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Old 07-10-2010   #1
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Default ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

In looking at Gary Kubiak's current situation with the Houston Texans, I cannot help but think back to the case of former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Austin.

Austin came to Pittsburgh in 1966 with a seemingly perfect résumé. He was a first-round draft choice who spent much of his career playing under the tutelage of Vince Lombardi on New York's dynasty teams of the 1950s. He performed so well that Giants coach Jim Lee Howell called him the finest offensive guard in the league.

Austin moved on from there to coach the Green Bay Packers' offensive line under Lombardi. He did such a superb job that Pittsburgh owner Art Rooney Sr. said he never received a better recommendation than the one Lombardi gave him regarding Austin.

Those accomplishments spoke well for what Austin learned while working for maybe the greatest coach in NFL history, but they also should have passed along a bit of a warning.

Austin picked up a lot of good habits from Lombardi -- but he also picked up some of his negative traits. He leaned too heavily on Lombardi's famous fire-and-brimstone, kick-the-team-in-the-tail motivational techniques, and his players eventually tuned him out because of it. It was said to be one of the main reasons Austin went 11-28-3 in his three seasons as the Steelers' coach.

Kubiak looks as if he could be in much the same boat in what he learned from Mike Shanahan.

Kubiak's success with the Houston offense proves he has been able to implement Shanahan's brilliant play-calling methods effectively, but he might have picked up some of Shanahan's deficiencies when dealing with certain types of players.

For example, back in 2003, Ashley Lelie showed some instances of a lack of on-field toughness that caused him to miss more than a few passes. Shanahan and his staff pushed Lelie to get over this, and he responded by stepping his game up and posting a 10.0 YPA in 2004, a total that was seventh-best in the league.

That success story wasn't enough for Shanahan. To quote Scientific Football 2006:

Lelie is one of the best deep threats in the league but Shanahan has it in his mind that he should run medium and short routes as well as he does deep ones. Lelie either can't or won't do that and Shanahan is simply never going to stop expecting him to do it. Shanahan is so single-minded in this pursuit that he will push, cajole, demote and eventually bench Lelie if he doesn't improve in these areas.

That is exactly what happened. Shanahan stayed on Lelie's case constantly, and it eventually led to Lelie's performance dropping back to unacceptable levels. The Broncos ended up having to trade him for much less than they what they could have traded him for before Shanahan lost patience with Lelie's limitations.

This wasn't the only case in which Shanahan's high expectations cost Denver. Deltha O'Neal posted nine interceptions in 2001 and looked like an up-and-coming star cornerback, but Shanahan was so unwilling to accept weaknesses in O'Neal's game that he eventually ended up moving him to wide receiver. One could also add the cases of Tatum Bell and Jake Plummer to this list.

Kubiak might be making the same type of mistake in the case of Amobi Okoye. Okoye isn't giving the Texans the pass rush they want (as Paul Kuharsky notes within this blog entry), and the Houston coaching staff has said it is running out of patience with him because of it.

Although pushing Okoye to improve that part of his game is understandable, Kubiak should be certain to keep in mind what the defensive tackle brings to the table against the run.

Okoye drew a double-team on running plays at his POA (point of attack) 56.4 percent of the time last year, a rate that was much higher than that of any other Texans defensive lineman (Shaun Cody was closest with a 43.1 percent double-team rate).

That is impressive enough, but its real value is seen when it is contrasted with the percentages of some other top-notch defensive linemen. Vince Wilfork and Casey Hampton -- Pro Bowl nose tackles for the New England Patriots and Steelers, respectively -- saw double-team rates of 50.5 percent and 56.4 percent. Washington Redskins star Albert Haynesworth posted a 40.5 percent total in this metric. Jason Ferguson of the Miami Dolphins notched a 49.2 percent mark. Even the New York Jets' Kris Jenkins, maybe the most dominant run-stuffing lineman in the league, saw two blockers less often than Okoye (51.4 percent). Okoye's total more than holds its own against some of the biggest names in the league.

