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  • Will the Defense Repeat Itself

    The Defense has high expectations for 2017

    By : Drew Dougherty
    The 2016 Houston Texans defense allowed the fewest yards per game in the NFL.

    On Tuesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center, the 2017 version continued to look stingy.

    "Every year is different," cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. "But after the way we finished the season last year, when you get back out here on the field you rebound off how the year went the year before and just try to get better."

    The veteran corner said the squad was bolstered by the return from injury of defensive end J.J. Watt, as well as safety Kurtis Drummond. The former said he "felt awesome" after Tuesday's work, while the latter picked off a pass in 11-on-11 work.

    "When you start to add some of the guys that were missing last year, and you throw is some of the new draft picks and the rookies, that's the way you start to build your football team and figure out the guys that want to be here," Joseph said. "When you come out here in the OTAs section, guys push one another and go out here and compete, and that's a way you form a cohesiveness and a bond to kind of get to where we want to be in training camp."

    That cohesion remains, according to Watt, despite the elevation of Romeo Crennel from coordinator to assistant head coach and Mike Vrabel from linebackers coach to coordinator.


    "I think it’s great," Watt said. "I think I’ve said all along, to have a guy like Mike come in who is so knowledgeable and so experienced is great. It’s very good for us. But then also to have RAC (Romeo Crennel) out there every single day and still coaching and teaching guys – to have two defensive minds like that – and then with the assistant coaches that we have, we are very fortunate.”

    The team practiced for two hours, and head coach Bill O'Brien liked what he saw. But he also pointed out that September and the regular season is a far cry from what happened on Tuesday.

    "It’s OTAs, it’s no pads so it’s not real football," O'Brien said. "It’s a chance for you to come out here and work on certain things like the passing game and conditioning and things like that – different drills to try to get better individually and as a unit in all three units."

    The Texans will practice again on Thursday, and then start their second week of OTAs next Tuesday.
    sigpic

    Bleeds Texans Blue Red and White Blood.

  • #2
    The defense has been the best part of watching the Texans for quite a while for me. I remember back when Petey F. was allowing any long ball for td whenever an opponent was behind, it just made me crazy, and feel like turning off the tv when the defense took the field.

    We lost some pieces. But we gained some guys too. I like Zach C., long over due pick there. Hope he takes over when his time comes. I really don't know what the defense will do this year, but I am certainly expecting a top 5 unit, anything lower might be a disappointment. If the offense can manage to stay on the field this year, the defensive stats might not be as good, just for that reason alone. Last year we were depending on them to win games, make plays, and be the team. I love watching them, been waiting for Clowney and Watt to get on the field and now that McKinney has shown he is legit, and Mercilus would be the star of the defense if it wasn't for Watt. this is going to be a fun unit to watch this year with most guys heading into the season healthy.

    Health is really the only obstacle in this defensive unit's success this year. Last year they weren't healthy and did pretty darn good. Sky's the limit. These guys could be the wrecking machine that a few team have achieved. Like the purple people eaters, The steel Curtain, Da Bears. lol Yeah, I am expecting a good solid defensive unit this season. I'll say YES!
    Want to learn everything about the Texans cap? There is no better site out there than this one. Thanks Troy. Amazing work buddy!
    TexansCap.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Yosarian View Post
      The defense has been the best part of watching the Texans for quite a while for me. I remember back when Petey F. was allowing any long ball for td whenever an opponent was behind, it just made me crazy, and feel like turning off the tv when the defense took the field.

      We lost some pieces. But we gained some guys too. I like Zach C., long over due pick there. Hope he takes over when his time comes. I really don't know what the defense will do this year, but I am certainly expecting a top 5 unit, anything lower might be a disappointment. If the offense can manage to stay on the field this year, the defensive stats might not be as good, just for that reason alone. Last year we were depending on them to win games, make plays, and be the team. I love watching them, been waiting for Clowney and Watt to get on the field and now that McKinney has shown he is legit, and Mercilus would be the star of the defense if it wasn't for Watt. this is going to be a fun unit to watch this year with most guys heading into the season healthy.

      Health is really the only obstacle in this defensive unit's success this year. Last year they weren't healthy and did pretty darn good. Sky's the limit. These guys could be the wrecking machine that a few team have achieved. Like the purple people eaters, The steel Curtain, Da Bears. lol Yeah, I am expecting a good solid defensive unit this season. I'll say YES!
      Wow 😳 that name Petey Fagans (sp) yeah he was toast every play!

      As for the D up front solid, LBs are solid but not deep. DB... Houston we have a problem! We need a S, depth and maybe a CB.

