Breaking down the offense

Discussion in 'Texans Talk' started by mussop, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. mussop

    mussop Hall of Fame

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    Quote by LZ

    Those yards are awesome but at the end of the day, the offense still didn't convert enough redzone possessions into TDs. The Texans were first in the league in passing and 10th in the league in scoring. Out of the top 5 passing teams in the league, everyone scored at least 26 points per game while the Texans averaged 24.2. Like I said, stats are nice, but they still needed to score more points based on their "stats".


    That quote got me thinking. I decided to evaluate the offense and figure out what we really need to add to push us over the top and solidify us as an elite offense the likes of Indy. This is what I came up with.

    Everyone knows Kubiaks first choice is to run the ball to set up the pass. However it seems injuries to the OL and an ineffective running game changed our approach this year to more of a wide open passing attack. This offense really seemed to start clicking and take off when Kubiak decided (or was forced) to open up the passing game. It has become obvious that Schaub is the real deal at QB and can carry this offense with his arm ( ATT 583 COMP 396 YDS 4770 TD 29) and with the weapons around him, Andre Johnson (the best WR in football), Owen Daniels (one of the better young TE’s), Walters (solid but not spectacular) and Jones (an emerging talent at WR) we have one of the elite aerial attacks in the NFL.

    Knowing that where does Kubiak go from here? Does he return to his previous way of thinking (run first) to try and balance out our attack or does he run with what has worked this year and become the strength of this team?

    Side note, QB Matt Schaub(notes) finished among the NFL’s top seven in seven statistics: touchdowns (29), yards (4770), attempts (583), completions (396), yards per attempt (8.2), completion percentage (67.9) and rating (98.6). Schaub’s 4,770 yards led the league and was the sixth-best output in NFL history.

    Side note, congratulations to Andre Johnson who gained only 65 yards on six receptions in the Texans' 34-27 win over the Patriots, but that was enough to finish as the NFL's leader in receiving yards (1569) for the second straight season. Over the last 40 years, the only other player to lead the league in consecutive seasons was Jerry Rice (1989-1990 and 1993-1995).

    Side note, Schaub (4,770 yards) and WR Andre Johnson(notes) (1,569 yards) were the most prolific twosome in the NFL.

    Lets take a look at the teams that made the playoffs this year and see what their rushing attacks look like.

    Here are the regular season offense rushing rankings for the teams that made the playoffs:

    #1 NYJ
    #5 Bal
    #6 NO
    #7 Dallas
    #9 Cincy
    #12 NE
    #13 Minn.
    #14 GB
    #22 Philly
    #28 Arizona
    #31 SD
    #32 Indy

    #1 NYJ, #5 Bal, #9 Cincy were all lucky to make the playoffs.

    Now lets take a look at the teams that made the playoffs and see what their passing attacks look like.
    #2 Indy
    #3 NE
    #4 NO
    #5 SD
    #6 Dallas
    #7 GB
    #8 Min
    #10 Philly
    #12 Arizona
    #18 Bal
    #26Cincy
    #31 NYJ

    The Texans at #1 and Pittsburg at #9 just barely missed out.

    Does this mean we shouldn’t look to improve our running game? Of course not. We absolutely need to try and upgrade the OL and backfield That goes without saying. The question is, which way is the best direction to go?

    First lets look at the OL.

    I really think its wishful thinking that we are ever going to be a team that can just line up and power run it up the middle in obvious situations as long as we run the ZB scheme. I also think our OL performed better than people want to give them credit for when you consider we lost two starters early and we started the second most inexperienced OL in the whole NFL.

