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Old 04-24-2011   #1
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Default Kubiak has little room for error

Kubiak has little room for error
With not a lot of on-field success to show for five years of selections, the coach must get it right this week and then get it done
By JOHN McCLAIN
Copyright 2011 Houston Chronicle
April 23, 2011, 11:44PM


Quote:
With the NFL draft approaching, the Texans would do well to follow the blueprint of New Orleans and Green Bay — the last two Super Bowl winners.

The Saints were 7-9 and 8-8 when coach Sean Payton turned over his defense to Gregg Williams. They used their first three picks on defensive players, posted a 13-3 record and defeated Indianapolis in the Super Bowl.

The Packers were coming off a 6-10 season when coach Mike McCarthy turned over his defense to Dom Capers. They switched to a 3-4 and used the two No. 1 picks on nose tackle B.J. Raji and outside linebacker Clay Matthews III. They finished 11-5 in 2009 and 10-6 last season en route to a Super Bowl win over Pittsburgh.

The Texans, who have the 11th pick in the first round, are coming off a 6-10 season. Coach Gary Kubiak has turned over his defense to Wade Phillips. They are expected to use their first two or three picks on defensive players in the draft, which will be held Thursday through Saturday.

Success is critical in this draft - Kubiak's sixth with the Texans and general manager Rick Smith's fifth - because owner Bob McNair isn't expected to tolerate a sixth consecutive season without a playoff appearance.

Yet New Orleans and Green Bay offer reason for hope. It wasn't that long ago when the Texans, Saints and Packers dwelled in the NFL cellar together.

In 2005, the Texans' last season under Capers, the Texans were a league-worst 2-14. New Orleans, uprooted because of Hurricane Katrina, was 3-13. The Packers were 4-12.

"The year Sean (Payton) won the Super Bowl, his team got physical," said Mike Lombardi, who works for the NFL Network and NFL.com. "No longer did they have to throw on third-and-2 to convert on third down. Sean made a decision that he had to be more physical, more dominant to take over games.

"Green Bay realized they needed to become more physical on defense and create more turnovers, so credit them for figuring that out.

"Houston's still trying to figure out who they are and have an identity as opposed to just having a great offense."

Today's Texans started taking shape after the disastrous 2005 season.

In 2006 - Kubiak's first draft and general manager Charley Casserly's last - the Texans had what is now considered the best draft in the league. They selected three players - defensive end Mario Williams, middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and tight end Owen Daniels - who have made the Pro Bowl.

With the first two picks in the third round, the Texans got their starting offensive tackles - Charles Spencer and Eric Winston. Spencer won the starting job on the left side but suffered what turned out to be a career-ending injury.

Must get physical ... or bust

The Texans also got receiver David Anderson, who has been a significant contributor, in the seventh round.

"I think it was an outstanding draft - the nucleus of their team," Lombardi said. "They got impact players.

"Mario Williams is a really good player, and he impacts their team at a position that's hard to find. DeMeco Ryans is a tackling machine."

Lombardi was the general manager at Cleveland and Oakland and worked in the personnel departments at San Francisco, Philadelphia and Denver. He has been critical of the Texans because he believes they lack toughness, one reason they lost so many close games last season.

"They've got to get more physical on their offensive and defensive lines and be able to wear people down," Lombardi said. "To be a playoff team, you have to be able to win against any style."

Gil Brandt, who was the Dallas Cowboys' personnel director for 30 years, works for NFL.com and SiriusXM radio. He visits the Texans during every training camp.

"I get a false impression of their team," Brandt said. "I always think they're better than they are. The reason I think that way is because everything is done so well, so first-class. I think they draft well, and I think they practice well."

Numbers tell a different tale

Brandt produces some numbers to back his point about drafting.

In the last five drafts, 1,269 players have been selected, and 328 have become starters. That's 26 percent. Thirty-four percent of the Texans' 38 picks have become starters.

The Texans have 18 reserves (from the 53-man roster), or 47 percent of their draft picks. The league average is 32 percent.

Leaguewide, 33 percent are out of football. Only 21 percent of the Texans' picks are out of football.

"If you go by these numbers, they've done well drafting," Brandt said. "They're above average in every category."

On the coaching staff, however, a lack of continuity has contributed to the team's losing ways.

