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Old 10-04-2010   #1
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Default A Shift is Coming......

At the moment -- we look like (i) a ground and pound machine running the ball, tops in the league, (ii) highly effective in the air, (iii) elite at stopping the run, and (iv) an atrocity against the pass.

I predict that by year end, we will be a playoff team, but the extreme stats will pull back to the middle.

Consider this, at the quarter pole of the season:

1. Three of the teams we have played (Indy, Wash and Dallas) are very pass happy and effective in the air. Hence magnifying our pass defense deficiencies.

2. These three teams also happen to be crap at running the ball. Our run defense looks quite good, and perhaps we are, given that we slowed the Raiders and had a good run defense for the latter part of last year.

3. With the exception of Dallas, to whom we lost, three of the teams we faced have poor (Indy and Wash) or average (Oak) defenses after the quarter mark of the season. This has helped us amass 30+ ppg per win.

The schedule is about to change dramatically. Let’s consider the nature of the teams we are going to face.

1. Many of them have run the ball effectively in the first quarter of the season: KC, NYG, SD, Jets, Tenn, Phil, Balt, Jacksonville. Baltimore has a team history and culture of doing so. This is going to test our run defense and thank heavens that Cushing is back. Are these teams going to walk into our strength in stopping the run, or will they seek to abuse our secondary? The Defense must prevail in the test of wills.

2. In contrast, just three opponents, Denver, SD and Indy, are strong passing teams. The rest of our opponents are average to poor at attacking in the air. Is our beleaguered pass defense going to catch a break, or will we make legends out of Garrard, Young, Sanchez, Flacco and Kolb?

3. Half of the teams we will face are in the top half in run defense: KC, Jets, SD, Tenn, Jacksonville. Except Indy, the rest are tough, hard nosed defenses that will be in the top half, if not top quarter, by year end: Baltimore, Giants, Philly. We will find out whether we can really shove the ball down our opponents throats, or have benefitted from weak run defenses to start the year. The Texans must run the ball with enough success for the air attack to take hold and light up the scoreboard.

4. The majority of our opponents are stout defensively overall, including three opponents (SD, Balt, NYG) sitting atop the defensive rankings. Tenn, Philly, NYJ are always tough defensively. KC and Denver are average, and Indy and Jacksonville are sieves, like us. Our offense will be tested. Schaub will have to limit turnovers and we will have to be efficient in the red zone.

Historically, the Texans have struggled with smash mouth teams like the NYJ and Baltimore. Does our performance agaisnt Dallas offer an indicator of how things might go against this new type of opponent?

Perhaps, but this year's squad has a new lethal dimension in the form of Arian Foster. Opposing defenses are going to have to play great to beat us.

I like our chances against Denver, Jville x2, KC and even Indy. Yes, I'm talking sweep of Indy. IMO, if they can't stop our ground attack, its going to be a long day for these opponents.

If we're turning the corner as a team, I like our chances against the Titans x2, Giants and Philly. Bloody and tough games, but I think we take at least half of these games.

The crucible for our team is the games agaisnt SD, Baltimore and NYJ. Talented, ubertough teams that will test your talent and will in all phases. Beat 2 out of 3 and we might have a superbowl contender.

--

Long post but gimme some long responses back.
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Old 10-04-2010   #2
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

We have an offense and if our OC doesn't forget that we can pound the ball down people's throats, we can control the tempo against most teams. I think Dennison and Kubiak are still figuring out the best way to mix everything together. I'm very pleased to see that Ward looks good running in this offense. And I hope they figure out the best way to use Slaton (which does not include using him to pound a defense.)

I think that we've got such a highly ranked run defense only because teams have preferred to throw against us to take advantage of our weakness. I think that the Dallas game showed that the way to beat our team via the run is to use draws to create seams in our dline.

BUT...

I think our defense is about to improve. Pretty dramatically. Every year under Kubes, our defense is epically bad the first 3-4 games and then turns around and steps it up. I expect our defense to turn it around and step it up again this year.

Cush coming back is going to add more teeth to our run defense so that it really is as good as the stats show. I think Cush also improves our defense against draws and screens and slants, which have been problems this year.

And I think that Troy Nolan is going to improve our back-end, over the top safety help. On a lot of plays, our corners have looked bad because they were expecting safety help that didn't quite get there. With Nolan, it may not always get there but it will get there more often than it does with Wilson. And, with Troy, expect us to start actually catching some of those balls that have been hitting our DBs in the hands.

