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Old 03-22-2012   #41
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

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Originally Posted by Goldensilence View Post
Sharpton was taking more reps last year and probably has a little better size to man the spot. People talk about Meco's leadership, but I think we have it in spades and at different levels on this defense. To me the moment Cushing stepped onto this team the attitude changed. the biggest thing we lost with trading Meco was making calls and letting Cush do his thing. Can Sharpton take that responsibility? We'll see. LBer is another spot where this team has been able to consistently develop talent at.
First, Phillips went to Cushing as the guy wearing the helmet receiver and getting the calls. That's because Cushing stayed on the field in the nickel while Ryans was replaced by a CB.

Second, exactly how does Sharpton have "better size" than Ryans to play the Mo LB spot. Smaller is better? Sharpton's contribution in 2011 has been way overplayed and he looked lost when the Texans defense was overpowered in 2010. I doubt that the LB that will lineup next to Cushing in 2012 is currently on the roster.
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Old 03-22-2012   #42
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

I think we're at the point to where we can start plugging in filler players from FA. I think the success of our season rests more with how Schaub recovers at this point. Everybody's holding their breath here. Nobody really knows what to do. What we must not do is panic and blow the top off our cap. What we DID though is... forget Brown and Cushing for a minute... we cleared room because we are also going to be in the market for a QB whether that means a mega-contract to Schaub or even Brees. I don't know. A Brady-esque draft? I can't see us taking a QB too high considering our needs. What I do know is... As much as I like Yates, no way we roll with him as the future. He did an admirable job last season but admirable effort and excellent game managing is all it was.
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Old 03-22-2012   #43
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

As a GM your goal is to get better every year. Free Agency and the salary cap work against that goal...that's part of the reason they were created. In addition, the better you get, the more other teams want your players. In other words, you can't continue to get better every year. Even the supposed zen master Belichik has had a hard time keeping the Patriot's roster on top. Each year is an entirely new landscape for the GM to navigate.

I actually think the roster is in better shape than it was at this time last year (I know it's in better cap shape). We had tremendous holes coming into the draft; CB, FS, SS, WR, OLB, DT. In 2010 the secondary was so bad that people were screaming for a corner in the first round instead of a receiver, the usual demand.

I think it's also useful to focus on depth instead of thinking of all positions as requiring a starter that plays 80% of snaps and a backup that plays the remaining snaps. Running backs are commonly platooned, as are offensive and defensive linemen. The Texans' situation at ILB last year is a good example. Demeco Ryans is a great run-stopper, but he can't pass-rush and he can't cover to save his life, much as we all love him. Accordingly he was able to contribute on first and ten or on short yardage plays when an opponent was more likely to run, and not able to contribute on passing downs. The Texans used Ryans and Sharpton to fill two different roles at the same position. Cushing has proven that he can provide run support, pass-rush and stay on the field on third down and provide zone coverage, but there aren't a lot of linebackers that can. That's why they would re-sign him for big money and not Ryans.

They hit a couple of home runs in last year's draft, and got a couple of extra-base hits, too, and I am optimistic about the draft. There's good depth in this draft if teams don't reach (some always do). You gotta go back a few years with this team to find a draft pick that really stunk up the field and I am confident they'll find some good players this year.

That being said, if they draft a player I don't like, I reserve the right to come back and complain.
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Old 03-22-2012   #44
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

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Vickers is a cowboy now, Big Lou...
He was in my gone column. I meant we will see how Casey does full time.
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Old 03-22-2012   #45
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

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I think they have the opportunity to be better than they were last year for the simple fact that we can be healthier in key positions. If, and this is of course the mother of all ifs, we have a lucky season in regards to injury, I would be surprised by anything less than a 12 win season.

Yes, we've lost Mario, but we didn't really have him last year, and there really hasn't been that much correlation between his performance and our W-L record. Briesel and Winston are both big losses, but also the two most replaceable players on the O-line (although I fear that's a rationalization. Everyone remembers Myers struggling his 1st year in this system).

I truly believe KJ is ready to step up, and he should have more support from a healthy Manning, a more comfortable Quin, and hopefully an emerging Nolan, McCain and Harris. The secondary is potentially the most talented unit on this team, not including RB, which is only 2 or 3 players.