Rick Dennison is the fourth offensive coordinator since 2006, but the offense didn't miss a beat because it is Kubiak's system.

The defense, tied for 13th in Frank Bush's first season as coordinator in 2009, plunged to 30th last season, including last against the pass. Bush was replaced by Phillips.

Bill Kollar, Kubiak's third defensive line coach, returns. Vance Joseph is his third secondary coach, and Reggie Herring is his second linebackers coach.

As for the roster, Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson is the only holdover from the previous regime.

Since Smith joined Kubiak in June 2006, the Texans have drafted seven starters, but only two - left tackle Duane Brown and right guard Antoine Caldwell - started on offense last season.

Smith signed undrafted free agent Arian Foster, who led the NFL in rushing. Smith also traded for quarterback Matt Schaub and center Chris Myers.

Hiring of Phillips critical

Starters drafted by Smith on defense were defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, outside linebacker Brian Cushing, outside linebacker Zac Diles and cornerbacks Glover Quin and Kareem Jackson.

"They're very explosive on offense," Lombardi said. "They score a lot of points. It's going to be interesting to see how Wade puts that defense together. There's not a lot of talent on that defense, so he's got to get an impact player in the first round."

Lombardi and Brandt are like most NFL people who believe hiring Phillips will be the best move the Texans make in the offseason.

"All you have to do is look at every place Wade's been as a coordinator, and the team's improved," Brandt said. "Wade's a very, very good defensive coordinator. It's a very positive move they made."

Seven of the Texans' last eight No. 1 picks were defensive players, and yet they were one of the three worst defensive teams and the worst against the pass.

The Texans again are expected to use their first-round pick on a defensive player. They need an outside linebacker who can rush the passer or a cornerback who can play right away opposite Jackson.

Wanted: disruptive pass rusher

Whomever is selected No. 1 is expected to start. Smith's four first-round picks - Okoye, Brown, Cushing and Jackson - have started immediately.

"When you've drafted that many (defensive) players, and you've had that much change on your staff, you're dependent on who you hire and not the program you've established," Lombardi said.

If the Texans don't trade up to get Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller or LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, they could take Missouri outside linebacker Aldon Smith over Nebraska corner Prince Amukamara.

"Mario is a really good player, but he's not a disruptive pass rusher," Lombardi said. "They need that pressure player who can force the ball out early so he doesn't have to blitz. If Wade's forced to have to generate pressure by attacking and blitzing, that'll expose the weaknesses of the secondary.

"He's got to find a guy to come off the edge. Whether he can win defensively is going to come down to that. Unless they get that, it's going to be very difficult."

McNair obviously thought the Texans' problem last season was a defense that blew five games. That's why Bush was fired and Phillips was hired.

Now Phillips is under pressure to do for the Texans what Williams and Capers did for the Saints and Packers.
What Brandt's "numbers" seem to tell us is what most of us know...........the Texans have been terrible DEVELOPING players to their full potential..................and it has not been mostly "incontinuity of the coaching staff." It's been some overall inappropriate and/or poor coaching staff choices in just a sprinkling of good.
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Old 04-24-2011   #2
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

This deserves its own thread.

I find it interesting that Captain Obvious puts this draft on Kubiak's head. I agree with McClain that Kubiak is the lead man in the organization, and the decisions made are on him. But, I think this is ultimately Wade Phillips draft (at least for the initial 3 or 4 rounds). And it should be. Kubiak and Smith have proven to be clueless in regards to NFL defenses. Wade has made a career of building NFL defenses. If there is any hope for this season, it's that Smithiak stays the hell out of Phillips' way until he's done.

Quote:
If the Texans don't trade up to get Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller or LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, they could take Missouri outside linebacker Aldon Smith over Nebraska corner Prince Amukamara.

"Mario is a really good player, but he's not a disruptive pass rusher," Lombardi said. "They need that pressure player who can force the ball out early so he doesn't have to blitz. If Wade's forced to have to generate pressure by attacking and blitzing, that'll expose the weaknesses of the secondary.

"He's got to find a guy to come off the edge. Whether he can win defensively is going to come down to that. Unless they get that, it's going to be very difficult."
I agree and disagree with Lombardi. Yes, the Texans need an edge rusher. Maybe two, if Barwin isn't back at full speed. But I disagree that attacking and blitzing makes the secondary more vulnerable. Pressure forces the ball out of the QBs hands more quickly. The quicker the ball comes out, the less time the porous secondary needs to cover their man.