Don't be surprised to hear things about how Bush is simplifying his defense or something.
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Old 10-04-2010   #3
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

I'm going to echo PN's opinion here. Antonio Smith had another great game and we just need him to be consistent. Cushing will be back and Nolan should be (but probably will not be) the starter FS. I also like the placement of the Bye week. Our offense is fixing to be really good providing AJ comes back and does not re-injure his ankle. The rotation of backs was handled well by the OC but need better decisions by coaches over all. Kubiak seemed to be rushing the upstairs guy on the red flag he threw. That was an obvious bad call. The DC seemed to decide not to keep rushing the QB in the third quarter and Oakland seemed to catch its breath.

I'll encourage some wrath but I think the player I liked to watch the best this game was Derrick Ward. He seemed to be strong and run quick. If we have him to spell Foster, we will have a great ground game. Even Slaton looked good.
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Old 10-04-2010   #4
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

I'm not a believer in our current ranking in rushing defense. Sorry guys
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Old 10-04-2010   #5
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

I know. Osi Umenyiora is coming to town......oh, nevermind, I misread the thread title.
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Old 10-04-2010   #6
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

Quote:
Originally Posted by badboy View Post
I'm going to echo PN's opinion here. Antonio Smith had another great game and we just need him to be consistent. Cushing will be back and Nolan should be (but probably will not be) the starter FS. I also like the placement of the Bye week. Our offense is fixing to be really good providing AJ comes back and does not re-injure his ankle. The rotation of backs was handled well by the OC but need better decisions by coaches over all. Kubiak seemed to be rushing the upstairs guy on the red flag he threw. That was an obvious bad call. The DC seemed to decide not to keep rushing the QB in the third quarter and Oakland seemed to catch its breath.

I'll encourage some wrath but I think the player I liked to watch the best this game was Derrick Ward. He seemed to be strong and run quick. If we have him to spell Foster, we will have a great ground game. Even Slaton looked good.
I agree with badboy here. One thing though is as many times as CND has posted about high-ankle sprains and the amount of time to fully recover, I'd like to see AJ on the sidelines vs. the Giants dressed just like he was against Oakland. With the bye the following week maybe that will be enough time to fully recover so he can be 100% for the tough schedule coming at us for the rest of the season. I don't see any gimme's in there.

It looks like a good solid stable of running backs for the 1st time ever. As to the bolded, it seemed to me that Slaton has regained confidence and with that, speed, and made sound decisions Sunday. Now whether he'll display consistency of course is another animal.
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Old 10-04-2010   #7
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

Quote:
Originally Posted by drs23 View Post
I agree with badboy here. One thing though is as many times as CND has posted about high-ankle sprains and the amount of time to fully recover, I'd like to see AJ on the sidelines vs. the Giants dressed just like he was against Oakland. With the bye the following week maybe that will be enough time to fully recover so he can be 100% for the tough schedule coming at us for the rest of the season. I don't see any gimme's in there.

It looks like a good solid stable of running backs for the 1st time ever. As to the bolded, it seemed to me that Slaton has regained confidence and with that, speed, and made sound decisions Sunday. Now whether he'll display consistency of course is another animal.
Except the bye is not the following week. We play KC before the bye...
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Old 10-04-2010   #8
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
We have an offense and if our OC doesn't forget that we can pound the ball down people's throats, we can control the tempo against most teams.
I don't know that we've proven this yet. Yes, I'm loving our run game, but the only time we've been able to pound the ball, was against Indy, who can't stop a RB any more than we can stop a TE.


As long as teams have to be honest, I think we're good. But when we want to, I think is still a little suspect.
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Old 10-04-2010   #9
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
We have an offense and if our OC doesn't forget that we can pound the ball down people's throats, we can control the tempo against most teams. I think Dennison and Kubiak are still figuring out the best way to mix everything together. I'm very pleased to see that Ward looks good running in this offense. And I hope they figure out the best way to use Slaton (which does not include using him to pound a defense.)

I think that we've got such a highly ranked run defense only because teams have preferred to throw against us to take advantage of our weakness. I think that the Dallas game showed that the way to beat our team via the run is to use draws to create seams in our dline.

BUT...

I think our defense is about to improve. Pretty dramatically. Every year under Kubes, our defense is epically bad the first 3-4 games and then turns around and steps it up. I expect our defense to turn it around and step it up again this year.

Cush coming back is going to add more teeth to our run defense so that it really is as good as the stats show. I think Cush also improves our defense against draws and screens and slants, which have been problems this year.

