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Old 04-26-2005   #1
Grid
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Default The State of the Texans

Im at school.. i have an hour to blow.. so im gonna write a long drawn out opinion on how our offseason went and where we are headed


So, its been a hectic offseason, and alot of "fans" are confused, heartbroken, or just plain angry that things didnt go how they wanted them too. But lets try and rise above what we think is best for the team, and try to invision just where we are going, and what we have done.

The majority of our changes happened on our defense, so lets look at that first.

Our defense ranked 23rd out of 32 last season.

In 3rd down completions by the opposing team, we were ranked 29th (we didnt stop em on 3rd down). In defensive penalties, we ranked 30th. In penalty yards, we ranked 26th. We allowed an average of 4.4 rushing yards per attempt, but we led the league allowing only 4 rushing TDs! Unfortunatly, that is because we also allowed 32 passing TDs (only GB allowed more with 33).

Teams didnt need to rush on us because they could easily pass on us. We DID come into our own a bit at the end of the season against the Jags and Bears.. but neither one of them have offenses worth bragging about, so honestly that is not a good indicator of our skill level.

The simple fact of the matter is that our Defense sucked. I see people complaining about our release of Glenn, Sharper, and Foreman, but you have to look at WHY they were released.

Look at our Defense last season.. in 2002 our defense rocked, and in 2003 our defense spent most of the season injured so it wasnt possible to tell if they were good or not.. in 2004 though.. last season.. we had MANY of the returning players from 2002, uninjured and ready to play. We even had Babin and Robinson, two awesome rookies, to help us out. Matt Stevens had been replaced by Marcus Coleman.. a huge upgrade. But what happened? Our defense stunk it up. Here we are paying loads of cash for this defense that was one of the better ones in the league in 2002, and now in 2004 they were old.. slow.. anemic.. incapable of doing their job. Is it any big surprise that we decided we needed to make IMMEDIATE changes? There was really NO excuse for our defensive performance last year. Even with Babin and Robinson learning their positions, we SHOULD have been as good or better than we were in 2002, and if we HAD been.. with our offense we would have done alot better than 7-9.

But now, our pass rush still sucked, our secondary was sucking.. we had too many penalties, gave up too many first downs, and just did NOT threaten the opposing teams.

I have no doubt in my mind that Walker, Payne, Wong, and Coleman will all be replaced within the next couple of seasons. It is necessary. They are getting old.. they are not playing with heart.. they are not doing their jobs. Now, I hope that this next season.. with the cuts we made.. they will come back and be ready to play their heart out.. but if they dont, they will be gone just like Glenn, Sharper, and Foreman.

We, as fans, have to remember that these old vets that we started with, they are not TEXANS. They were drafted and played the bulk of their careers with other teams. They do not feel great loyalty towards our franchise because, well, they have not had time to become loyal to us. Our rookies.. Carr, Johnson, Davis, Robinson, Babin, Earl, etc..etc.. these are the players who are going to be loyal to us and bust their butts for us. The Texans are their home, we brought them into the league and we gave them their first big paycheck.. we are what they know and they want to bring this team to the superbowl.

Im not saying that our vets have no feelings towards the Texans, just that they were taken in the expansion draft, not really having any choice in the matter. They do not dislike the Texans or our fans.. but if you asked Aaron Glenn in 20 years who he played for in the NFL.. who is going to come to mind? The Texans? or the Jets?

Anyway, getting back to the point, our defense struggled in 2004, badly, and we needed upgrades. Sharper and Foreman did not play as well as they were getting paid. They are good players, but they are not playmakers and that makes them expendable. There are plenty of good players in this league.. we do not need to be paying 6 million a season for them. On top of that.. we lacked speed at LB, and considering the way that TEs and slot receivers ate us up and made 1st downs on us, that is something we HAD to fix. Wong and Greenwood at ILB are JUST AS GOOD as Foreman and Sharper. All Sharper has really done for us every year is make a lot of tackles (the only exception I can think of last year was his sack, forced fumble and Touchdown against the raiders).. and Greenwood did the same thing in Miami, he had lots of tackles there. He (greenwood) is being brought into a system that is specifically catered to the type of player he is.. and if anything that is going to make him a BETTER player than Sharper for us. Wong is, obviously, an upgrade over Foreman.. i dont need to get into that.

