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Old 11-05-2010   #1
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Default Regression of Texan defensive players

The regression of Texan defensive players by Texan coaching - a subject that I have seen mentioned here before but I don't know that it has really been dissected.... My thoughts are below. Please understand that I learn a lot from this board. I openly admit that a lot of the posters are much more knowledgeable than myself. So I'm not throwing things out as gospel and a lot of this will sound very subjective. Rather, I'm hoping to inspire some discourse that might shed some light on some gray areas.

Over the past few days I have been thinking about this "regression via coaching" subject. First, I was wondering if Cushing's lack of impact YTD has been because he WAS on PED's last year and is NOT this year. I was mulling the timing of drug tests, etc. and I started thinking - well, this is his second year here. Seems some of our players suffer from a sophomore slump (followed by the junior jinx, senior suckitude, etc).

So Cush was my first example - is his lack of impact PED related or has he been coached down by our staff (yes, I know his positive test was not for PED's but a recovery agent)?

Other examples:

Demeco - his first couple of years he seemed to have a greater impact on games and seemed more athletic than recently. Has his bigger size coupled with not having good DT's hampered his play or is it coaching?

Will Demps - Showed up with some flashes his first year here then faded into obscurity. Was it his modeling career and old age or was it coaching?

Fred Bennett - Looks like a real up and coming talent his first year. Serviceable the next. Now - out of the league after the Chargers let him go. Flash in the pan in year one? Or raw but talented and coached right out of the league?

Bernard Pollard - Hell of a lot more effective last year. Poor tackling, poor angles, etc. this year. Second year in our system. Has he been exposed by other teams' film study or coached out of being good?

Zac Diles - 7th round pick turned starter. Played pretty dang well for awhile. This year, not so much. Again - was he like Fred Bennett? Raw talent coached down?

I could probably sit here and rattle off some more, but I think that I've thrown enough examples out to spark some conversation. Are we actually seeing our defensive talent coached down or are we seeing a bunch of other factors that just makes it look that way?

I'm hoping that its the latter but I'm afraid its the former.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-05-2010   #2
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

Very interesting theory, hard to deny.

Perhaps Jason Babin? Never fully coached up talent, now thriving in a well-coached system in Tennessee??
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Old 11-05-2010   #3
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

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Originally Posted by vupac1 View Post
Very interesting theory, hard to deny.

Perhaps Jason Babin? Never fully coached up talent, now thriving in a well-coached system in Tennessee??
See - that's a point I kept getting hung up on.

It's not just the current regime - this is a trend that seems to have been in place that transcends the current coaching stuff and goes back a little bit.
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Old 11-05-2010   #4
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

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Originally Posted by drewmar74 View Post
See - that's a point I kept getting hung up on.

It's not just the current regime - this is a trend that seems to have been in place that transcends the current coaching stuff and goes back a little bit.
Certain coaches want players to do a set job that the coach has in mind, regardless what the player is better at doing. Certain other coaches look at players and see what they do and don't do well and them put them in position to succeed. There is a bit of both going on at all times, of course, but coaches seem to lean one way or the other, for the most part.

Imagine taking LT and telling him to cover TEs. Imagine telling Deion he's a zone corner (or Ronde Barber he's a man corner). Etc., etc., etc.

Babin is and always was a DE. He just needed some coaching to be a good DE in the NFL. Instead, he got moved to OLB in a 3-4.
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Old 11-05-2010   #5
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

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Originally Posted by eriadoc View Post
Certain coaches want players to do a set job that the coach has in mind, regardless what the player is better at doing. Certain other coaches look at players and see what they do and don't do well and them put them in position to succeed. There is a bit of both going on at all times, of course, but coaches seem to lean one way or the other, for the most part.

Imagine taking LT and telling him to cover TEs. Imagine telling Deion he's a zone corner (or Ronde Barber he's a man corner). Etc., etc., etc.

Babin is and always was a DE. He just needed some coaching to be a good DE in the NFL. Instead, he got moved to OLB in a 3-4.
Understood.

But does serve as an example of a poor decision by a GM or as an example of poor coaching? Both, maybe?
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Old 11-05-2010   #6
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

There's also the whole "not living up to potential" portion of our defense too ~ Mario, Amobe, Travis Johnson.
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Old 11-05-2010   #7
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

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Originally Posted by Hagar View Post
There's also the whole "not living up to potential" portion of our defense too ~ Mario, Amobe, Travis Johnson.
Correct.

