Wish to make a one time donation? Make it here.

The truth about our LBs

thunderkyss

It's good to be me... again.
Staff member
Contributor's Club
Tell me how you really feel.

I was shocked McKinney made the ProBowl. I thought he played well... but better than all the other MLBs in the AFC? No. Among the top 5? No. Well enough to win a popularity contest? No.

At least I didn't think so. Most likely I'm wrong.

I'm also disappointed in Cunningham.

Personally I think our coverage issues are as much on these two LBs as it was on our CBs. They're supposed to own the short to intermediate middle of the field, & they don't.

McKinney can stop the run, no doubt. But he's absent from the pass rush & missing in pass coverage.

Cunningham... have we found out what he's good at yet?

I like Dylan Cole & Brennan Scarlett as depth. But I think we're seeing way too much of them.

What do you think?
 

JB

Old Curmudgeon
Contributor's Club
McK is a plus on inside runs and a big negative on stretch plays and any kind of coverage. Cunningham is ok on stretch rushes and a disappointment in coverage
 

Seegara

Guitar Picker, Dog Lover, Woodworker
Tell me how you really feel.

I was shocked McKinney made the ProBowl. I thought he played well... but better than all the other MLBs in the AFC? No. Among the top 5? No. Well enough to win a popularity contest? No.

At least I didn't think so. Most likely I'm wrong.

I'm also disappointed in Cunningham.

Personally I think our coverage issues are as much on these two LBs as it was on our CBs. They're supposed to own the short to intermediate middle of the field, & they don't.

McKinney can stop the run, no doubt. But he's absent from the pass rush & missing in pass coverage.

Cunningham... have we found out what he's good at yet?

I like Dylan Cole & Brennan Scarlett as depth. But I think we're seeing way too much of them.

What do you think?
Amen, Bro, to the bolded part. I'd like to see more of Cole & Scarlett standing in for those no-cover ILB's.
.
 

ArlingtonTexan

Moderator
Staff member
I think more than anything, neither starter is a true 2020 type LBer. They are still average to good overall players with solid depth guys. There are not many obvious modern ILB in this draft so outside of a late round guy sitting around who fits the "metric" of Gaine, not expecting much to change here until next offseason at the earliest.
 

powda

Rooting for Captain Tripps
McK looks very good against the run. In coverage he's small zone only or maybe best as a qb spy. If I don't see improvement soon I start to think he's a 2 down backer only. He had a good season ,but I was surprised to see a nod to the pro bowl as well.

Cunningham looked very good in coverage to me as a rookie. Has good speed, lateral movement, and back pedal. That said, he was far worse last year. Not sure what happened. Injury? More reads on defense? Idk. One false step in coverage is enough to make anyone look bad. I think he has the talent and I think it can be corrected with coaching.

Keep in mind RAC's m.o. was always to allow things underneath and force long drives. Offenses have to be efficient for more plays and the d has more chance for turnover. Does that force lb's to allow more space underneath and look worse in coverage then they really are?

I'm not down on either but that's because their both young and I presume they will both get better.
 

Corrosion

Idealist
Staff member
McK is a plus on inside runs and a big negative on stretch plays and any kind of coverage. Cunningham is ok on stretch rushes and a disappointment in coverage
That's what has me puzzled about Cunningham , that was his biggest strength coming out and why he was my favorite defensive player in that draft … Yeah , he's disappointed in that regard. Maybe he puts it all together this season ….


McK looks very good against the run. In coverage he's small zone only or maybe best as a qb spy. If I don't see improvement soon I start to think he's a 2 down backer only. He had a good season ,but I was surprised to see a nod to the pro bowl as well.