The icing on the cake is that Babin is coming into his second season, and Peek will be starting. He (babin) had a very solid rookie season, and with an offseason to look at gametape and work on the fundamentals will turn some of the QB rushes last year into QB sacks this year. And Peek.. he is an immediate upgrade to our pass rush and our speed, the only question is his ability to be a total package.. will his weaknesses hurt us? All I have to say to that is, are his weaknesses worse than the weaknesses we had last year? The answer is no.. his ability to pressure the QB and produce sacks will not only help to vastly improve our secondary, it will also make up for many of his shortcomings.. whatever they may be. I cannot imagine that having him at OLB could lead to worse results than last year. The ability of teams to get a first down on us from seemingly any distance was sickening.

Moving into the secondary, The loss of Glenn WILL hurt some. I am basing that on the understanding that Buchanan, while athletic and a playmaker, is also very raw and weak in man coverage. Buchanan will produce more turnovers than Glenn IMO.. but will also allow more big plays. Here is the thing though.. Glenn allowed quite a few big plays last year himself.. at least one a game it seemed at times.. on top of that, he didnt make alot of interceptions, and our Defense seemed to be focused on making turnovers. If anything, Buchanan is gonna play to the strengths of our defense with his ability to create interceptions and run them to the house as well. I think he will give up some plays, but with Coleman watching his back, and Robinson putting up another great season (*fingers crossed*) Buchanans impact will be a bigger boon than bust. That is what the Glenn/Buchanan tradeoff basicly boils down to. We lose the veteran abilities of Glenn, and exchanged them for a more raw, but more exciting/playmaking Buchanan. Is it an even tradeoff? we will see.. but with our improved pass rush and Coleman back at FS.. I think we will be better than last season, even without Glenn.

THis is getting very long so let me talk offense real quick.

The biggest complaint on Offense is our Oline. But lets just take a minute to look at this logically. YOU DONT THROW TOGETHER EFFECTIVE OLINES IN THE NFL!11!!one!1!!eleven!1!1!! Olines arent like WRs or LBs, you cant just go grab a good Olineman, throw him in as a starter and expect a big improvement. Olines need time to mesh, and that is what we are giving them. We HAVE talent on the Oline. Wade and Wiegert are both very talented veterans who will be coming into their second year of zone blocking, they will be more comfortable not only with the scheme, but with the other guys on the line. Pitts and Wand are both VERY TALENTED PROSPECTS.. people are ready to burn Wand in effigy after last season, why? Why in the world would you want to bench a young, talented player because he struggled his first season? He did not show any crippling weaknesses.. he just showed that he was still raw and needed time to develop. DId we start him too early? yes.. even the coaches admitted that.. but in doing so we also jumpstarted his development and we can expect MORE out of him next season. Pitts.. im not even gonna go there.. Pitts is very solid and very talented, and if you question his skills to start, you just dont know what you are talking about.

Our Oline last year was not only thrown together, it was also learning a completely new system.. they will be more experienced and therefore more effective this season. On top of that, we are finding other ways to make sure Carr is protected. The most prevalent is that we will be instituting more timing routes into our offense.. getting the ball out of Carrs hands quicker, and lessening the pressure on our oline to provide pass protection for 7-8 seconds.

I can pretty much garuantee you that the coaches are not going to let Carr get manhandled again. They see the same things you do.. the happy feet.. the distrust of the pocket.. they know as well as you do that they cant let Carr lead the league in sacks again.. and they arent going to let it happen. This is one of those things were you have to trust the coaches, cause we ARE doing the right thing in letting our Oline develop.. there is just no faster way to get Carr the protection he needs.

And quickly... the rest of the offense. Our WRs are great.. we have the same guys as last year, plus the inclusion of Jerome Mathis. Mathis sounds like he could definatly be our #2 and a huge deep threat, I look forward to seeing him play. We got an RB that could possibly be as talented as DD.. and if the zone blocking works as well as it was at the end of last season, I imagine he will be. Just like Denver, we will be able to make a 1000 yard rusher out of anyone. This does not provide us the ability to pound the ball.. but it does address the most important issue.. the durability of DD. Now we have someone else behind him who may be an impact RB as well. TE Joppru may finally be getting to start.. everyone cross your fingers and hope he was worth the wait.