Which brings me to another point I was contemplating.....

The "start hot and begin to fade" plan seems to be limited to the LB's and DB's. The "never really get hot" seems to be the pattern with the DL.

I don't know. Maybe I'm overthinking all this....
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Old 11-05-2010   #8
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

Well if we have had to "dumb" down the defense and play pretty vanilla schemes - seems to me we have drafted the dumbest defensive players on earth.
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Old 11-05-2010   #9
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

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Originally Posted by drewmar74 View Post
Understood.

But does serve as an example of a poor decision by a GM or as an example of poor coaching? Both, maybe?
Poor synergy between the two, I'd say. In Kubiak's case, however, he's pretty much in charge of personnel. Rick Smith was hired by Kubiak, and Kubiak is the man on draft day. I mean, he takes input, of course, and he drafts guys his coaches want in some cases, but by and large, he's the one with the vision for what these guys will do.

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There's also the whole "not living up to potential" portion of our defense too ~ Mario, Amobe, Travis Johnson.
There's a lot of that. I wouldn't put Mario in that category, though. He had something like 39.5 sacks in his first 4 years and a ton of hurries and tackles for loss, and I honestly can't name another DE that plays the run any better. So I think he's lived up to his draft spot. People expect more of him because they see the freakish things he can do from time to time, but it's not realistic to expect those things when he has zero help in up-the-middle QB pressure.

Amobi Ok0ye was drafted to do just what he did in college, so he's a bust in every sense of the word, IMO.

As for the secondary, that was a huge coaching blunder, IMO. Remember the great rookie season that D-Rob had? Remember who he had playing in that secondary with him? He had former Pro Bowl guys playing at FS and CB. Kareem Jackson, Glover Quin, Brice McCain, and Troy Nolan have no such help. That was a coaching decision.
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Old 11-05-2010   #10
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

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Originally Posted by drewmar74 View Post
Correct.

Which brings me to another point I was contemplating.....

The "start hot and begin to fade" plan seems to be limited to the LB's and DB's. The "never really get hot" seems to be the pattern with the DL.

I don't know. Maybe I'm overthinking all this....
Our DTs suck. That's really all there is to it. Shaun Cody might be our best DT, and he's a role player at best, suited for stopping the run. We get zero pressure up the middle from the DT spot, except maybe for one play a game where Ok0ye decides to do something (or the guy holding Ok0ye screws up).
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Old 11-05-2010   #11
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

Don't forget Slaton or Okoye, they both exploded as rookies...and then...well exploded in a different manner since...
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Old 11-05-2010   #12
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

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Originally Posted by Grams View Post
Well if we have had to "dumb" down the defense and play pretty vanilla schemes - seems to me we have drafted the dumbest defensive players on earth.
We already play a pretty vanilla scheme. We just don't have as much talent on the defensive side of the ball as people like to think. High draft position != NFL talent. Or if you prefer, NFL talent != NFL success, necessarily. This is where Kubiak's failings in evaluating defensive personnel shows up.

The offensive side of the ball is where Kubiak's failings as a coach are glaring. There is no excuse for the offense to come out and play as crappy in the first half of games as they have this year.
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Old 11-05-2010   #13
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

Agreed with all the points being made. This is probably more obvious then anything but it seems, either are team does well as a unit or regresses to a point where everyone starts to suck. There were only a few times in the past where we were average at best on defense and still had bright spots on the team...and now there hitting an all time low as well.

The only way we can improve is by doing the following:

A.) Find a new role for Amobi Okoye or let someone else take his spot. He struggles to shed blockers and often times he's getting pushed back. Either find someone who can take on blockers to help him out or bench him and find someone who can play the position.

B.) For Mario Williams, a beast whose almost 300-Lbs, all I see him doing is making a wide arc whereby he is completely out of the picture and the quarterback has to merely step into the pocket and make his throws. Time for him to either bull rush opposing linemen or get the d-line to perform stunts and take advantage of his size.

C.) DeMeco Ryan's needs to go back to his Rookie weight, when he was playing he looked slow and wasn't the DeMeco I saw play back in 2006 and 2007.

D.) Condition better. In the first few games I saw, our defensive players were slow to get to the LOS and after the play was made they just jogged back to the huddle. Saw almost little to no hustling.