    Have a look at these numbers from NFL STATS and again keep in mind these numbers reflect two backups starting at both the Guard positions.

    http://www.nfl.com/stats/categoryst...sonType=REG&tabSeq=2&qualified=true&Submit=Go

    Houston Texans OL overall Rank #5 Exp 157 (2nd lowest overall) Att 425 Yds 1,475 Avg 3.5 TDs 13

    Rush left
    1st 33 Neg 19 (rk #23) +10Y 18 (rk #23) Pwr 90

    Rush Center
    1st 21 Neg 9 (rk #21) +10Y 6 (rk#28) Pwr 44

    Rush Right
    1st 39 Neg 11 (rk #3) +10Y 14 (rk#24) Pwr 59

    Exp = Combined career starts for the two guards, two tackles and center on team with the most starts in the current season.
    Rush 1st = Rushing first downs.
    Rush Neg = Rushes for negative yards.
    Rush +10Y = Rushes for 10 or more yards.
    Rush Pwr = Percentage of rushes on 3rd or 4th down with 2 or fewer yards to go that achieved a first down or TD. Also includes rushes on 1st-and-goal and 2nd-and-goal from the opponent's 2-yard line or closer.

    Here is what we currently have

    Myers, Chris C 6-4 299 Miami (Fla.) Starter 5th Prefer him as a backup but isn’t as bad as people think. He is really good at getting to the second level and sealing off. However its well known that he doesn’t anchor well and can be pushed back in short yardage situations. Putting better Guards around him could mask these deficiencies but the best thing would be for him to become a backup.

    White, Chris C/G 6-2 290 Southern Mississippi 5th solid backup.

    Caldwell, Antoine * C/G 6-3 312 1st He should be starting next year at center or guard. I had doubts about him when we drafted him and the fact that he wasn’t able to beat out White and start full time at Guard has me a little concerned. However I do believe he made progress this year and all the playing time he received will payoff soon.

    Pitts, Chester G 6-4 321 8th FA Starter if he checks out I imagine we’ll resign him. If not this is where I look for a quality starting Guard in FA.

    Brisiel, Mike G 6-5 304 3rd Starter Would like to see him as a backup. However I believe he will be our starter at RG next year.

    Studdard, Kasey G 6-3 306 Texas 3rd Decent backup.

    Reyes, Tutan G 6-3 305 Mississippi 10th Who??????


    Brown, Duane T 6-4 313 Virginia Tech 2nd Starter

    Winston, Eric T 6-7 315 Miami (Fla.) 4th Starter

    Butler, Rashad T 6-4 310 Miami (Fla.) 4th Solid Backup Would like to see him get on the field by either by pushing Winston inside or moving inside himself.

    Practice Squad

    Stenavich, Adam T 6-4 308 Michigan 1st This guy could become a solid backup.

    Crummey, Andrew OL 6-5 301 Maryland 2nd Who????

    I know it sounds crazy but if everyone can come back healthy and we can sign just one quality OG via FA this unit should be solid. These are some of the lineup options that we could be looking at.

    Brown, Duane Pitts, Chester Myers, Chris Caldwell, Antoine Winston, Eric
    OR
    Brown, Duane Pitts, Chester Caldwell, Antoine Brisiel, Mike Winston, Eric
    OR
    Brown, Duane Caldwell, Antoine Myers, Chris FA Winston, Eric
    OR
    Brown, Duane FA Caldwell, Antoine Brisiel, Mike Winston, Eric
    OR
    Brown, Duane Pitts, Chester Caldwell, Antoine FA Winston, Eric
    OR
    Brown, Duane Pitts, Chester Caldwell, Antoine Butler, Rashad Winston, Eric
    OR
    Brown, Duane Pitts, Chester Caldwell, Antoine Winston, Eric Butler, Rashad

    Really any of those lines would be above average and better than what we finished this year with.

    Now lets move on to RB’s. This is where things get tricky.

    Slaton, Steve RB 5-9 215 West Virginia
    Obviously he is the most talented RB we have. The problem is how do we know if he will ever return to last years form and do we go into next season with another weak supporting cast like we did this year? Can we afford to pass up top tier RB talent in the draft and hope for another Slaton like 3rd round or later pick to come in and take over the running game if Slaton is still faltering?

    We’ve gone the FA rout and failed to many times for that to be an option and besides how often does a really good RB make FA? I havent seen one really good backs name mentioned for the upcoming FA period.

