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Old 06-02-2005   #1
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Default John Clayton AFC South Preview

From John Clayton
ESPN AFC SOUTH PREVIEW

AFC South is built around QBs (Cont.)


• Houston Texans

Best move: First-round pick Travis Johnson was a much-needed young addition to the defensive line. Coach Dom Capers asks a lot of his 3-4 defensive linemen. For whatever reason, things didn't work out last year. They ranked 23rd on defense and 13th against the run. To make the playoffs, a 3-4 defense needs to rank in the top 10 against the run, which is probably the reason the Texans tried to get younger and add a little more speed on defense. Capers quietly shook up a lot of things on defense. He brought in Phillip Buchanon at cornerback for veteran Aaron Glenn. He moved Kailee Wong from outside to inside linebacker and signed Morlon Greenwood from the Dolphins to also play on the inside. Gone are Jamie Sharper and Jay Foreman. Critics weren't sure Johnson was the right choice for the Texans, but the team fell in love with him. With Johnson, Gary Walker, Seth Payne and Robaire Smith, the Texans have invested heavily along their defensive line. Johnson can learn from the veterans in front of him and gradually gain more playing time as the season progresses.

Biggest surprise: Greenwood wasn't a star on the big-name Miami Dolphins defense, so it was a little surprising to see him as the key offseason acquisition to fix the interior of the Texans' defense. Greenwood doesn't have the bulk of most inside linebackers in the 3-4. Apparently, the Texans liked his range and speed. Still, he replaces a popular player in Sharper, who has been productive since joining the Texans in their inaugural season. If Greenwood is the right choice and Wong does well in the middle, the Texans should have more range at inside linebacker. For that to happen, Jason Babin and Antwan Peek need big seasons on the outside.

Bottom line: The expansion years are gone. The Texans are coming off a 7-9 season and it's time for them to step up as a contender. The plan is to run the ball more to take some pressure off Carr, who was the victim of 49 sacks last season. The Texans worked with him on releasing the ball quicker to prevent the sacks. He got his completion percentage up to 61.2, but he still takes a pounding. The Texans are a dangerous team. If their offseason renovation works on defense, they will easily improve on their No. 23 rating from last year. Carr has the talent around him at wide receiver and in the backfield to compete at a playoff level. The table is set for the Texans to contend. But if the defense isn't improved, it will hold back the development of this season. On paper, though, things look good
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Old 06-02-2005   #2
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Sorry, but most of the people on this web site could write a better evaluation than that. Vinny would write something hands down better than that and we don't agree on much, but it would be more informative. I would say that most of us would say no mention of the O-line leaves something to be desireed, but in any event we will just have to wait and see.
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Old 06-02-2005   #3
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Default no o-line mentioned

Is this really a Texans evaluation that doesn't mention the offensive line???

I know that with the off-season changes there are many areas that may/maynot improve, but surely the o-line is still the biggest question.
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Old 06-02-2005   #4
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The formula for these evalutions were broken down in three sections: Best Move, Biggest Surprise, and Bottom Line.

I am sure if there were a Biggest Weakness, or Biggest Question Mark... then yes, the O-Line would have gotten more coverage.
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Old 06-02-2005   #5
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Originally Posted by Tailgate
I am sure if there were a Biggest Weakness, or Biggest Question Mark... then yes, the O-Line would have gotten more coverage.
I would think that the o-line was both the biggest weakness, and the biggest question mark. All of the flipping around in these mini camps surely doesn't fill me with confidence that the coaches are comfortable with what they have.
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Old 06-02-2005   #6
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Originally Posted by Algebrat
All of the flipping around in these mini camps surely doesn't fill me with confidence that the coaches are comfortable with what they have.
If they really weren't comfortable they would have taken one of the young Tackles where we had pick of the litter. I see them as comfortable, but looking to add talent and depth. If they were honestly worried about the line's potential they would have drafted a lineman high.
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Old 06-02-2005   #7
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Originally Posted by Vinny
If they really weren't comfortable they would have taken one of the young Tackles where we had pick of the litter. I see them as comfortable, but looking to add talent and depth. If they were honestly worried about the line's potential they would have drafted a lineman high.