And I think that Troy Nolan is going to improve our back-end, over the top safety help. On a lot of plays, our corners have looked bad because they were expecting safety help that didn't quite get there. With Nolan, it may not always get there but it will get there more often than it does with Wilson. And, with Troy, expect us to start actually catching some of those balls that have been hitting our DBs in the hands.

Don't be surprised to hear things about how Bush is simplifying his defense or something.
Although I was totally frustrated yesterday with the way the game went, I agree with you about 99.9%.

Our Pass D has been horrible, but last year it was the Run we couldn't stop. However after week 3 we had it covered. Last year we were like a top 8 defense from week 4 on. If we can repeat that look out.

I'm not ready to crown us just yet, but if history repeats itself and this team improves dramatically after the first quarter of the season, oh baby.

Also Shaub always seems to stumble the first handful games in the season. He hasn't been the Shaub of 2009 except in chunks, yeh sure he put up 497 yards in DC, but that was really a second half kind of deal. It seems like almost everyone we have played has sniffed of the naked bootlegs which really add to yards per game in chunks. Hopefully we start bruning some people with it. Seems like our Run game would make those bootlegs even moe productive.

I can't wait until the Giants game, I need to figure this 2010 Texans Team out!!!!
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Old 10-04-2010   #10
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

Haven't we learned by now to just take it one game at a time? Right now i'm just glad we're winning and am focused on the Giants game. If you look at it one game at a time instead of the big picture, it definitely doesn't look as bleak either.
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Old 10-04-2010   #11
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

The team is supposed to take it one game at a time. The fans -- we're free to pontificate about the future and project away. After all, we're all interweb experts, just like the talking heads on ESPN.

As for the future and bleakness, I don't think it's bleak at all. I see us with 10-11 wins if we can take care of NYG and KC, which I think we will. I see us handling Jville 2X, splitting with Tennessee, possibly sweeping Indy (we are a matchup problem for them), taking out Denver, and maybe taking another game.

About Indy -- what exactly are they going to do between now and when we meet them in Indy? Peyton Manning better be prepared to put up 35+ points and score on each possession, because their defense isn't going to get any better equipped to stop our ground game. If anything, we know we have something in Foster and Indy is going to get a heavy dose.
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Old 10-04-2010   #12
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

Sweeping Indy @ Indy on MNF? Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Its a push at best. Indy still scares the shit out of me.
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Old 10-04-2010   #13
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

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I know. Osi Umenyiora is coming to town......oh, nevermind, I misread the thread title.
Scat humor? Well played.
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Old 10-04-2010   #14
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

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Sweeping Indy @ Indy on MNF? Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Its a push at best. Indy still scares the shit out of me.
Eh. There's no question that Indy's quarterback is some kind of manufactured robot with super human powers. However, they are beatable. No, I'm not saying we will beat them again. I'm saying that I no longer cower in the corner in fear of the Colts.

Bring it, bitches!
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Old 10-04-2010   #15
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

Indy game should be nice.
I think it will be similar to week 1. Good running game and we get back our all pro linebacker. Our corners will improve through experience, Nolan will be starting and we are coming off a bye week. I think we have a great opportunity
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Old 10-04-2010   #16
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

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Originally Posted by TexansForTheW View Post
Indy game should be nice.
I think it will be similar to week 1. Good running game and we get back our all pro linebacker. Our corners will improve through experience, Nolan will be starting and we are coming off a bye week. I think we have a great opportunity
I share your confidence. I can "without rose colored glasses" see us sweeping horsehead and his crew. Furthermore, VY and his band of Finnigans haven't scared me as long as we are healthy. Should be 3 good games in our favor. What has me looking closely is what's going on in Jax'ville?
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Old 10-04-2010   #17
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Default Re: A Shift is Coming......

Good Post man, good points.

The main thing I see differently about this Team is the run game. Now, when Derrick Ward comes in and run 33 yard touchdown, Slaton averaging 5 yards a rush, and Foster getting 130 yards in 3 Qarters, is showing that our O-Line( with no Brown or Studdard), Receivers, Fullback, TE's all very good coached in run blocking. And I think that will help us win this game.

From the first 4 games I've watched, we won every game when we scored first. I think we need to keep playing Texans football with the good mix of pass and rush. With the Giants i want to run some Screen pass's.

Why don't we go shotgun with Slaton and Foster in the backfield and force them to either match Slaton with a LB, or pull safety and leave 1on1 on the outside.

We should use that this week to keep the LB from blitzing. Schaub will be harassed this game. Our D will have to step up this game i have a feeling it's going to be a low scoring game.
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