From there, we're looking at 5 wins just from a very weak division schedule and veterans like Schaub playing for a contract and AJ ready to make amends for the last two years.

This isn't how any of us saw the off season going, but making tough cuts isn't what kills a team, it's making bad signings when you cant afford them. We're taking our medicine now when we can afford to, and I think we'll be strong in the short term and even stronger in the long run for it.
Good post. Perhaps a little ambitious but I find myself being the same way at times. If #8 can answer the bell then I'll feel much better. From what I've garnered here & there the prognosis isn't as rosy.

Guess we'll all find out about the same time.
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Old 03-22-2012   #46
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

The closest thing to a consensus I can get out of this is that the Texans will be competitive, but:

1) They must have a very good draft
2) They can easily be derailed by injury


We shall see.
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Old 03-22-2012   #47
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

Here's the big picture. Our depth at nearly all positions sucks!!!! Any injury to a starter this year and there will be a big drop off. We had good solid depth last year but they are all starters this year.

All I have been reading is how we have to draft a WR with one of our first two picks. How loosing Mario Williams means we need to add an OLB really early. Actually they are probably our two deepest positions behind QB and RB.

We are going to be fine as far as our starting units go, it's depth when our starters go down thats going to hurt us. We don't have much money for FA though I'm sure we will find a way to add a little depth here and there but our main focus on getting this team up to par depth wise will be via the draft. We will not be able to draft depth at every position so forget that line of thinking.

The early rounds of this draft need to be BPA that can come in and make the most impact followed by purely BPA.

We are weak in nearly every position depth wise.

WR is actually one of the least weak positions

JOHNSON, ANDRE Jones, Jacoby Jean, Lestar Iglesias, Juaquin
WALTER, KEVIN Maehl, Jeff Holliday, Trindon

LB's Inside is weak but Bramen and Nading aren't as bad as some of the backups at other positions.

LOLB 57 Nading, Jesse
LILB 97 Smith, Derrell
RILB 54 Alexander, Mister
ROLB 50 Braman, Bryan

Now take a look at the other positions depth.

TE A lot depends on what they intend to do with Casey. I don't see them moving him back to TE after letting Vickers go. If Dreeson comes back this position is fine. Graham has been a non factor since we drafted him. Why all the sudden anyone thinks he is going to become something is beyond me. If Dreeson leaves and Casey stays at FB we have no depth.

OL The depth here sucks. Which of these guys do you feel comfortable with starting?

LT 75 Newton, Derek
LG 61 Austin, Thomas
C 79 Wallace, Cody
RG 71 Smith, Shelley
RT 66 Gardner, Andrew

DL The depth here sucks. Again, Any of our starters go down we are in deep doodoo!

LDE 91 Harris, Sunny
NT 92 Mitchell, Earl
RDE 96 Jamison, Tim

Secondary Nolan and McCain are solid backups the rest are blah.

LCB 26 Harris, Brandon 36 Carmichael, Roc
SS 31 Keo, Shiloh
FS 33 Nolan, Troy 42Williams, Torri
RCB 21 McCain, Brice 22 McManis, Sherrick
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Old 03-22-2012   #48
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First, Phillips went to Cushing as the guy wearing the helmet receiver and getting the calls. That's because Cushing stayed on the field in the nickel while Ryans was replaced by a CB.

Second, exactly how does Sharpton have "better size" than Ryans to play the Mo LB spot. Smaller is better? Sharpton's contribution in 2011 has been way overplayed and he looked lost when the Texans defense was overpowered in 2010. I doubt that the LB that will lineup next to Cushing in 2012 is currently on the roster.
I agree with that for the most part.

Sharpton has not been overly impressive from what I've seen. Plus he's coming off injury.
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Old 03-23-2012   #49
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

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I agree with that for the most part.

Sharpton has not been overly impressive from what I've seen. Plus he's coming off injury.
This is why I hope the Texans take an ILB like Hightower in the upcoming draft. Save wr for a later round. Maybe DT but outside of Poe I don't want a dt in the first. I know the Texans need an OLB but at least they have good starters where as ILB is sort of a weak spot now opposite of Cushing.
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Old 03-23-2012   #50
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

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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?
I think the main, central "theme" of this team is CONFIDENCE.