OK IM DONE! thanks for reading lol.
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Old 04-26-2005   #2
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DING DING DING !!! Rack Him!!!

That's almost exactly how I see things... Great Post!
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Old 04-26-2005   #3
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Well done!!!

The players to watch closely IMO are Joppru, Peek, Greenwood, Buchanon, Wand, and whoever is the #2 receiver atm.
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Old 04-26-2005   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelm
That's almost exactly how I see things... Great Post!
I second that! Glad you were able to read my mind and write out everything I've been thinking Grid! I am waaaay more excited about this coming year with all of the work we've done than I was at the end of last season.

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Old 04-26-2005   #5
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Htown34s,

you gonna be dissapointed or excited if Morency stays with #34? The Texans Roster Lists him with it now...
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Old 04-26-2005   #6
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Good number in this town.
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Old 04-26-2005   #7
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Im gonna be excited, personally. Being a bit of a youngster.. I acknowledge Earl Campbell as both one of the greatest RBs of all time, and one of the greatest houston athletes of all time.. but I dont have as many personal memories or feelings about his legacy. Basicly.. i acknowledge it and appreciate what he brought to our city, but I have no qualms about another #34 for the Texans. This is a new franchise and I look forward to seeing someone retiring #34 for us all over again
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Old 04-26-2005   #8
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Yes, it has to be decided by his play. I would never want people to deem someone worthy of #34 or not.

But having said that, Earl, Hakeem, and Ryan aren't even just regular Hall of Famers. They were something special even in a group of special players.

Sooner or later, it will happen again though, and it will be fun to watch!
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Old 04-26-2005   #9
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I just hope he understands the importance of the number to this town. That beign said, I like the confidence it shows on his part.
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Old 04-26-2005   #10
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Very good analysis grid.

Everyone Remember we are building through the draft not building off thespare parts we got in the expansion draft. Good things are coming! We finally are getting young talent at key positions. The Big Barometer will be Joppru in my opinion. If we have to resort to shuffling TE again our line will again look porus and unable to pass block. if the defense knows we are passing by the TE we have, they are going to bring everyone upfront. If we can show them a consistent personnel group with different looks. We have the ability to be a top 10 offense this year.

I will close in saying "in Joppru we trust!"
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Old 04-26-2005   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outofhnd
The Big Barometer will be Joppru in my opinion. If we have to resort to shuffling TE again our line will again look porus and unable to pass block.
Kudos to Grid--I'm MOSTLY on board with what you said, and I like the point about not measuring the D's improvement against standards like the woeful Bears offense. But I also think the Joppru point is great, and I touched on that TE topic over in the draft forum a couple of days ago. We do wonders for Carr's health and confidence by finding a legit TE. C'mon, Bennie...get out there and do what we all thought you could do!
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Old 04-26-2005   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoth-Boy
I just hope he understands the importance of the number to this town. That beign said, I like the confidence it shows on his part.

He may not even be aware of the significance of the #34 in Houston... He may just like the number or have some previous link to it.
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Old 04-26-2005   #13
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can we get texan colored bracelet and have the WWJD stand for "what would Joppru do?" :woot
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Old 04-26-2005   #14
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I think it is very telling that we didn't draft a TE. To me, that says the coaches have a great deal of confidence that BJ will be back and in good shape.
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Old 04-26-2005   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outofhnd
WWJD "what would Joppru do?" :woot
You mean, What Will Joppru Do?
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Old 04-26-2005   #16
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wonderful topic.

Like you said Change is not always bad.

In a lot of ways our Defense couldn't possibly be worse than it was last year.
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Old 04-26-2005   #17
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State of the Texans: 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

I'm curious to see our predictions now.
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Old 04-26-2005   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caddy
Earl was a Houston Oiler.. not a Houston Texan.. gee
weren't they blue & white. What a bunch of hooie...
I still see Campbell's Jerseys all over town...not one looks
like a Texan Jersey. Hello... I guess anyone who wears a
cowboy hat means his name is Bum. Stop with this dumb,
34 talk...
The significance of the #34 in Houston is that coincidentally all of the greatest sports figures in the city's history have worn the number.