I think you hit the nail on the proverbial head here. Obvious passing downs , he shouldn't be on the field.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JB

Texansphan

All Pro
Yeah right!
Looks like those two were the meat of our defense last season.
Tough group to please in here.
They may not be perfect, but I don't really see any rookie LB outside the top that will be better.
An upgrade in the trench would help them though no doubt and also an upgrade in the D backfield, but there's no way I'm about to complain about BMac or Cunningham.
 

thunderkyss

It's good to be me... again.
Staff member
Contributor's Club
Yeah right!
Looks like those two were the meat of our defense last season.
Tough group to please in here.
They may not be perfect, but I don't really see any rookie LB outside the top that will be better.
An upgrade in the trench would help them though no doubt and also an upgrade in the D backfield, but there's no way I'm about to complain about BMac or Cunningham.
Not seeing those two as the meat of the defense from those team stats. As a whole the defense played well, over the course of the year. But situationally not so much.

BMac is already being used as a 2 down backer. He didn't miss a game due to injury, but when healthy he was still being replaced by Cole in passing situations.

We saw too much, imo of Cole & Scarlett. Kudos to them for earning a spot on the field. But two 2nd round LBs shouldn't need to be replaced regularly.

There are holes in their game & shouldn't be.
 

Texansphan

All Pro
Not seeing those two as the meat of the defense from those team stats. As a whole the defense played well, over the course of the year. But situationally not so much.

BMac is already being used as a 2 down backer. He didn't miss a game due to injury, but when healthy he was still being replaced by Cole in passing situations.

We saw too much, imo of Cole & Scarlett. Kudos to them for earning a spot on the field. But two 2nd round LBs shouldn't need to be replaced regularly.

There are holes in their game & shouldn't be.
Did you see the stats for the defense?
Those two topped the tackle count and daylight was third.
 

banned1976

American
Not seeing those two as the meat of the defense from those team stats. As a whole the defense played well, over the course of the year. But situationally not so much.

BMac is already being used as a 2 down backer. He didn't miss a game due to injury, but when healthy he was still being replaced by Cole in passing situations.

We saw too much, imo of Cole & Scarlett. Kudos to them for earning a spot on the field. But two 2nd round LBs shouldn't need to be replaced regularly.

There are holes in their game & shouldn't be.
Situations, like every damn 3rd down type of situations!?
 

thunderkyss

It's good to be me... again.
Staff member
Contributor's Club
Did you see the stats for the defense?
Those two topped the tackle count and daylight was third.
I'm on my phone, maybe they condensed the page. Only showing team stats. But I'm not going to argue they weren't the leading tacklers on the team.

As good as they are I'm saying they aren't as well rounded or complete players they should be. I thought McKinney was Cushing's replacement. He's not. He & Cole are.
 

zshawn10

All Pro
Tell me how you really feel.

I was shocked McKinney made the ProBowl. I thought he played well... but better than all the other MLBs in the AFC? No. Among the top 5? No. Well enough to win a popularity contest? No.


What do you think?
He also was second team all pro in 2016
 
  • Like
Reactions: JB

powda

Rooting for Captain Tripps
I really don't think tk asked anything unfair here. Our lbs wont single handedly lead us to a sb or a 1-15 season. I think they're a bit above average in general, but I remember a lot of moments last year where they lacked in coverage.

However, I do disagree on the premise of improved corner play helping them (or not as he suggested.) Specifically in zone coverage.
 

Corrosion

Idealist
Staff member
Did you see the stats for the defense?
Those two topped the tackle count and daylight was third.

How many of those tackles came on 1st or 2nd down ?

2nd down and obvious passing / 3rd down and 4+ …. McKinney is a liability and Cunningham was a disappointment because coverage was supposed to be his best attribute.
 

Texansphan

All Pro
Not seeing those two as the meat of the defense from those team stats. As a whole the defense played well, over the course of the year. But situationally not so much.

BMac is already being used as a 2 down backer. He didn't miss a game due to injury, but when healthy he was still being replaced by Cole in passing situations.

We saw too much, imo of Cole & Scarlett. Kudos to them for earning a spot on the field. But two 2nd round LBs shouldn't need to be replaced regularly.

There are holes in their game & shouldn't be.
Did you see the stats for the defense?
Those two topped the tackle count and daylight was third.
I'm on my phone, maybe they condensed the page. Only showing team stats. But I'm not going to argue they weren't the leading tacklers on the team.