I think that was a flaw in Frank Bush's play calling. He backed off pressure to give help to the secondary. It didn't work. Of course, the other problem was that Bush's blitz designs were easily picked up but the opposition. Phillips' schemes should solve that problem as well.

I'm trying to stay positive regarding the Texans defense. Switching to the 3-4 has created additional personnel issues. Or has it? The Texans have needed an edge rusher for years. They've needed a run stuffing DT since Seth Payne's injury. And the secondary needed upgrades regardless of the scheme. As long as Smithiak lets Wade make the calls on draft day(s), these holes have a chance to be at least partially filled through this draft.
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Old 04-24-2011   #3
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

This just in the Texans need a good pass rusher.
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Old 04-24-2011   #4
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

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Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
This deserves its own thread.

I find it interesting that Captain Obvious puts this draft on Kubiak's head. I agree with McClain that Kubiak is the lead man in the organization, and the decisions made are on him. But, I think this is ultimately Wade Phillips draft (at least for the initial 3 or 4 rounds). And it should be. Kubiak and Smith have proven to be clueless in regards to NFL defenses. Wade has made a career of building NFL defenses. If there is any hope for this season, it's that Smithiak stays the hell out of Phillips' way until he's done.

I agree and disagree with Lombardi. Yes, the Texans need an edge rusher. Maybe two, if Barwin isn't back at full speed. But I disagree that attacking and blitzing makes the secondary more vulnerable. Pressure forces the ball out of the QBs hands more quickly. The quicker the ball comes out, the less time the porous secondary needs to cover their man.

I think that was a flaw in Frank Bush's play calling. He backed off pressure to give help to the secondary. It didn't work. Of course, the other problem was that Bush's blitz designs were easily picked up but the opposition. Phillips' schemes should solve that problem as well.

I'm trying to stay positive regarding the Texans defense. Switching to the 3-4 has created additional personnel issues. Or has it? The Texans have needed an edge rusher for years. They've needed a run stuffing DT since Seth Payne's injury. And the secondary needed upgrades regardless of the scheme. As long as Smithiak lets Wade make the calls on draft day(s), these holes have a chance to be at least partially filled through this draft.
It's always helpful if you don't have to blitz to create pressure. That's just McCain being Captain Obvious, as you said. I agree 100% on letting Wade have his way during the draft. Just shut up and call the name Wade says to call.
It's kind of ironic that a guy who probably wants to be a HC again has to make the right calls so the current HC can keep his job.Food for thought.
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Old 04-24-2011   #5
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

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It's always helpful if you don't have to blitz to create pressure. That's just McCain being Captain Obvious, as you said. I agree 100% on letting Wade have his way during the draft. Just shut up and call the name Wade says to call.
It's kind of ironic that a guy who probably wants to be a HC again has to make the right calls so the current HC can keep his job.Food for thought.
1st couple of picks will be all wade, then smith will start taking over.
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Old 04-24-2011   #6
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

If Wade condescends to McNair base on his statements that we already have the main parts we can use, this will preclude Wade from trying to go after certain types (eg., big NT or at least Hercules strong smaller NT) and calibers of players. My greatest fear.
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Old 04-24-2011   #7
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

so its super bowl or bust yikes
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Old 04-24-2011   #8
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

what happened in Dallas? did Jones make the calls & reduced Wade to coaching up existing defensive players on roster to fit his scheme?
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Old 04-24-2011   #9
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

too many holes for one draft to fill, free agency will make or break or break this team. no way you can draft to fill so many holes on defense
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Old 04-24-2011   #10
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

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Originally Posted by beerlover View Post
what happened in Dallas? did Jones make the calls & reduced Wade to coaching up existing defensive players on roster to fit his scheme?
I wouldn't be surprised at all to learn that Jones made ALL the calls on draft day and 1/3 of the calls on gameday. That man has an ego that's out of this world.
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Old 04-24-2011   #11
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

