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Old 03-22-2012   #1
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Default Free Agency - The Big Picture

I've buried my big picture thoughts in threads dedicated to a single player, where the arguments can be mistakenly or deliberately attributed to consternation over the loss of a specific player. I'm starting this thread to try to focus on the big picture.

A rough summary:

1) The Texans have had holes open up in starters and/or depth at OL, LB, CB caused by salary cap problems/free agency.

2) They may lose more depth at RB and TE to free agency.

3) They have long existing depth problems at WR.

4)They have limited resources due to cap problems.

5) They want to build through the draft.

==========

I don't predict 5-6 immediate, high quality rookie starters coming in to plug the various holes. I also see depth being a major issue, as injuries always take a toll on NFL teams.

Given the Texans' weak division, they will probably make the playoffs, but I think they will be weaker than last year and have an early exit. I think this year has been sacrificed to cap mismanagement.


New team motto candidate, and this is best case:

Just win the-season-after-next, baby.
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Old 03-22-2012   #2
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

My take is, in hindsight the Texans pulled out all the stops last year to push for the Super Bowl. Fans didn't know that, players didn't know -- now everyone is surprised with the consequences. Transparency is better.
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Old 03-22-2012   #3
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

Quote:
Originally Posted by Playoffs View Post
My take is, in hindsight the Texans pulled out all the stops last year to push for the Super Bowl. Fans didn't know that, players didn't know -- now everyone is surprised with the consequences. Transparency is better.
I still think we win the division this year no matter what happens in free agency or the draft. After that, no predictions from me.
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Old 03-22-2012   #4
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I didn't intend for this to be a prediction thread, so I'll ask some open ended questions.

Do you think the Texans have the resources available to make this a better, more talented team? Do you think they will be about the same, a little better, or a little worse? Do you think they are in full rebuilding mode due to openings and a roster that is getting older or more fragile?

And why?
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Old 03-22-2012   #5
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

I think they'll be about the same in terms of competitive level as last season. They may have lost a few key players, but the defense is what kept us afloat last year, and the guys are a lot more familiar with Wade's scheme. We'll also be getting a full training camp to install other elements of Wade's D.

With that said, there's a lot of unknown variables. IF Schaub is good to go, then I think we'll be more than fine. IF the O-line doesn't miss a beat and allows Schaub and Foster to do their thing, we'll be more than fine as well.
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Old 03-22-2012   #6
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

Quote:
Originally Posted by Runner View Post
Do you think the Texans have the resources available to make this a better, more talented team?
Sure. They just have to draft well again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Runner View Post
Do you think they will be about the same, a little better, or a little worse?
A little worse, but a little better with Schaub.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Runner View Post
Do you think they are in full rebuilding mode due to openings and a roster that is getting older or more fragile?
Not even close. Still a playoff team minus a few players, and in a now weak division.
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Old 03-22-2012   #7
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

Wade's second year history is not as good as his first year after taking over. I don't think that will happen this time, but I don't expect our defense will be so highly rated. I do think until a new on field defensive leader comes into his own to replace DeMeco, we can expect a small let down. With a good draft, our defense will still be scary.

As to the offense, if Schaub can stay on his feet we'll be OK. Somehow I think they'll get the offensive line going and our run game will be fine. I believe they'll draft a WR in the 2nd or 3rd round that will see some playing time.

We are not in full rebuilding mode, but we are in a "need to patch some holes" mode which is not quite as bad. The team will be a good one, maybe not quite as good as some of us hope for.

In the draft, I think in the first four rounds you will see them pick a LB, O-Lineman, and a WR for sure. After that, not sure.
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Old 03-22-2012   #8
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

Quote:
Originally Posted by Runner View Post
I don't predict 5-6 immediate, high quality rookie starters coming in to plug the various holes. I also see depth being a major issue, as injuries always take a toll on NFL teams.
I think this is where I disagree with you.