#34 Earl Campbell
#34 Hakeem Olajuwan
#34 Nolan Ryan

these great atheletes belong to the city of houston as much as, or more than they do to the franchise they played for. If you are a native houstonian with any knowlege of or experience with the three major sports, #34 is a special and memorable number.

geez, you should look before you leap into a topic you know nothing about...
you aint from around here are ya?
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Old 04-26-2005   #19
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Great post Grid!!!!

You really slammed it home with the "old player loyalty to the franchise bit". You are absolutely correct with that observation. It's kinda like they were/are all playing here on borrowed time. Next step for them all will be retirement, reduced playing time, redeployment to another team, and/or restructured contracts.

It's the speedy young 'uns that we should be focusing our coaching, money, and laudits on. They ARE the Houston Texans, now and in the near future. Everyone's plan has been for that "near future" to include playoffs. The scouts and coaches are betting their jobs on it, so they must be comfortable in their decisions.

You know, your post has reminded me of Capers' comments after the last game of 2004. He said he and the coaches will take some time off, then come back and study film of the players and the games. Obviously they saw some things that encouraged them to make some changes, pronto.
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Old 04-27-2005   #20
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Quote:
I can pretty much garuantee you that the coaches are not going to let Carr get manhandled again.
And just how, praytell, are they going to do that? Sure, we all HOPE that the O-Line, having had another year to 'jell' in the Zone-blocking system will improve, but that's an awfully iffy proposition. We wouldn't have tried so hard for O. Pace, if there wasn't a HUGE upside in that equation. Rookies can't ever be effective and start? Tell that one to Jordan Gross. Just having 'another year' doesn't guarantee success. It certainly can't hurt, but I'm doubtful that Carr will suddenly find himself with plenty of time to decide which receiver he'd like to pass to this season.

Our Offense improved statistically speaking, but were there really that many teams that considered the Texans "O" a huge threat? Go back and look at our scoring average and tell me that we were "lighting it up" last year.

Our Defense appeared to get demoralized early in the season with the DD cough-ups. The Texans offense simply wasn't good enough to overcome mistakes like that in the red zone. Age certainly plays a factor on Defense when they're asked to keep getting back on the field with little rest, after an inept attempt by the Offense to keep the opposing "D" on the field longer than three plays.

There have been numerous posts to suggest that it was "all coming together" at the end of last season. I've got one word for you..."Cleveland"!! The Texans did anything BUT finish on a high note last year and every fan in the stands knew it. Offseason seems to make people forget about the Team that had "we give up" written all over their faces at many points last season.

Just remember that heading into last year, most everyone (myself included) was "hyped" about the additions / changes to the O-Line and blocking scheme. Most expected DD to have a 'good' if not great season. Our "D" was finally recovered from the injury-riddled campaign that was the 2003 football season, and most expected it to return to its 2002 form.

The results on the field last season didn't live up to the hype or hopes of most fans. Keep this in mind when considering all the "changes" that have happened to the Texans lately. We had what we hoped were positive changes on both sides of the ball last year too, and look how disappointing that turned out! Simply put, last year's team wouldn't have finished 7-9 against the schedule of 2003...they weren't good enough.

The Loss of two "Leaders" on Defense (and yes, IMHO Sharper WAS a leader), especially when bringing in 'character issue' guys, makes you wonder. (and no, I'm NOT including any acquittal / charges dropped stuff in there ) - TJ & PB (on Defense) and VM & JM (0n Offense) had "other issues as well. I'm not saying they can't be overcome, but it would've been nice to have the "old hands" around a little longer to mentor these guys.

I'm not planning to give up my season tickets in shame, nor am I particularly 'angry' with the Texans for any recent events. In my opinion, they've done a good job recently of preparing the team financially (and physically) for the future. Unfortunately, I'm not real sure that the 2005 season is that particular future. The recent changes, in fact, have the potential to disrupt Defensive continuity to such an extent that we may actually backtrack this year. Like last year's decision to change blocking schemes, these changes have the POTENTIAL to improve the club, but may cause us real headaches in the short term.

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