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I wouldn't be surprised at all to learn that Jones made ALL the calls on draft day and 1/3 of the calls on gameday. That man has an ego that's out of this world.
Jones is quite the opposite of McNair, so Wade should have more authority to be decision maker in Houston, foreboding good things defensively in this years draft for Texans &
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Old 04-24-2011   #12
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

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Originally Posted by beerlover View Post
what happened in Dallas? did Jones make the calls & reduced Wade to coaching up existing defensive players on roster to fit his scheme?
Jerry has clear final say in the draft. You will see his thumbprint really early in the draft normally because they often go for the flash, but have little in the way of an overall year to year philosophy. One of the killers for Wade was in 2009, the Cowboys thought that they were good and so Jerry traded down early and often, and picking guys who were either special teamers (Beuhler) or back-ups (McGee). They got no significant on the field help from that draft.

http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/ful...1200&type=team

3 69 Jason Williams LB Western Illinois
3 75 Robert Brewster T Ball State
4 101 Stephen McGee QB Texas A&M
4 110 Victor Butler DE Oregon State
4 120 Brandon Williams DE Texas Tech
5 143 DeAngelo Smith DB Cincinnati
5 166 Mike Hamlin DB Clemson
5 172 David Buehler K USC
6 197 Stephen Hodge LB Texas Christian
6 208 John Phillips TE Virginia
7 227 Mike Mickens CB Cincinnati
7 229 Manuel Johnson WR Oklahoma


http://www.dallascowboys.com/team/team_roster.cfm
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Old 04-24-2011   #13
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

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Originally Posted by beerlover View Post
Jones is quite the opposite of McNair, so Wade should have more authority to be decision maker in Houston, foreboding good things defensively in this years draft for Texans &
Amen, brother.
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Old 04-24-2011   #14
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

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1st couple of picks will be all wade, then smith will start taking over.
I actually really hope this is how it goes down.
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Old 04-25-2011   #15
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

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...owner Bob McNair isn't expected to tolerate a sixth consecutive season without a playoff appearance.
Whatever. He wasn't expected to tolerate a fifth consecutive season without a playoff appearance, either. At this point, I expect nothing from McNair other than a great gameday experience.

In Wade we trust...or bust.
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Old 04-25-2011   #16
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

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Whatever. He wasn't expected to tolerate a fifth consecutive season without a playoff appearance, either. At this point, I expect nothing from McNair other than a great gameday experience.

In Wade we trust...or bust.
Good, bad or ugly, ya gotta piss with the **** ya got. Wade IS that ****.
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Old 04-25-2011   #17
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

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Originally Posted by ArlingtonTexan View Post
Jerry has clear final say in the draft. You will see his thumbprint really early in the draft normally because they often go for the flash, but have little in the way of an overall year to year philosophy. One of the killers for Wade was in 2009, the Cowboys thought that they were good and so Jerry traded down early and often, and picking guys who were either special teamers (Beuhler) or back-ups (McGee). They got no significant on the field help from that draft.

http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/ful...1200&type=team

3 69 Jason Williams LB Western Illinois
3 75 Robert Brewster T Ball State
4 101 Stephen McGee QB Texas A&M
4 110 Victor Butler DE Oregon State
4 120 Brandon Williams DE Texas Tech
5 143 DeAngelo Smith DB Cincinnati
5 166 Mike Hamlin DB Clemson
5 172 David Buehler K USC
6 197 Stephen Hodge LB Texas Christian
6 208 John Phillips TE Virginia
7 227 Mike Mickens CB Cincinnati
7 229 Manuel Johnson WR Oklahoma


http://www.dallascowboys.com/team/team_roster.cfm


Wow. That is a terrible draft. Taking McGee in the 4th is almost as bad as the Texans taking Ragone in the 3rd round
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Old 04-25-2011   #18
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

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Wow. That is a terrible draft. Taking McGee in the 4th is almost as bad as the Texans taking Ragone in the 3rd round
And as bad or worse than taking Hollings....
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Old 04-25-2011   #19
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Cool Re: Kubiak has little room for error

Does percentage of your players as starters count if some would not start on most of the other teams?
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Old 04-25-2011   #20
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Default Re: Kubiak has little room for error

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Good, bad or ugly, ya gotta piss with the **** ya got. Wade IS that ****.
yep. Call me crazy, but I'm actually cautiously optimistic about our chances with Wade as our DC.
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