Why would we need "5-6 immediate, high quality rookie starters" ?

We haven't lost "5-6 high quality" veteran starters.

Of the guys that were starters at the end of the year we have lost Briesel, Winston, and Demeco who played ~60% of the snaps and wasn't all that productive.

Even if you look at the situation as a whole, we've really only lost 2 maybe 3 players that played a major role in what we did last year (Mybe Jason Allen and Demeco can be combined into a full person??)...

But I don't understand why You'd look at the situation as a whole anyways. We are replacing individuals with individuals.

Butler is slated to step in and compete for the RT spot. Caldwell will probably compete for the RG spot. Both positions have players that can step in and be starters that have been with the team for a while. Now I understand having reservations about the guys stepping in for them, but to me those converstations can be thread topics all by themselves.

The biggest lost that I've heard regarding Demeco being traded is his leadership. His actual on field production is not even being discussed because it wasn't all that. We've re-hashed the leadership stuff a a bunch too. I think we'll be fine in that department, but if you disagree...ok...

I mean...Really, production wise the biggest losses are probably Winston and Briesel and it can be argued that both can be replaced with minimal if any drop off and maybe we might even get a little better depending on who we pick up and how the pieces fit that we slide in...


I'm actually excited about the season now. I wasn't at first until all of this movement started happening. Hopefully we can use the extra fourth to grad a solid depth player and maybe the move up in the third will land us a player we might not have had access to before.

I'm excited about the possibilities now. I'm not worried about Butler at RT. Ipersonally think he'll be fine. Caldwell supposedly was battling a high ankle sprain last year, so hopefully he's healthy and can provide some solid play there if someone better doesn't beat him out.

Production wise I think we'll be ok at MLB.

I liked what Jason Allen did for us last year, but is anyone really shedding tears over him leaving?

Seriously, I don't get what the fuss is about. I think it's highly possible we will be better going forward.
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Old 03-22-2012   #9
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

Quote:
Originally Posted by Runner View Post

I don't predict 5-6 immediate, high quality rookie starters coming in to plug the various holes. I also see depth being a major issue, as injuries always take a toll on NFL teams.
You better hope they land 5-6 rookie starters. This team has ALOT of holes now and they seem to have the checkbook locked up.

We need another passrush OLB for our rotation and injuries. A starting caliber ILB, a starting caliber WR, backup RG/RT, a starting kicker. A starting punter. Another 3-4 DE.

I think they will come to their senses and sign a vet kicker back. But they have their work cut out for them in the draft if they want this team to be as good all around as last years.
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Old 03-22-2012   #10
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

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Originally Posted by Blake View Post
You better hope they land 5-6 rookie starters. This team has ALOT of holes now and they seem to have the checkbook locked up.

We need another passrush OLB for our rotation and injuries. A starting caliber ILB, a starting caliber WR, backup RG/RT, a starting kicker. A starting punter. Another 3-4 DE.

I think they will come to their senses and sign a vet kicker back. But they have their work cut out for them in the draft if they want this team to be as good all around as last years.
The right side of the line and DeMeco who played 2 downs are the only significant pieces we've lost from last year's "super squad." calm down, Chicken Little.
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Old 03-22-2012   #11
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

Agree with Tdot and Rey above.

Big ol IF on this is Schaub and the people to fill in on the Oline. Yeah, we didn't lose "all that" on the Oline, but they knew their job and did it decent. Gut thinks we'll be alright.

Otherwise, agree we didn't lose the big names (that helped us specifically last year) and dropped the contracts that weren't reflective of their production.

As of now, I think they'll be the same if not a little better by the time preseason rolls around. Gotta take a look once FA and the draft are complete to have a better, but not 100% clearer, position on that.

Why do I feel that way? Cause it's the offseason and the koolade runs deep during the offseason. Plenty of time for pessimism during the season.