    Foster, Arian * RB 6-1 215 Tennessee
    Henry, Chris RB 5-11 230 Arizona
    Moats, Ryan RB 5-8 208 Louisiana Tech
    Johnson, Jeremiah * RB 5-9 210 Oregon

    These guys aren’t real options. Does anyone really want to count on any of them to carry the brunt of the carries next season if Slaton doesn’t return to form or goes down again? Hell no!!! And I guarantee you Kubiak doesn’t. Not In a contract year. Not after what happened this year. IMO we have to and will bring in at least one really talented RB for next season. Someone that Kubiak will feel comfortable with as a starter in case Slaton doesn’t workout. So now that we have that figured out, the next question is what kind of back best fit’s and would help our offense take that next step to elitism! J


    Power or Speed or Combo? There are all three kinds in the upcoming draft. Im going with the (my) assumption that we will draft a RB first day. Here are the backs that I think are worthy of a first day pick and how I think they would help our offense.

    Lets start with the speed backs

    #1A C.J. Spiller 5-10, 195 4.30 Clemson
    Video Highlight
    Video Highlight

    NFL comparison Reggie Bush/Chriss Johnson

    Projection - first round

    My case for Spiller - He is taylor made this offense. He not only gives our running game a boost with his crazy speed he is capable of improving our passing game. Watch the highlight videos above and you will see him turning the same screen plays we run into long TD runs.

    However having a smaller back like Spiller would mean that we would have to continue to more of a pass to set up the run style ala Indy. Its not as big a stretch as some might think. We pretty much did it all year and did it well. You add Spiller to this years offense and I believe our 10 plus yard runs more than double. He also would improve our kickoff return game. Adding another big play threat like Spiller to our offense would make us one of the most dangerous offenses in the league.

    Some will point out that he will have trouble in pass protection because of his size but that is going to be a problem with any rookie RB and I feel like his big play threat will nullify that enough to overlook it. Teams will have to put a spy on him or risk giving up a big play. That means one less blitzer to worry about.

    Others will point out that he isn’t strong enough or big enough to run between the tackles on a regular basis. I agree that in a run oriented offense this would be true. It is my opinion that we stay true to our strengths and continue spread the ball around and get it to our playmakers in the open field. He would flourish in this type offense.

    A Spiller, Slaton combination assuming Slaton returns to last years form could be one of the better more dangerous backfields in all of the NFL. If Slaton doesn’t return we would still have Spiller and Foster as a one two punch and we should be able to find another more traditional RB in FA or later in the draft.

    So going into next season our stable of RB’s would look like this.
    Slaton, Spiller, Foster and Moats or FA or late draft pick. I would really like to see Moats let go and us pick up another bigger back that can get tough yards since he wouldn’t be getting much playing time with Spiller on the team.

    #2 Javid Best 5-9, 195 4.30 California

    NFL comparison Reggie Bush without the receiving ability.

    Video Highlight

    Best is a mirror image of Spiller with the exception of two things. He is a little better at running up the middle but he does not bring the same threat in the passing game. It also may be possible that Best is even more of a liability pass protection. At Cal he was taken out of the game in obvious passing situations. That is pretty telling when you are talking about a back that will be considered a change of pace and third down back in the NFL. Another reason Best is second to Spiller IMO is that he tends to adlib a little to much ala Barry Sanders whereas Spiller seems a little more disciplined at the one cut and go style that the ZB system demands.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  2. mussop

    mussop Hall of Fame

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    I believe I would go the route of a bigger back before I would go with a player like Best. That brings us to the Combo Backs. Backs that have a good size to speed ratio. First on my list is

    #1 Jonathan Dwyer 5-11, 235 4.40 Georgia Tech Video highlight

    NFL comparison Deuce McAllister


    My case for Dwyer - I love Dwyer and wouldn’t be the least bit upset if we decided to take him with our first pick. He has the best combination of size, speed, power and vision in this draft IMO. He can break tackles and he can bust long runs at any time. He’s also an underrated receiver out of the backfield which means he doesn’t have to come out of the game in passing situation where his size could really help in pass protection.

