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Old 12-15-2011   #1
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Default ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at being AFC Champs

Why Texans are AFC title contenders

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At some level, the 2011 Houston Texans look like one of those teams that make great fodder for the annual video team yearbooks. They overcame adversity in the form of injuries to Mario Williams, Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub. Then their backup quarterback, Matt Leinart, went down with a collarbone injury. Still, the Texans pulled themselves together after a 3-3 start and won the first division title in team history.

Asking for much more than that out of a team that is playing a third-string rookie quarterback in T.J. Yates might seem to be a bit much, but after doing a detailed game tape and metric review, it's clear that Houston still looks to be more than capable of making a strong run at an AFC title.

The most obvious reason is Houston's rushing attack, which ranks second in the league with 151.9 yards per game.

The volume is impressive, but what is even more notable is how well the Texans' running backs fare in the good blocking yards per attempt (GBYPA) metric.

GBYPA measures how productive a ballcarrier is on rushing plays where he is given good blocking (which is loosely defined as when the blockers do not allow the defense to do anything to disrupt a rush attempt).


This is a very important metric because, in the many studies I have done on the running game over the years, ballcarriers tend to average 1-2 yards on rushing plays with poor blocking (meaning the defense was able to do something to disrupt the rush attempt). That means gaining yards on good blocking plays is imperative to posting top-line rushing totals.

So far this season, Arian Foster has tallied a 6.8-yard mark in the GBYPA metric. That number is good (the league average is usually around 6.5), but it's actually lower than his 7.4-yard total for this statistic in 2010.

That drop-off should have lowered the Texans' rush yards total, but it hasn't because of how well Ben Tate has performed.

Tate has served both as a fill-in starter for Foster and as an alternate when Foster's workload starts to get too high. Tate has excelled at both in large part because of a ridiculously high 9.6 GBYPA (few backs ever top the 9-yard mark in this metric at season's end). Tate's number is so good that a strong argument can be made that Foster and Tate form the best running back tandem in the NFL.
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As good as they are at running the ball, the Texans are nearly equally adept at stopping the run. They have allowed good blocking only 40.5 percent of the time. To put that total into perspective, consider that the league-leading percentage in good blocking allowed in 2010 was 45.3 percent, so Houston is nearly five points ahead of elite production in this metric.

And that may not even be the strong suit of this defense. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who is currently on a medical leave of absence, has made his reputation over the years by building a strong pass rush. In his 34 seasons as an NFL head coach/defensive coordinator/defensive line coach, his teams have ended the season in the top 10 in sacks 23 times.

This season is looking to be no different from that perspective, as the Texans are tied for sixth in sacks with 36.

Houston's pass coverage doesn't exactly take a back seat to the run D or pass rush, either. Its 6.0 YPA allowed total ranks second-lowest in the league.

The strongest link in the Texans' pass coverage is Johnathan Joseph. He was usually perceived as the weaker link in the Cincinnati Bengals' secondary, but as noted in a July Insider article about NFL free agency, during the past two years Joseph had coverage numbers that were actually better than Nnamdi Asomugha's. Joseph's 6.1 YPA this season is even better than his composite YPA during the past two years, and thus it could be said that he was the best free-agent acquisition this past offseason.

Houston also is getting solid coverage from cornerback Jason Allen (7.2 YPA) and superb coverage from safety Glover Quin (4.0 YPA).
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As notable as all of these players are, they are nearly irrelevant if not for the performance of Yates.

The expectations for a third-string rookie quarterback who was drafted in the fifth round are quite low, but Yates has greatly exceeded those expectations.

He has shown the poise of a veteran by making zero bad decisions in 84 pass attempts, and his reads have been superb. Yates has had a few miscommunications with receivers, but those sorts of thing should get cleared up with more practice time together. (Note: A bad decision is defined as when a quarterback makes a mental mistake that leads either to a turnover or a near turnover, such as a dropped interception or fumble that is recovered by the offense.)

Yates and this offense will also have a lot greater upside if/when Johnson is able to return and stay in the lineup after his recurring hamstring injury heals.