It's not a rebuilding, it's a tweaking... as you mentioned Runner, due to age and contracts. Can't keep everyone, but the Texans better keep a core. Comparing to the other playoff teams, seems the Texans are doing it correctly. IMO
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Old 03-22-2012   #12
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

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Originally Posted by Thorn View Post
I do think until a new on field defensive leader comes into his own to replace DeMeco, we can expect a small let down. With a good draft, our defense will still be scary.
I'm not expecting on-field leadership to cause a let down. JoJo will step into the role of veteran leader at the start of the season, along with Antonio, who has the respect of the entire team, IMO.
I expect JJ Watt to become the recognized leader on defense by year's end, and be made a defensive captain in 2013.
Cushing will always be the fire that lights the fuse.
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Old 03-22-2012   #13
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

Quote:
Originally Posted by Runner View Post
I didn't intend for this to be a prediction thread, so I'll ask some open ended questions.

Do you think the Texans have the resources available to make this a better, more talented team? Do you think they will be about the same, a little better, or a little worse? Do you think they are in full rebuilding mode due to openings and a roster that is getting older or more fragile?

And why?
Honestly, a little worse. A weak division will certainly help, but I expect some troubles in the running game. Heck we had issues with only Caldwell replacing Brisel last year. Now we're replacing Winston as well. Our "run to the right" team will need some new dimensions.

We've done jack at WR and TE depth will likely take a blow too. The Defense I see as staying relatively neutral, but we'll have to see if losing the "QB of the Defense" is as important in the 3-4 world. Not quite colts-level full-blown rebuilding mode, but major overhaul to be sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rey View Post
I think this is where I disagree with you.

Why would we need "5-6 immediate, high quality rookie starters" ?

We haven't lost "5-6 high quality" veteran starters.

Of the guys that were starters at the end of the year we have lost Briesel, Winston, and Demeco who played ~60% of the snaps and wasn't all that productive.

Even if you look at the situation as a whole, we've really only lost 2 maybe 3 players that played a major role in what we did last year (Mybe Jason Allen and Demeco can be combined into a full person??)...

But I don't understand why You'd look at the situation as a whole anyways. We are replacing individuals with individuals.

Butler is slated to step in and compete for the RT spot. Caldwell will probably compete for the RG spot. Both positions have players that can step in and be starters that have been with the team for a while. Now I understand having reservations about the guys stepping in for them, but to me those converstations can be thread topics all by themselves.

The biggest lost that I've heard regarding Demeco being traded is his leadership. His actual on field production is not even being discussed because it wasn't all that. We've re-hashed the leadership stuff a a bunch too. I think we'll be fine in that department, but if you disagree...ok...

I mean...Really, production wise the biggest losses are probably Winston and Briesel and it can be argued that both can be replaced with minimal if any drop off and maybe we might even get a little better depending on who we pick up and how the pieces fit that we slide in...


I'm actually excited about the season now. I wasn't at first until all of this movement started happening. Hopefully we can use the extra fourth to grad a solid depth player and maybe the move up in the third will land us a player we might not have had access to before.

I'm excited about the possibilities now. I'm not worried about Butler at RT. Ipersonally think he'll be fine. Caldwell supposedly was battling a high ankle sprain last year, so hopefully he's healthy and can provide some solid play there if someone better doesn't beat him out.

Production wise I think we'll be ok at MLB.

I liked what Jason Allen did for us last year, but is anyone really shedding tears over him leaving?

Seriously, I don't get what the fuss is about. I think it's highly possible we will be better going forward.
Winston, Brisel, Ryans all took > 50% of snaps. Allen took >50% at the end of the year. When you move your backups into starter roles, you need quality backups as well. We need FOUR for sure right now, 5-6 quality starters isn't all that far-fetched.
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Old 03-22-2012   #14
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

I'm not gonna be all "woe is me" on this subject.