    He is the most underrated RB in this draft IMO. Every time I watched him I came away impressed. He is everything that people say Gerhart is. Two or three years from now Gerhart will be a seldom used forgotten backup like Brian Leonard and Dwyer will be a starter and one of the better young backs in the NFL.



    Ryan Mathews Height: 5-11 215

    NFL comparison Matt Forte

    Projection - Second round

    My case for Mathews - Ryan Mathews is to Dwyer what Best is to Spiller. He’s not as complete as Dwyer but could end up just as good in the right situation. The only problem with Mathews from our standpoint is I don’t think he will still be around when we pick in the second round and he’s not really worth #20. It would be a dream draft if we could trade down and get Iupata in the first and Mathews in the second. That’s going to be hard to do with us sitting at 19 or 20. Anyway this looks like the real deal. Runs with authority, hit’s the hole hard and when he breaks through to the second level hes tough to bring down. Im really looking forward to seeing him at the combine. He’s someone you need to keep your eye on if you want a RB early.


    I really don’t see any other RB worth drafting on the first day. I actually think all of these guys will be gone by the time we are up in the second round. If we cant get a good back in FA and we plan on taking one early we better do it in round one. There really isn’t another back in this draft that I would spend more than a fourth round pick on.

    Anyway I have no doubt we wont be going into next season with the current stable of backs we have now. Besides Slaton who is a question mark until he proves different Foster is the only RB worth bringing back. It will be interesting to see what kind of a back we will take.
     
    JB and Silver Oak like this.
  3. SAMURAITEXAN

    SAMURAITEXAN Subscribed Contributor

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    I am looking forward to Oline from the Broncos to follow Dennison to join the Texans. Perhaps, Chris Kuper?
     
  4. houstonspartan

    houstonspartan Hall of Fame

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    You are getting a major rep for putting all this together. Nice job. I can't comment yet because I'm still reading it. lol.

    Nice job.
     
  5. The Pencil Neck

    The Pencil Neck Subscribed Contributor

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    You must spread some reputation...
     
  6. houstonspartan

    houstonspartan Hall of Fame

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    Me likely Dwyer. He seems focused and a good mix of power and speed.

    I really liked Best's moves, and his impressive cutting, but, as you said, he also doesn't seem very disciplined enough, and I can see him trying to get all fancy with his footwork, and running into issues with coverage. His cutting moves were impressive, but, for some reason, they made me nervous.

    Spiller, in my opinion, is just too small.
     
  7. infantrycak

    infantrycak Mod. Staff Member

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    Well responding to LZ's point comparison, which was a pretty minor difference to build a premise on to begin with, the gap disappears if you consider RZ fumbles. Brown on the 1, Moats on the 5, Foster at the about 8, (Walter phantom offensive PI call), etc. Knock in 50% of those and the gap is non-existent. The problem is pretty clear as well with the passing O ranked 5th on TDs and the rushing O ranked 18th.
     
  8. nero THE zero

    nero THE zero Hall of Fame

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    Yep, those are chance occurences that don't carry from one year to the next. All things being the same, our RZ efficiency should improve next year simply on the virtue of chance.
     


  9. HOU-TEX

    HOU-TEX Ah, Football!

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    I'm kinda old school, but IMO, the ability to run the ball adds some consistency to your entire team. Something the Texans are sorely lacking.
     
  10. HuttoKarl

    HuttoKarl Hall of Fame

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    Please, 8lb. sweet baby Jesus....

    I think he'd be a sweet pickup.
     
  11. infantrycak

    infantrycak Mod. Staff Member

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    Yup and it doesn't have to be high ypc although that is always nice. Classic example, the run oriented attack of the Titans with Eddie George who only had two years over 4.0 ypc and those were at 4.1 ypc. His biggest year he pounded it over 400 times at 3.7 ypc.
     