As good as they are I'm saying they aren't as well rounded or complete players they should be. I thought McKinney was Cushing's replacement. He's not. He & Cole are.
You would have to go Mack Wilson Al. @#54 or#55.
I have
How many of those tackles came on 1st or 2nd down ?

2nd down and obvious passing / 3rd down and 4+ …. McKinney is a liability and Cunningham was a disappointment because coverage was supposed to be his best attribute.
Based on what?
 

Texansphan

All Pro
Not seeing those two as the meat of the defense from those team stats. As a whole the defense played well, over the course of the year. But situationally not so much.

BMac is already being used as a 2 down backer. He didn't miss a game due to injury, but when healthy he was still being replaced by Cole in passing situations.

We saw too much, imo of Cole & Scarlett. Kudos to them for earning a spot on the field. But two 2nd round LBs shouldn't need to be replaced regularly.

There are holes in their game & shouldn't be.
Did you see the stats for the defense?
Those two topped the tackle count and daylight was third.
I'm on my phone, maybe they condensed the page. Only showing team stats. But I'm not going to argue they weren't the leading tacklers on the team.

As good as they are I'm saying they aren't as well rounded or complete players they should be. I thought McKinney was Cushing's replacement. He's not. He & Cole are.
You would have to go Mack Wilson Al. @#54 or#55.
I have
How many of those tackles came on 1st or 2nd down ?

2nd down and obvious passing / 3rd down and 4+ …. McKinney is a liability and Cunningham was a disappointment because coverage was supposed to be his best attribute.
Based on what?
How many times did this defense give up 2nd and long , 3rd and long conversions ….
You're telling the story.
 

Corrosion

Idealist
Staff member
Did you see the stats for the defense?
Those two topped the tackle count and daylight was third.

You would have to go Mack Wilson Al. @#54 or#55.
I have
Based on what?

You're telling the story.
Tackle count doesn't always tell the story.

Remember Foreman …. Dude piled up the tackle numbers , a large percentage of those 5-6 yards downfield.

Its not a real telling statistic for a LBer …. they are by design going to pile up tackle numbers.


Really this argument is pointless - we aren't going to upgrade either McKinney or Cunningham in this draft , there are just too many holes elsewhere.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JB

JB

Old Curmudgeon
Contributor's Club
Because he wasn't on the field in many of those situations ?!
McKinney is certainly a liability in the passing game. He is a plus in the run game unless he needs to run sideline to sideline. Cunningham is the big disappointment to me. I expected him to blanket RB's and TE's and it hasn't happened
 

Corrosion

Idealist
Staff member
McKinney is certainly a liability in the passing game. He is a plus in the run game unless he needs to run sideline to sideline. Cunningham is the big disappointment to me. I expected him to blanket RB's and TE's and it hasn't happened

I think that's what I said above …. :corrosion:
 

xtruroyaltyx

Hall of Fame
I think they are average overall.

Not a big weakness. Not a huge strength.
If you can get a stud there go for it, but I think that if you improve the secondary and get consistent production consummate with their talent level from the pass rush then this defense is good enough with the players they have at ilb.

Most Super Bowl teams have a weakness somewhere.

Up to the coach and gm to minimize those weaknesses by player acquisition and...dun dun dunnn...scheme...
 

Max

Veteran
I think most players have weaknesses that coaches try to work around and our LB's aren't off the table for criticism, but overall, I'm happy w/ BMac and Cunningham. Cunningham diagnoses and gets to the sidelines VERY fast. BMac did poorly in coverage 2 years ago (why he rushed the qb so much) but dropped into coverage much more last year and showed improvement. I don't think either are great in coverage but they aren't terrible either. The way I look at it is this -- positions I'd like to see upgraded before McKinney and Cunningham: LT, LG, C, RT, TE, NT, DE, CB1, CB2, S
 

DocBar

Hall of Fame
Contributor's Club
I think most players have weaknesses that coaches try to work around and our LB's aren't off the table for criticism, but overall, I'm happy w/ BMac and Cunningham. Cunningham diagnoses and gets to the sidelines VERY fast. BMac did poorly in coverage 2 years ago (why he rushed the qb so much) but dropped into coverage much more last year and showed improvement. I don't think either are great in coverage but they aren't terrible either. The way I look at it is this -- positions I'd like to see upgraded before McKinney and Cunningham: LT, LG, C, RT, TE, NT, DE, CB1, CB2, S
I think the Texans are good at TE and NT. I agree with the rest, if not the order listed.
 