Sure, we let Winston, Brisiel, and DeMeco go. But I have a feeling it's so that next year we can re-sign our elite FA's next year, just like we did this year. We re-signed 2 elite guys this year in Foster and Myers. Up next we have Brown and Barwin and then Cushing the year after.

You lock up your elite players and you let your good or great players walk because you have to. If we keep drafting this way then we can keep doing this same routine by locking up our elite guys and replacing the other guys with new ones. It's the way of the world in the NFL.

It's understandable that people are frustrated by what's happened and do not want these new guys starting. Want to know why? Because they were backups last year! Nobody wants to get worse, we want to see progression. However, how do we know Sharpton won't be a great player in a year or two. Hell, he outplayed DeMeco for most of the season last year.

Winston --> Butler
Brisiel --> Caldwell
Dreessen --> Graham
Ryans --> Sharpton
Mario --> Reed
Allen --> Harris/Carmichael

We already have the replacements here on the roster. Now we just need to add new guys to replace our future FA's. Cody and Barwin are FA's next year, maybe we grab an OLB and a NT in this draft to replace them next year.

Next Man Up
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Old 03-22-2012   #15
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

Resources) Obviously limited to the draft and street free agents. It's optimistic to find more than 2 or 3 immediate contributors from the draft. The Texans picked up 3 rookies that came through in 2011 (Watt, Reed, & Yates) and that's considered to be a banner class. Rick Smith has had some success in finding street free agents (Pollard, Wilson, Ward). He may need to pull a couple of more rabbits out of his hat.

Improvement/regression) There will be less talent at the beginning of the 2012 camp than there was at the start of 2011. That's a given considering the losses. But, it's not always about talent. My main concern is whether the chemistry has been altered with guys like Ryans, Winston, and (possibly) Dreessen leaving. I think the injuries in 2011 actually enhanced the chemistry. But defections from free agency and salary cap issues may not having the same bonding effect. Attitude and cohesiveness worry me more than roster spots.

Talent) Foster, AJ, Brown, Schaub, Daniels. Cushing, Joseph, Watt, Barwin, Antonio Smith. This team still has more than its share of talent. And its well spread over the varying levels of experience. Sure, there are holes were there is less than NFL average talent. Every team deals with this problem. The difference between last years and previous seasons, has been the coaching staff's ability to mask those imperfections. The talent level in the coaching staff has finally reached a level that is capable of winning.
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Old 03-22-2012   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WolverineFan View Post
I'm not gonna be all "woe is me" on this subject.

Sure, we let Winston, Brisiel, and DeMeco go. But I have a feeling it's so that next year we can re-sign our elite FA's next year, just like we did this year. We re-signed 2 elite guys this year in Foster and Myers. Up next we have Brown and Barwin and then Cushing the year after.

You lock up your elite players and you let your good or great players walk because you have to. If we keep drafting this way then we can keep doing this same routine by locking up our elite guys and replacing the other guys with new ones. It's the way of the world in the NFL.

It's understandable that people are frustrated by what's happened and do not want these new guys starting. Want to know why? Because they were backups last year! Nobody wants to get worse, we want to see progression. However, how do we know Sharpton won't be a great player in a year or two. Hell, he outplayed DeMeco for most of the season last year.

Winston --> Butler
Brisiel --> Caldwell
Dreessen --> Graham
Ryans --> Sharpton
Mario --> Reed
Allen --> Harris/Carmichael

We already have the replacements here on the roster. Now we just need to add new guys to replace our future FA's. Cody and Barwin are FA's next year, maybe we grab an OLB and a NT in this draft to replace them next year.

Next Man Up
Sure, we can show the replacements are on the roster. Does that make the team better? The Texans are supposed to contend for a Super Bowl. They have to be better than last year, not just field a team. I don't think th jingo "Next Man Up" is a good management plan, especially when injuries start taking some of these next men out.