It All Starts At The Top
Wade Phillips was the torch bearer for the culture of confidence. He said Mario would flourish in his system, and Mario flourished with 5 sacks (IIRC) in just 4 or 5 games before his season-ending injury. He said "I believe Brian Cushing can handle the Mike just fine.," and Brian Cushing did just that. Kareem Jackson progressed, as well, after having a very rough 2010 season prior to Wade's arrival. From the moment Frank Bush exited and Wade Phillips entered the scene, the reconstruction phase of the defense began in earnest. The players and positions he set out to alter, Mario to OLB and Cushing to MLB and sticking with KJ at CB2 (even if there was a part-time player in J Allen helping out) was very key.

Then You Add Some Key Ingredients
The addition of Joseph and Manning was the 2nd most important part of our new culture of confidence. Their impact was immediate, it was felt both in their on-the-field performance and their vocal leadership of that secondary. We found two guys who carry not just a swagger, but they possess real on-the-field skills we have never seen at CB1 and S. These two players upped the game of guys like Glover Quin and others.

Player Acquisition Is Like Beer: Both Are Better On DRAFT
JJ Watt, Brooks Reed, TJ Yates--Three guys who played a vital role in saving the 2011 season. Look, much has been made about us losing Mario Williams. Based on the attitude Mario took with him to Buffalo, we lost ZILCH. We gained what we wanted in Mario by selecting JJ Watt in the 2011 Draft. We followed that up by selecting Brooks Reed whom Texans officials were shocked was still available in the 2nd round when it was our turn to pick.

TJ Yates was Kubiak's lone pick of the draft for his offense...but TJ held it together enough to help us win the AFCS in Cincinatti on a last-second play to Walter, securing our first-ever playoff berth at the same time. Brandon Harris might be a player to look for in 2012, too. That's 4 picks that I think have long-term impact here.

Who knows what the draft holds, but I can tell you this: We have a singular focus on both sides of the ball now, and I think it's cleared than ever what the scouts know to look for for both Kubiak and Phillips. There is a confidence in the entire team, whereas before it was just on Kubiak's side (the offense).

Oh yeah, two more very important words: Rookie Salaries. We get that production for a great value vs. trying the FA route again.

Why All of The Above Is Important
We've been over each player who has left us in FA. Everyone agrees that Winston's pass pro was not stellar. Most people acknowledge that DeMeco was a proven leader of those guys but he has age, injury, and salary issues that made him a cap casualty here.

There are reasons why some guys were cut (Winston), some guys were traded (DeMeco), and others got better offers elsewhere (Briesel, for example). But why is that necessarily the fault of the Texans in general?

There has been more thoughtful analysis, by our front office, of our free agents than I remember of this same Texans front office in the past. Yes, it might be dictated by cap constraints...but tightening the fiscal belt makes you just a little more objective about your expenses and which ones you keep and which ones you shed. Period. Bob is always learning things...now he is learning what happens when you spend for talent and the debt collector comes calling for payment on that debt.

For all we know, Bob was fully aware that the chickens would come home to roost and he still pushed ahead and authorized the Front Office to make those deals in 2011..."Let's worry about it when the time comes," which meant they'd have a plan to shed guys like Winston and DeMeco. A lot of you say you don't believe in black and white, that there are shades of gray in life. Well, here is a prime example, but yet it's "All that damn Rick Smith's fault!" Seriously? He's the middle guy, between the Owner and the HC. He's doing their bidding, and you all know darn well that every little thing that is done by Rick is signed off on by Bob McNair. Rick is not as dumb as he's being portrayed, IMO.

In Conclusion...
I believe in the Texans for 2012 because they have not shown me anything contrary to what I saw in 2011. Not a single game has been played yet. Not even a camp or a pre-season scrimmage either. Why do I believe in them? Because 2011 taught me that this team radically transformed itself (on the defense side of the ball, obviously) and I don't think the departures we've had spells problems for 2012. I think they have enough confidence to handle their jobs, again, and for the new crop of draft picks to enter and soak up that same confidence that THEY saw when they watched the Texans play on TV on Sundays in 2011. It's a whole new dynamic at Reliant, IMO.