I thought it was fairly well known that the Texans were concerned about improving the O-Line this offseason? Its just that the tackles in this years draft were pretty weak over all. I guarantee that if next years Tackle class were available this year, we would have went LT in the draft.
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Old 06-02-2005   #8
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Originally Posted by Tailgate
I thought it was fairly well known that the Texans were concerned about improving the O-Line this offseason? Its just that the tackles in this years draft were pretty weak over all. I guarantee that if next years Tackle class were available this year, we would have went LT in the draft.
So far they it looks like they have addressed the passing game buy trying to get Carr to get rid of the ball faster, incorporate some timing patterns and run drills for the linemen to find the best 5 for the field. If they were really worried that the players they currently have can't handle the positions physically - I think they would have drafted someone.
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Old 06-02-2005   #9
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Also, continuity is a big thing in the NFL for the OL. If you are always rotating players in each off-season, how will any of them get used to each other (also known as gelling). From what I could tell, the Texans wanted to add depth to the OL during the Off-season, and with Riley and possibly LJ, they did just that. Now then, if one of those two turns out to get the LT starting job because of how well he meshes with the other 4 Big Hungries, then great!

I think Capers has finally found his OL to roll with, but depth is always important in the trenches, just ask the DL the past two years!
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Old 06-02-2005   #10
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What's going on fellow Texans? We just have to put our faith in Charley Casserly's knowledge.The next big move after this season's wild-card game loss, is to fire the conservative Chris Palmer and let David Carr & Andre Johnson really work their magic.....
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Old 06-02-2005   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinny
So far they it looks like they have addressed the passing game buy trying to get Carr to get rid of the ball faster, incorporate some timing patterns and run drills for the linemen to find the best 5 for the field. If they were really worried that the players they currently have can't handle the positions physically - I think they would have drafted someone.
I guess we see the situation just a tad differently. Where I agree that the O-Line should be improved after another year together, with the tweaking of the passing game,etc.. and that the current group can handle it physically,etc..

But the moving of Pitts back to LT briefly, and the fact that we looked into LT heavily before the draft, and IMO we would have drafted an LT this year if there was a better crop... all adds up to we need to improve this area of the team still.

Just hoping everything we have done thus far and maybe adding Shelton will be enough to improve the sacks allowed situation. If so, we will be a force this year.
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Old 06-02-2005   #12
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I'm just commenting on what I see come out of the team as to their actions. Some fans want to see a new name at all costs, even if we plug in guys who get cut from the Cardinals for being a disappointment. We haven't even hit the baseball all-star game so I think people are making way too much about every line combination right now. We are going to look at guys out of position or in a different position at this time every year in one position group or another. It makes sense to me that they are looking at it in multiple ways. Wouldn't you want to see it both ways right now, before you go into camp?
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Old 06-02-2005   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinny
Wouldn't you want to see it both ways right now, before you go into camp?
Absolutely. But havent we already seen it both ways before?
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Old 06-02-2005   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailgate
Absolutely. But havent we already seen it both ways before?
Both guys are very young, developmental guys. Wouldn't you like to grade out their play in position drills right now instead of just guessing what they may look like if you worked them out? One way to evaluate your players’ progress is in your position drills.
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Old 06-02-2005   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinny
Both guys are very young, developmental guys. Wouldn't you like to grade out their play in position drills right now instead of just guessing what they may look like if you worked them out? One way to evaluate your players’ progress is in your position drills.
I understand what practices are for and your position here, but my point is didnt they already look into this, and switch them around last year? So meaning they are still looking into improving the O-Line in that area the best way they can because it needs improving.

Why isnt our RG getting time in at RT? Why arent they putting G Walker in and trying him out at NT just to see?

Anyhoo.... we will hope Wand plays well this year at LT if we don't sign anyone else, or we will most definitely draft a LT next year.
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Old 06-02-2005   #16
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Probably because they think Pitts could play LT better than Weigert could play RT (and we do have Wade there). Walker isn't young and developing, so I don't think you get my point.
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Old 06-02-2005   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinny
So far they it looks like they have addressed the passing game buy trying to get Carr to get rid of the ball faster, incorporate some timing patterns and run drills for the linemen to find the best 5 for the field.
Didn't we do this in year two?
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Old 06-02-2005   #18
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We brought in new starters at 4 of the 6 positions last year if you include the TE. I'd say we are not doing the same thing this year.
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Old 06-02-2005   #19
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Originally Posted by Vinny
Probably because they think Pitts could play LT better than Weigert could play RT (and we do have Wade there). Walker isn't young and developing, so I don't think you get my point.
Thank you. MY point is that they are sure about the situation due to what we have at RT, and at NT.... but they are unsure about the LT situation because it needs improvement and maybe not set with what we had last year moving forward.
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Old 06-02-2005   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinny
We brought in new starters at 4 of the 6 positions last year if you include the TE. I'd say we are not doing the same thing this year.
How many starters were different in year two when we gave up 36 sacks?
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