There is certainly little doubt that Okoye hasn't met expectations when it comes to rushing the passer or that Kubiak should do all he can to correct this, but the coach's true test will come if Okoye doesn't show significant improvement here.

If that happens, and Kubiak finds a way to keep one of the best double-team run draws in the NFL in his regular defensive line rotation, it will prove he didn't pick up this bad habit from Shanahan.

But if Kubiak takes on Shanahan's ability to mimic Don Quixote when it comes to players with limitations, it could end up costing him one of the cogs of a run defense that could use all the quality players it can find.

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Old 07-10-2010   #2
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

weak article. thank god i dont get 'insider'. it ignores so many facts about the amobi situation namely that amobi wants to play lighter, the possible related injuries amobi has had by raising his weight
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Old 07-10-2010   #3
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

One can think up a myriad of possible Kubiak criticisms. Being too tough on Amobi Okoye isn't one of them.
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Old 07-10-2010   #4
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

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Originally Posted by Maddict5 View Post
weak article. thank god i dont get 'insider'. it ignores so many facts about the amobi situation namely that amobi wants to play lighter, the possible related injuries amobi has had by raising his weight
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One can think up a myriad of possible Kubiak criticisms. Being too tough on Amobi Okoye isn't one of them.
Exactly. This guy doesn't know the whole situation with Amobi, and is just making an outsiders observation with no real inside information.
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Old 07-10-2010   #5
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

Great read. Thanks much for posting. Can't wait to see what happens.
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Old 07-10-2010   #6
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

Terrible article! I mean come on. He is using Ashley Lelie, Deltha O'Neal (one good season with Cincy but the rest have been meh), Tatum Bell, and to top it all off Jake Plummer as his basis for Shanahan being a bad coach? Uh, maybe those guys just underperformed and didn't show that they could really be quality NFL players?
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Old 07-10-2010   #7
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

Every DT he compared Amobi to plays in a 3-4 defense. I wonder what his numbers look like compared to other 4-3 DT's.
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Old 07-10-2010   #8
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

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Originally Posted by Ckw5814 View Post
Terrible article! I mean come on. He is using Ashley Lelie, Deltha O'Neal (one good season with Cincy but the rest have been meh), Tatum Bell, and to top it all off Jake Plummer as his basis for Shanahan being a bad coach? Uh, maybe those guys just underperformed and didn't show that they could really be quality NFL players?
Hey, it's about time someone started talking about how overbearing Gary is.

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Old 07-10-2010   #9
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

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Originally Posted by Ckw5814 View Post
Terrible article! I mean come on. He is using Ashley Lelie, Deltha O'Neal (one good season with Cincy but the rest have been meh), Tatum Bell, and to top it all off Jake Plummer as his basis for Shanahan being a bad coach? Uh, maybe those guys just underperformed and didn't show that they could really be quality NFL players?
QFT... I don't know if I want my coaches to be satisfied with players not delivering what they were drafted for. I trust Kubiak's ability to asses and grade players. If he thinks there is more in Jacoby Jones, Amobi Okoye, Steve Slaton, etc... I won't be satisfied with so-so performance from any of them.

Look at Schaub, Look at Andre, Look at OD, Demeco, Diles, Walter... the list goes on and on.

Yes, I believe Andre's game has gone beyond beast mode, because of Kubiak and his expectations. He was a beast when Kubiak got here, now he's a MONSTER.
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Old 07-10-2010   #10
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

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Every DT he compared Amobi to plays in a 3-4 defense. I wonder what his numbers look like compared to other 4-3 DT's.
Those were the guys closest to Amobi's numbers. The 4-3 guys weren't even close.

Another important fact, about the number (whether you put any weight or significance to it) it's a percentage. Amobi played an huge number of snaps. I'd like to see how that number compares to the other DTs in the league. If he played a high number, and still commanded a high number of double-teams, and we were very successful on defense... I may have to rethink the value I place on his play.
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Old 07-10-2010   #11
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

I had an email exchange with the author.

I believe his larger Kubiak criticism about handling Okoye completely misses the mark, and that he was unaware of some of the maturity/preparation issues Okoye has acknowledged publicly.