Speedy

Yeller Dweller
Top 25 in what regard? I'm being serious. What metrics do you use regarding LBs? BTW, I really didn't have a point to make other than beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
https://athlonsports.com/nfl/nfl-linebacker-rankings
I was just seriously asking the question. You brought up their tackles numbers. At least I assume that’s why you provided the link. What was the point there? They’re not in the top 25 in the league in tackles so I don’t get the point you were trying to make with it.
 

Texansphan

All Pro
I think most players have weaknesses that coaches try to work around and our LB's aren't off the table for criticism, but overall, I'm happy w/ BMac and Cunningham. Cunningham diagnoses and gets to the sidelines VERY fast. BMac did poorly in coverage 2 years ago (why he rushed the qb so much) but dropped into coverage much more last year and showed improvement. I don't think either are great in coverage but they aren't terrible either. The way I look at it is this -- positions I'd like to see upgraded before McKinney and Cunningham: LT, LG, C, RT, TE, NT, DE, CB1, CB2, S
From what I have seen, they are as good as any in the league stopping the run, perhaps not as good in the passing plays.
No team is going to ALWAYS have studs at every position.
I said it after the WC game that we lacked enough push up front to put pressure on the QB.
If we can get more push up the middle it stops the passer stepping up in the pocket.
Texans typically rush the passer well from the edge but not as good up the middle.
A good push in the trenches also helps the secondary so it makes sense to bring in a big NT who can get push rather than trying to replace two ilbs with rookies.
This coming season will only be Cunninghams third so perhaps we can see some improvement from him.
 

Uncle Rico

Ur apology should be as loud as Ur disrespect was
Having to bring in a "Tight End Whisperer" says it all. You have two thumpers on the inside who cant run in open space against pass catching TEs let alone a WR mismatch. With so much exotic passing happening on early downs it mitigates the strength of these guys. Its like you have two of the same type of player. Hash mark to hash mark they are great. Hated how McKinney got the huge contract and then started the season bad, but he bounced back.
 

JB

Old Curmudgeon
Contributor's Club
From what I have seen, they are as good as any in the league stopping the run, perhaps not as good in the passing plays.
No team is going to ALWAYS have studs at every position.
I said it after the WC game that we lacked enough push up front to put pressure on the QB.
If we can get more push up the middle it stops the passer stepping up in the pocket.
Texans typically rush the passer well from the edge but not as good up the middle.
A good push in the trenches also helps the secondary so it makes sense to bring in a big NT who can get push rather than trying to replace two ilbs with rookies.
This coming season will only be Cunninghams third so perhaps we can see some improvement from him.
That's why Gaine and OB have said that IDL (not necessarily NT) is another big need. Would love Wilkins at #23
 

gs27

Veteran
We need a field general on the back half of the defense. McKinney isn't it, Cunningham isn't an every down player. Texans look like a monkey ******* a football way to much on defense. Mathieu helped a little but now he is gone also.
 

Texansphan

All Pro
We need a field general on the back half of the defense. McKinney isn't it, Cunningham isn't an every down player. Texans look like a monkey ******* a football way to much on defense. Mathieu helped a little but now he is gone also.
Patrick Peterson?
 

Texansphan

All Pro
I think JJoe is a leader, but he can't be the general playing corner, just like Watt can't as a pass rusher. Needs to be a linebacker or safety in the middle.
That is why Cushing was such a big loss.
Add in the fact that we lost Foster at the same time and its easy to see why this team is discombobulated.
Another year together in this new identity forming phase should see some improvement.
 

Texansphan

All Pro
Yes. That's basically my point. It's not a need the same as OL, but if BPA is a stud LB... we should nab him.
Do you like Devin Bush?
Drafttek shows him at 23...
That would create a big quandry if they had an OL or CB they liked available too as Bush is highly ranked.
 


Top