ProFootballFocus "Three to Focus on" – Steelers @ Texans

Discussion in 'Texans Talk' started by Playoffs, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. Playoffs

    Playoffs Subscribed Contributor

    Apr 26, 2008
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    Three to Focus on – Steelers @ Texans
    October 1st, 2011 | Author: Ben Stockwell

    The Houston Texans fell short in their first true test of 2011, as a game they could and possibly should have won in New Orleans ended in defeat. A failure to capitalize on an early advantage and the simple fact that they were playing against Drew Brees and the high scoring Saints offense, proved to be their undoing.

    Now comes test number two, which is a different kind of test altogether as their high powered offense is set to face the incredibly physical and aggressive Pittsburgh Steelers defense. How will their offensive tackles cope with the edge rush? Can their offensive line get blocks on the Steelers interior line and linebackers to keep the ground game going? Can Matt Schaub work the ball down the field, avoiding the hazardous short and intermediate areas where zone blitz coverages will wreak havoc on him? These and many more questions will determine whether the Texans can return to winning ways and gain themselves a “signature” victory.
    1. Controlling the edge
    The Texans’ offense achieved balance last season through the emergence of Arian Foster, but the passing game is still crucial to this offense and to make it work, Matt Schaub will need time to go through all of his reads. Hurried decisions against the Steelers have a nasty habit of finding their way into the arms of defenders, and that’s a recipe that won’t end well for the Texans. If they are to win this game, their offensive tackles must step up and have big games against Lamarr Woodley and James Harrison. The Texans will give their tackles help, but the more they can do on their own, the more scheme flexibility the Texans are left with to attack a high class defense. To this point in the season, Duane Brown has yielded only four pressures and has a pass protection grade of +3.1, which is by far the best season of his career to date, and Eric Winston has yielded two sacks, but is still having a solid season. If Schaub is to have time to make plays down the field, Brown and Winston must rise to the occasion and continue their fine starts to the season.
    2. Andre Johnson vs. Ike Taylor
    At times he has dodged bullets, but the fact remains that to this point in the season, Ike Taylor has only yielded one reception for nine yards on nine passes aimed in his direction. Taylor is the Steelers’ undisputed No. 1 cornerback, and can be expected to cover Andre Johnson this Sunday. This will be Taylor’s sternest test of the season, and he will need to elevate his game if his coverage stats are to remain intact once he leaves Houston. The last time that these two went head to head, we have to go all the way back to week one of the 2008 season when the Texans were on the receiving end of a 38-17 beat down. In that game, Johnson hauled in 10 catches for 112 yards, 5 of which were for 57 yards coming in the coverage of Taylor. If Taylor can stay on Johnson all day and limit him to similar numbers the Steelers will be on to a winner, but that won’t be an easy task against the blend of speed, physicality and precision that Johnson brings.
    3. Getting Foster in the groove
    It seems almost certain that Sunday will see the return of Arian Foster to Houston’s starting lineup, and on his shoulders will rest the responsibility of finding creases through a strong Pittsburgh defense. It will be Foster’s yards that tell the story of whether they win or lose, but the whole Texans’ offensive line is where this will be won or lost. Chris Myers has been the best center in the league this season (+11.5 run block), but can he handle Casey Hampton one on one? Can the Texans guards work to the second level and neutralize the Steelers active inside linebacker trio of James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons and Larry Foote? Can the tackles and tight ends control the Steelers’ outside linebackers, as importantly on the back side as the front side of the play? You couldn’t have much of a tougher return to action than the Steelers for Arian Foster; it will be some feat if the Texans can get their timing down with Foster to spring a big game against the Texans on Sunday.
  2. Allstar

    Allstar Bona fide

    Jan 1, 2006
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    Foster needs to get my fantasy team in the groove (I'm sick).

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