In any event, the double team information is interesting.

Aside from the article, I think it is interesting that Okoye has had the third most DT snaps in the league. Only 4 DTs had over 800 snaps during last season, and Okoye is one of them. And he did this with nagging injuries all season.

I thought that the point of Kollar's defensive lines was to rotate players and to keep them fresh. At least historically that was the deal. Maybe that is not as appealing when you have someone as old as Zgonina as a part of your rotation.
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Old 07-10-2010   #12
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

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Originally Posted by Texans_Chick View Post
Aside from the article, I think it is interesting that Okoye has had the third most DT snaps in the league. Only 4 DTs had over 800 snaps during last season, and Okoye is one of them.
I knew he was in a small group of guys with the number of snaps he took. Nice to get a number and comparison on that.. Thanks.

Like I said, with this information, looking at our results, and factoring in the percentage of double-teams, I think our collective impression of Amobi's play, and his value to this team may need to be upgraded. Nagging injuries not-withstanding.
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I thought that the point of Kollar's defensive lines was to rotate players and to keep them fresh.
This has been a concern of mine as well. Mario, Antonio, and Amobi... I honestly don't know how they do it. I'm sure the number of snaps they play has an affect on our ability to get stops in the 4th quarter.

Connor Barwin definitely helped as the season went on, which is why I believe they went after Mitchell in the 3rd, and have hopes for Sheppard as well.

I also think a bona-fide run game, keeping the defense off the field, will help as well.
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Old 07-10-2010   #13
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

I think those who look at Okoye as a first round bust are going overboard.

Look at how many DTs being drafted higher than him the last 9 years.
Add to that the number of lower first round draft picks that have more experience.
The total came up close to 30.

Look at the number of sakcs, QB hits and pressures from PFF.

Okoye's numbers are as followed:
2 sacks, 5 hits, 21 pressures,
26 tackles, 12 assists (from nfl.com)

They compared very decently with those of the top 16 NTs, DTs in the league.
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Old 07-10-2010   #14
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

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One can think up a myriad of possible Kubiak criticisms. Being too tough on Amobi Okoye isn't one of them.
This may be the most accurate statement I have read in my entire life!
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Old 07-10-2010   #15
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

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Every DT he compared Amobi to plays in a 3-4 defense. I wonder what his numbers look like compared to other 4-3 DT's.
Haynesworth played in a 4-3 last year when the numbers were generated. Switching to a 3-4 this year is what has him pissed off. In any event, being the NT on a 3-4 should elevate rather than deflate the numbers.
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Old 07-10-2010   #16
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

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Haynesworth played in a 4-3 last year when the numbers were generated. Switching to a 3-4 this year is what has him pissed off. In any event, being the NT on a 3-4 should elevate rather than deflate the numbers.
I think that is the point he was trying to make.
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Old 07-10-2010   #17
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

I can't put a whole lot of stock into double team numbers...

A lot of times that has nothing at all to do with the player themselves and everything to do with what the play calls for that the offense is running...
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Old 07-10-2010   #18
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

This would be the year amobi would be coming out of college right or having olny 1 year under his belt anywayz he young I think he will pick it up that's why the have gave him this much time
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Old 07-10-2010   #19
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

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This would be the year amobi would be coming out of college right or having olny 1 year under his belt anywayz he young I think he will pick it up that's why the have gave him this much time
Either way, it is pure fantasy to have expected much more from Amobi Okoye than he has given. I mean, it's ok and expected for Kubiak to demand more, but the disrespect & loathing Amobi gets from the fans is unreal.

No DT has made the impact in his first three years that they expect Amobi to have made. None.

Darnell Docket, who may very well be the epitome of an inside terror had very similar stats to what Amobi put up. It wasn't until his 4th season, that he became the animal we see today.
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Old 07-10-2010   #20
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Default Re: ESPN: Kubiak hurting the Texans D?

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No DT has made the impact in his first three years that they expect Amobi to have made. None.
These are the type of excuses once made for David Carr. I should know. I made these same arguments for Carr.
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