Just my thoughts...
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Old 11-05-2010   #14
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

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B.) For Mario Williams, a beast whose almost 300-Lbs, all I see him doing is making a wide arc whereby he is completely out of the picture and the quarterback has to merely step into the pocket and make his throws. Time for him to either bull rush opposing linemen or get the d-line to perform stunts and take advantage of his size.
Mario and Smith have done some inside stunts, and to good effect. They've both had some good plays from the inside stunts. I don't know why they don't do more of it, except that you can't do that 100% of the time. As for Mario making a wide arc, it's his job to rush that lane. Maybe he gets pushed outside a little too wide on some plays, but those OTs get paid too. The key part of your entire argument regarding this is what I bolded. QB step up into the pocket because there is abbsolutely ZERO pressure up the middle. So the DEs doing their job results in the edges being taken away. When's the last time you saw a QB scramble out to Mario's side? It doesn't happen. They step up into the nice, clean pocket allowed by our DTs, and then if the QB has to run, he runs between the G and T. If Mario had any help inside, he'd be a lot closer to what some of y'all are expecting, because the QB wouldn't be able to get away.

Honestly, I think Houston fan base is flawed with regard to Mario. We're so used to seeing DEs go by, around, and through our tackles that we expect every DE to do that to other tackles, and we're so used to not seeing a pocket to step up into that we are frustrated that other QBs seem to always have a clean pocket.

Houston had a good pass rush back in .....
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Last edited by eriadoc; 11-05-2010 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 11-05-2010   #15
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

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Mario and Smith have done some inside stunts, and to good effect. They've both had some good plays from the inside stunts. I don't know why they don't do more of it, except that you can't do that 100% of the time. As for Mario making a wide arc, it's his job to rush that lane. Maybe he gets pushed outside a little too wide on some plays, but those OTs get paid too. The key part of your entire argument regarding this is what I bolded. QB step up into the pocket because there is abbsolutely ZERO pressure up the middle. So the DEs doing their job results in the edges being taken away. When's the last time you saw a QB scramble out to Mario's side? It doesn't happen. They step up into the nice, clean pocket allowed by our DEs, and then if the QB has to run, he runs between the G and T. If Mario had any help inside, he'd be a lot closer to what some of y'all are expecting, because the QB wouldn't be able to get away.

Honestly, I think Houston fan base is flawed with regard to Mario. We're so used to seeing DEs go by, around, and through our tackles that we expect every DE to do that to other tackles, and we're so used to not seeing a pocket to step up into that we are frustrated that other QBs seem to always have a clean pocket.

Houston had a good pass rush back in .....

For the bolded (your part), the last time I saw that happen was with Jay Cutler when he was with the Broncos...Mario had three sacks that game.

Now that I think about it, you're right. The DTs seem to disappear which allows the QB the ability to step into the pocket and take off or throw the ball.
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Old 11-05-2010   #16
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

Mario going wide and the QB stepping up due to no pressure up the middle seems to happens on about 90% of passing plays.

I'm not sure why our coaching staff can't see it and do something about it.
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Old 11-05-2010   #17
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

Good discussion and I think that the lack of "push" from our DT's is a well documented issue.

But, going back to the jist of the OP, why is it that we see so much decline in players after a couple of years in our "system?"

Is it the coaching? Other factors?
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Old 11-05-2010   #18
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

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Good discussion and I think that the lack of "push" from our DT's is a well documented issue.

But, going back to the jist of the OP, why is it that we see so much decline in players after a couple of years in our "system?"

Is it the coaching? Other factors?
It all comes back to the HC. He chose the players, he chose the position coaches, he schemes for those players, and he's the one deciding who does what.
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Old 11-05-2010   #19
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

How much better would the whole D look if our DTs were actually getting adequate pressure on the QB? How 'bout if they just stood toe-to-toe with the OL instead of getting pushed back/out wide?

How many more sacks would our DEs have? How much better would the DBs look?

I have never been a fan of having relatively small DTs that try to use quickness. They are inside linemen. They need to fight for ground, not try to run around somebody from within a mass of huge bodies. There's no room to run around somebody in there and we don't need DTs chasing QBs anyway (as if they could); we need them commanding double teams or at the least holding their ground. We have one big guy like that (or did), and apparently he just sucks. We need to draft BIG DTs....with some amount of talent and fight in them please...

Let Okoye go play LB for some crappy 3-4 team.
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Old 11-05-2010   #20
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Default Re: Regression of Texan defensive players

Maybe easier and a shorter list, but who on this team has gotten better since joining the team?
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