This time last year, we thought there might not even be football in 2011. Wow! What a difference Father Time makes. At first, we didn't think we'd have football. We GOT football and all was well. We even had a year that we almost "didn't have" in 2011 because of the lockout. Fate was kind to us. The football Gods delivered after 9+ years of misery here. So for me, yeah I'm pretty freaking excited to see what we do in the draft and how we look after having a full off-season, full OTAs, full camp, and pre-season to shake the rust off the veteran's asses. It's going to be a good year, IMO.
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Old 03-23-2012   #51
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Hope was the theme for 2011.

Confidence is the 2012 theme.

If those certain players who took their grievances onto Facebook and twitter are THAT upset about losing a leader like DeMeco, then what does that really say?

Do they not look at themselves as being capable of having the same level of leadership as DeMeco?

Does this say that after DeMeco there isn't really anybody or a group of anybodies in the same form and shape as DeMeco?

If this team is so fragile that the departure of one man is this important to our outlook, then yeah...we will be in trouble.

Or the others will honor Ryans by carrying the torch and be the ones DeMeco was teaching them to become.

Our future is as stable now as it was when we lost a starter every Sunday in 2011. And it's because of confidence in the team, confidence in self, confidence in the future.

The Patriots had no confidence until guys like Coach Bill and Brady instilled it into the team, then the momentum and expectations took care of the rest. Now there's a climate of confidence and with that is a fresh set of expectations for each player entering their doors.
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Old 03-23-2012   #52
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

Couple of good posts there, GP.
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Old 03-23-2012   #53
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

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Couple of good posts there, GP.
One of them was a novel.

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Old 03-23-2012   #54
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

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Do they not look at themselves as being capable of having the same level of leadership as DeMeco?
What world do you live in? No everybody in a group of 11 guys or even 5 guys does not look around and consider them all as having the same leadership skills as the one with the best leadership skills. Some of them may feel they are better overall players, some better athletes, some more important to the team - but no most of them are not thinking "I can be that leader."

I mean you might as well ask if the QB's on the roster when Manning went down did not look at themselves as being capable of having the same level of play as Manning.
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Old 03-23-2012   #55
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

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Hope was the theme for 2011.

Confidence is the 2012 theme.

If those certain players who took their grievances onto Facebook and twitter are THAT upset about losing a leader like DeMeco, then what does that really say?
Hope was the theme from 2006-2010. I think Desperation was the theme for 2011. It's a good theme. They should keep it in 2012.

Do you think you might be a little Facebook/Twitter obsessed? It's neat and all to read what players are thinking without going through the team or media filters. But does it really mean anything?

Let me answer that for you - No.
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Old 03-23-2012   #56
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Default Re: Free Agency - The Big Picture

No one knows how the season will turn out. The loses we have experienced can be catastrophic, a blip on the radar, or something in between. I'm going to sit back and wait because as a fan there is really not much else I can do.
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Old 03-23-2012   #57
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Hope was the theme for 2011.

Confidence is the 2012 theme.

If those certain players who took their grievances onto Facebook and twitter are THAT upset about losing a leader like DeMeco, then what does that really say?

Do they not look at themselves as being capable of having the same level of leadership as DeMeco?

Does this say that after DeMeco there isn't really anybody or a group of anybodies in the same form and shape as DeMeco?

If this team is so fragile that the departure of one man is this important to our outlook, then yeah...we will be in trouble.

Or the others will honor Ryans by carrying the torch and be the ones DeMeco was teaching them to become.
Gp, I gotta be honest. That sounds like a movie. Almost remember the titans-ish. Like when Bertrand got in the car accident and the team had to press forward without their leader.

Nothing wrong with that, just making an observation. Only thing is that I think Cushing and other guys were already taking in some leadership responsibilities.

Demeco was definitely a positive influence on the team. He definitely was one to keep them focused, but humans adapt in order to survive.

If they didn't boys would never grow into men and would be screwed as soon as pops wasn't around.

Personally, I think were going to be ok and I think it's time that Cushing puts his stamp on the defense. Own it, make it his. I'd like to see him have a Ray Lewis or Brian urlacher type if career with us.

And that goes for Chris Meyers on the o line, od as a te.

I made the analogy somewhere else, but the engine and the transmission is still here. We just need to build around it.
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