==============

And to respond generally to some other posts:

I don't know why discussing these concerns must be characterized as chicken little or woe is me. If you ask me, it shows more thought than ignoring the the fact that good players have been lost, or assuming that replacing them is easy because, well, just because. That reminds me of having your head stuck up...I mean...in the sand.

There. I can do it too.

=========


As far thinking it is silly to "look at the big picture". All I can say is "really?". Resources - draft picks, cap room - are limited. If I don't look at the big picture, I might plan to get a stud receiver with my first pick. And a pass rushing LB with my first pick. And an o-lineman with my first pick. There I've solved three problems individually.

Yes that is a dumb example, but "looking at the big picture" is why we know it is dumb.
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Old 03-22-2012   #17
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

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Originally Posted by disaacks3 View Post
Winston, Brisel, Ryans all took > 50% of snaps. Allen took >50% at the end of the year. When you move your backups into starter roles, you need quality backups as well. We need FOUR for sure right now, 5-6 quality starters isn't all that far-fetched.
He said we need 5-6 high quality starters in the draft...Not 5-6 replacements.

And Demeco was not the QB of the defense.


We still have:

Cushing
J.Jo
Watt
A. Smith
Cody
Mitchell
Jamison
Kareem
Glover
Barwin
Reed
Nading
D. Manning
D.Brown
Smith
Meyers
Arian
OD
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Then we have some interesting young prospects in Mahael, and Jean and Shelly Smith.We also have Roc Carmichael and Brandon Harris and Braman on defense...

We have some veteran guys that should be able to step in without major drop off in production in Butler, Caldwell and Sharpton.

Then on top of all that we actually do have draft picks to play with and maybe we can sign a decent FA here or there. We've been pretty good with UDFA's.


But really, none of this doom and gloom stuff and "LOOK AT EVERYONE WE'VE LOST!!!!" talk started until we lost Demeco. Yeah, a few people were upset at Eric Winston, but it wasn't near this backlash. I think people are just shocked and upset that the team did something they didn't think was possible. JMO.
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Old 03-22-2012   #18
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

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The right side of the line and DeMeco who played 2 downs are the only significant pieces we've lost from last year's "super squad." calm down, Chicken Little.
Way to totally discount the 5 games from Mario Williams, our veteran kicker, our punter, Joel Dreesen, Vickers and Tim Dobbins.

And I love how you say the right side of the line so nonchalantly. Like its so easy to just swap out 2/5ths of an offensive line and not skip a beat.

And why are you quoting super squad? I call the team well rounded and you plug in "super squad?"

And dont call me chicken little. You obviously dont know how to correctly use it and come off as ignorant and obtuse.
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Old 03-22-2012   #19
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But really, none of this doom and gloom stuff and "LOOK AT EVERYONE WE'VE LOST!!!!" talk started until we lost Demeco. Yeah, a few people were upset at Eric Winston, but it wasn't near this backlash. I think people are just shocked and upset that the team did something they didn't think was possible. JMO.
That's because it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I understand from a previous post you don't consider "the big picture" a valid concept. If you want to make your participation in this thread about Demeco that's your choice. I don't think it makes a big contribution to the discussion of overall team health.
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Old 03-22-2012   #20
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

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As far thinking it is silly to "look at the big picture". All I can say is "really?". Resources - draft picks, cap room - are limited. If I don't look at the big picture, I might plan to get a stud receiver with my first pick. And a pass rushing LB with my first pick. And an o-lineman with my first pick. There I've solved three problems individually.

Yes that is a dumb example, but "looking at the big picture" is why we know it is dumb.
Can you think of a real life example, because that one didn't make much sense...

My point with thinking about the needs individualy instead of as a whole is that you aren't going to fix each problem you have with one wave of a wand. You have to have a plan on how to address each individual need, but of course you will need to make sure you have the total amount of resources to address each individual need...

That's like if my light, water, gas and car bill are due. I'm not going to pay them all with the same $300. This isn't a ponzi scheme...
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