines with his hands on his hips
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Old 01-26-2010   #13
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

I think Haynesworth is an example of why we shouldn't eliminate the possibility that Okoye has yet to approach his ceiling, and in fact it's possible (not saying likely) that it could still be a pretty high one.

Haynesworth was 20 years old when drafted, and 21 years old when his rookie season started. He was listed at 320 lbs. at the draft, and is now listed at a playing weight of 350 (and he's probably more). After four seasons, he was known around the league as the guy who stomped on Andre Gurode's face, and little else. Now he's the "$100,000,000" man.

That's one end of the spectrum, and while it's improbable that Amobi becomes what Phat Albert is now (when healthy and motivated), it's also kind of short-sighted if you assume that he's topped out, or try to predict how much further he's capable of growing.

Right now, Amobi's a slightly better version of Travis Johnson (and Travis Johnson still has a job in the NFL). Given the incremental cost and risk (or lack thereof), to keep him around, I think it's going to be interesting to see where he is after his fourth and fifth years in the league.
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Old 01-26-2010   #14
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

Not a bust yet.

He was still the youngest player to ever be drafted in the NFL.

I think that he is still adjusting to the NFL and will become a quality starter next year.

I do not think that he is going to be great but better than he was this year.
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Old 01-26-2010   #15
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

Every year it's possible that the incredible upside we all hoped for could appear. Every year there are at least somewhat valid reasons why it hasn't shown up yet. The problem is that damned rookie contract will run out before we run out of excuses for why he hasn't become any kind of force at all on the line.

The Texans will have to decide whether to sign him and they won't be doing it in a vacuum. They'll be doing it with some dumbass GM out there from another team willing to offer Okoye money (maybe not top-ten pick money but good money) on the same slight chance that he's going to turn the corner that we're talking about. I don't know how you look at his body of work and say "Yeah, ok. Sign me up for 3-4 more years of that" and I damn sure don't know how you face the fans and your peers if you do take that chance and Amobi Okoye ain't got nothing more to show you than what you've already seen. How do you keep your job making decisions like that?

It's going to be a tough call and all I keep thinking is that this bullshit could have been avoided if Rick Smith, Gary Kubiak, & Co. had just taken a mature, "safe" (by NFL first round standards at least) player like Willis or Revis. Instead they had to go get cute and draft the guy who should have been dominating his high school team/division.
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Old 01-26-2010   #16
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hervoyel View Post
Every year it's possible that the incredible upside we all hoped for could appear. Every year there are at least somewhat valid reasons why it hasn't shown up yet. The problem is that damned rookie contract will run out before we run out of excuses for why he hasn't become any kind of force at all on the line.

The Texans will have to decide whether to sign him and they won't be doing it in a vacuum. They'll be doing it with some dumbass GM out there from another team willing to offer Okoye money (maybe not top-ten pick money but good money) on the same slight chance that he's going to turn the corner that we're talking about. I don't know how you look at his body of work and say "Yeah, ok. Sign me up for 3-4 more years of that" and I damn sure don't know how you face the fans and your peers if you do take that chance and Amobi Okoye ain't got nothing more to show you than what you've already seen. How do you keep your job making decisions like that?

It's going to be a tough call and all I keep thinking is that this bullshit could have been avoided if Rick Smith, Gary Kubiak, & Co. had just taken a mature, "safe" (by NFL first round standards at least) player like Willis or Revis. Instead they had to go get cute and draft the guy who should have been dominating his high school team/division.
As pointed out in a previous post, he's under contract for three more years (the third one voidable) at reasonable money. If questions still exist at that point, they'll always exist (I just don't think that's true after 3 years).
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Old 01-26-2010   #17
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChampionTexan View Post
I think Haynesworth is an example of why we shouldn't eliminate the possibility that Okoye has yet to approach his ceiling, and in fact it's possible (not saying likely) that it could still be a pretty high one.

Haynesworth was 20 years old when drafted, and 21 years old when his rookie season started. He was listed at 320 lbs. at the draft, and is now listed at a playing weight of 350 (and he's probably more). After four seasons, he was known around the league as the guy who stomped on Andre Gurode's face, and little else. Now he's the "$100,000,000" man.

That's one end of the spectrum, and while it's improbable that Amobi becomes what Phat Albert is now (when healthy and motivated), it's also kind of short-sighted if you assume that he's topped out, or try to predict how much further he's capable of growing.

Right now, Amobi's a slightly better version of Travis Johnson (and Travis Johnson still has a job in the NFL). Given the incremental cost and risk (or lack thereof), to keep him around, I think it's going to be interesting to see where he is after his fourth and fifth years in the league.
Very good points. I'm all for giving Okoye time to develop whether it be physically or mentally and he will add "NFL weight" to his frame. I just hope his production comes sooner than later.

Also, does anyone remember during the Bengals game, I don't recall who the announcers were but one of them said the Bengals' coaching staff told them Okoye was one of the better speed interior d-lineman in the league and was one of their biggest concerns in preparing for the Texans defense. If anything this shows that if the Texans didn't want him, there'd be other teams in line who'd be more than happy to have his services.
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Old 01-26-2010   #18
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

For the draft pick - BUST

For the money - workable as some depth (while hopefully maturing both physically and mentally)
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Old 01-26-2010   #19
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

He was supposed to be baby Sapp and more importantly Mario's partner in crime. Similar to how Cushing is DeMeco's partner in crime. His presence was supposed to elevate the other player's game and vice versa.

After 3 years he hasn't done that which is bad for where he was drafted. Even worse is the fact we passed on all pros like Darelle Revis and Patrick Willis. Basically all the bad things national media were saying about the Mario pick (no matter how good Mario is he'll never be as good as VY and Reggie) are true about the Okoye pick. No matter how good Amobi plays, he's never gonna be on the level of Revis and Willis, arguably the 2 best defensive players in the NFL (I personally thought Revis deserved DPOY and you could make a case for Willis as well).

Revis would've been a shutdown CB for us, Willis and his 4.3 speed could've been moved to SAM or we could've moved DeMeco to SAM. At least we got Cushing to lessen the sting of losing out on a talent like Willis but it sucks seeing Revis out there blanketing the opposing team's # 1 WR knowing that the Texans passed on him for Amobi.
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Old 01-26-2010   #20
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Default Re: Where does Okoye stand right now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRealJoker View Post
He was supposed to be baby Sapp and more importantly Mario's partner in crime. Similar to how Cushing is DeMeco's partner in crime. His presence was supposed to elevate the other player's game and vice versa.

After 3 years he hasn't done that which is bad for where he was drafted. Even worse is the fact we passed on all pros like Darelle Revis and Patrick Willis. Basically all the bad things national media were saying about the Mario pick (no matter how good Mario is he'll never be as good as VY and Reggie) are true about the Okoye pick. No matter how good Amobi plays, he's never gonna be on the level of Revis and Willis, arguably the 2 best defensive players in the NFL (I personally thought Revis deserved DPOY and you could make a case for Willis as well).

Revis would've been a shutdown CB for us, Willis and his 4.3 speed could've been moved to SAM or we could've moved DeMeco to SAM. At least we got Cushing to lessen the sting of losing out on a talent like Willis but it sucks seeing Revis out there blanketing the opposing team's # 1 WR knowing that the Texans passed on him for Amobi.
You must've just skimmed through the first 2 lines of the original post, go back and re-read and re-post thanks.
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