Getting Johnson back would go a long ways toward eliminating one of the few weaknesses on this Texans team. If that is combined with a first-round bye -- something that could be achieved given Houston's favorable schedule -- and a favorable divisional playoff matchup, it could very easily put the Texans into the AFC Championship Game and only one step away from a date in Super Bowl XLVI.
:gotexans:

Last edited by ObsiWan; 12-15-2011 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 12-15-2011   #2
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at APC Champs

Click on edit, then "go advance" then change the title of your thread to read "AFC"
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Old 12-15-2011   #3
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at APC Champs

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Originally Posted by ObsiWan View Post
Why Texans are AFC title contenders

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:gotexans:
Some of those numbers are just sick.

Wade.... f'kn guru
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Old 12-15-2011   #4
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at APC Champs

You should also get rid if the extra http in your link.

Thanks for access to the article, though. Good info.
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Old 12-15-2011   #5
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at APC Champs

I think it would be great for our defense to roll out in an armored personnel carrier at the start of all home games!

TJ
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Old 12-15-2011   #6
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at APC Champs

APC! APC! APC!
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Old 12-15-2011   #7
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at APC Champs

APC Chumps! APC Chumps!
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Old 12-15-2011   #8
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at APC Champs

i agree with everything except the whole "tj has made zero bad decision in 82 attempts" thing. Surely, they cant mean that. He's more than made up for it through game winning drives, but he definitely needs to fix a lot of things - which of course is all about the process.
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Old 12-15-2011   #9
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at APC Champs

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Originally Posted by thunderkyss View Post
Click on edit, then "go advance" then change the title of your thread to read "AFC"
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Originally Posted by HJam72 View Post
You should also get rid if the extra http in your link.

Thanks for access to the article, though. Good info.
done & done.
nice catches...
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Old 12-15-2011   #10
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at AFC Champs

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Houston also is getting solid coverage from cornerback Jason Allen (7.2 YPA) and superb coverage from safety Glover Quin (4.0 YPA).
Well, Joyner obviously has not seen 76's 1,872 screen shots of why Kareem Jackson is the better CB2 here.

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Old 12-15-2011   #11
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at AFC Champs

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Well, Joyner obviously has not seen 76's 1,872 screen shots of why Kareem Jackson is the better CB2 here.

Now cut that out!
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Old 12-15-2011   #12
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at AFC Champs

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i agree with everything except the whole "tj has made zero bad decision in 82 attempts" thing. Surely, they cant mean that.
That floater in Cincy wasn't a good idea. And TJ was bailed out by Dunta on a real bad decision. Still, Schaub is usually good for one bad decision a game, himself. Even Brady makes bad decisions on occasion. TJ is doing just fine.
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Old 12-15-2011   #13
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at AFC Champs

Just keep winning baby just keep winning and don't worry about the doubters!!!!
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Old 12-15-2011   #14
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at AFC Champs

If rookie Sanchez could almost pull it off why not Yates? Going to be a fun ride regardless.
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Old 12-15-2011   #15
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at AFC Champs

I absolutely hate the football sabermetrics that Joyner applies to his work. I know this is a positive spin on the Texans, but I don't buy the reasoning for the article. I think the Texans are AFC champ material, but not because of how well we perform in the GBYpC metric. It has much more to do with just how good our running game is and how hard our D gets after it.
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Old 12-16-2011   #16
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at AFC Champs

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I absolutely hate the football sabermetrics that Joyner applies to his work. I know this is a positive spin on the Texans, but I don't buy the reasoning for the article. I think the Texans are AFC champ material, but not because of how well we perform in the GBYpC metric. It has much more to do with just how good our running game isand how hard our D gets after it.
Ok, so that's kind of saying the same thing


APC Champs!
American Panty Conference?


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Old 12-16-2011   #17
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at AFC Champs

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Originally Posted by TEXANS4MARIO View Post
Ok, so that's kind of saying the same thing


APC Champs!
American Panty Conference?


I'd tangle with that bull...
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Old 12-16-2011   #18
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at AFC Champs

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Ok, so that's kind of saying the same thing



You don't need to come up with a new metric to prove your point. Remember when Joyner was saying Fred Bennett was one of the best up and coming new CBs in the league?
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Old 12-16-2011   #19
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Default Re: ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks we have real a shot at AFC Champs

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That floater in Cincy wasn't a good idea. And TJ was bailed out by Dunta on a real bad decision. Still, Schaub is usually good for one bad decision a game, himself. Even Brady makes bad decisions on occasion. TJ is doing just fine.
Brady threw 4 picks in one game this year in against Bills.
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