  12. Texan_Bill

    Texan_Bill Subscribed Contributor

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    I would also factor in OD's absence for half the season. He was on pace to score 10+ TD's. If he had scored 5 more (he had 5 when he went down), that would be good for another 2.18 points per game.
    24.2 points per game + 2.18 = 26.38 points which equals the 26 that LZ mentions.
     
  13. 50boys

    50boys Rookie

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    Nice writeup, I'm still digesting it all. rep+
     
  14. mussop

    mussop Hall of Fame

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    I just wanted to break down our offense and take a close look at where we stand talent wise and offer some solutions for our deficiencies based on statistical analysis. I wasn’t trying to build a premise off of LZ's point comparison. His quote was simply the catalyst that got me thinking how close this offense is to being special despite all the injuries and a lack of a true running game.

    How you took that whole post as a premiss to explain how to close a 2 point scoring gap between us and the elite offenses at a loss to me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  15. cland

    cland Veteran

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    In all honesty, I'm not much of a fan of Spiller, Best, or Dwyer. Not with the picks that we'd have to use to get them. I think the type of back that Spiller and Best seem to be, is too similar to what we've got with Slaton. On the other hand Dwyer looks like a Lendale White type of back that would be better off in a power blocking system. One where the back has a hole assigned, and will hit that hole like a train.

    The type of back we need has been cliched as the "one-cut" back. This type of runner can flow to the assigned side, but has explosiveness in his first cut to take advantage of the seams that the zone-blocking system opens up. He makes a powerful cut, then burst through that hole into open space. This type of back is very different from a 'slashing type of back' that Dwyer seems to be, who stays on the original track.

    Spiller and Best (and Slayton) can make that move so long as they haven't been touched. A real zone runner makes that move even through incidental and non-impacting contact. The best style of runner I can think of is Rashad Mendenhall. Check this video of Rashad: Zone Runner

    Ideally you're looking for a guy with a powerful cut, that break arm tackles, and above protects the ball through traffic. He may not necessarily have the 4.3 or 4.4 speed that you're third-down/speed back brings (or top of the draft runners like AD has) but his ability to powerfully change direction and a vision to see the seam, takes advantage of all the seal blocks that the ZBS is made out of.

    Trust me, if you had a Mendenhall clone and some improvement in our current G/C's, noone would ever be posting that the ZBS is dead.
     
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  16. infantrycak

    infantrycak Mod. Staff Member

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    I thought I made it pretty clear I was responding to the LZ quote and not your suggestions. That's why I didn't quote you and referenced him.
     
  17. mussop

    mussop Hall of Fame

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    Gotcha, Sorry!
     
  18. steelbtexan

    steelbtexan Hall of Fame

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    Yes it would be sweet.

    Pick up Kuper in FA

    Dwyer in the 1st rd. and Asamoah in the 2nd

    The Texans would have the best offense in the league.

    They would have the Quick strike ability with AJ and JJ on the outside and OD controling the middle and an OL that can open up holes for a big fast RB like Dwyer. Then mix in Slaton as a change of pace RB. This offense would be unstoppable.

    The Texans would then be on a level playing field with the Colts. You have to be able to score points and keep Manning off the field to beat them.

    This is what they should do. IMO

    I woulud also try to trade back up into the 2nd rd using draft picks or future draft picks (Kubes is fired if they dont make the playoffs so the future shouldn't matter to him) and draft the best CB they can get. (Amari Spievey would be my choice if possible)
     
  19. cuppacoffee

    cuppacoffee Resident Grouch

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    Are we the only team that doesn't have a variation of the wildcat formation.

    For some reason it seems to confuse defenses the few times it is used during a game.

    Or have I missed it.

    Toby Gerhart from Stanford should solve our red zone problems, first three yards the guy runs as hard as Earl did.



    :coffee:
     
  20. The Pencil Neck

    The Pencil Neck Subscribed Contributor

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    I thought I read somewhere that he's not a free agent, though. Is he a URFA or is he a RFA or is he locked up?

    I mean, he's played 4 years. So, unless they sign a new CBA, he's restricted until his 6th year.

    Right? Or am I messing that up?
     

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