      As long as the front 7 (6 jury is out on Clowney with JJ back) can get pressure on the QB we should be ok with the "as it stands DBs". If they don't, could be ugly. I hope Clowney plays well, but with JJ he plays a hybrid type position half OLB and half DE. It has not gotten the best results. Maybe they put him at the other DE spot and not the hybrid role. That probably would be better.
      JJ Watt & Co ready to destroy

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Yosarian View Post
        The defense has been the best part of watching the Texans for quite a while for me. I remember back when Petey F. was allowing any long ball for td whenever an opponent was behind, it just made me crazy, and feel like turning off the tv when the defense took the field.

        We lost some pieces. But we gained some guys too. I like Zach C., long over due pick there. Hope he takes over when his time comes. I really don't know what the defense will do this year, but I am certainly expecting a top 5 unit, anything lower might be a disappointment. If the offense can manage to stay on the field this year, the defensive stats might not be as good, just for that reason alone. Last year we were depending on them to win games, make plays, and be the team. I love watching them, been waiting for Clowney and Watt to get on the field and now that McKinney has shown he is legit, and Mercilus would be the star of the defense if it wasn't for Watt. this is going to be a fun unit to watch this year with most guys heading into the season healthy.

        Health is really the only obstacle in this defensive unit's success this year. Last year they weren't healthy and did pretty darn good. Sky's the limit. These guys could be the wrecking machine that a few team have achieved. Like the purple people eaters, The steel Curtain, Da Bears. lol Yeah, I am expecting a good solid defensive unit this season. I'll say YES!

        Agreed,

        I am pretty hyped about the defense as well. Wilfork will be missed on that front 7 but Reader, Watkins and Covington (situational downs) should be able to fill that huge void.

        Om loving the LB core and like you Im extremely excited to see what Cunningham will bring to the table. Dude is so versatile, he can do it all. He's the missing piece. We always needed a LB who could cover backs and Tight ends.

        Im not too concerned with the losses to our secondary. I believe Hal, Pleasant, Moore, Nelson, Drummond, Ballentine and the rook Decoud will be pretty good this year.
        sigpic

        Bleeds Texans Blue Red and White Blood.

        Comment


        • #5
          I for one believe the defense will continue it's dominance

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Matt_in_KW View Post
            Wow 😳 that name Petey Fagans (sp) yeah he was toast every play!

            As for the D up front solid, LBs are solid but not deep. DB... Houston we have a problem! We need a S, depth and maybe a CB.

            As long as the front 7 (6 jury is out on Clowney with JJ back) can get pressure on the QB we should be ok with the "as it stands DBs". If they don't, could be ugly. I hope Clowney plays well, but with JJ he plays a hybrid type position half OLB and half DE. It has not gotten the best results. Maybe they put him at the other DE spot and not the hybrid role. That probably would be better.
            Yeah. And remember Pollard at safety? I actually could forgive Pollard for being so slow, because of his intensity and the fact that until he came along our defense was a bunch of pansies. He brought the live wire, so he was slow as slow gets, got beat easily and was a huge liability, but he finally gave us some fire. He was the turning point in the defenses identity...I think, as a player. Of course having Wade and Crennel hasn't hurt either. Pollard was the start of it all in my opinion. Big hitter who never backed down from a big hit.

            I want Clowney and Watt on opposing ends and let Merci freelance with Cush. McKinney can tow the line fill the gaps etc.

            ======================
            Baller - I don't think Vince will be missed to much the way Covington was playing last year. Missed as a seasoned vet and all around good locker room presence but beyond that, i think with Cov and reader and Watkins developing, I love our front 7. Johnson looked graet, JJo can play even if he does the self preservation thing a few times too many for me, and we'll be okay. Safety isn't too hard to play if you got speed. I'm with you. The way they passed on some starter safetys in the draft makes me think they are not worried about that position either.
            Want to learn everything about the Texans cap? There is no better site out there than this one. Thanks Troy. Amazing work buddy!
            TexansCap.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Yosarian View Post

              Yeah. And remember Pollard at safety? I actually could forgive Pollard for being so slow, because of his intensity and the fact that until he came along our defense was a bunch of pansies. He brought the live wire, so he was slow as slow gets, got beat easily and was a huge liability, but he finally gave us some fire. He was the turning point in the defenses identity...I think, as a player. Of course having Wade and Crennel hasn't hurt either. Pollard was the start of it all in my opinion. Big hitter who never backed down from a big hit.

              I want Clowney and Watt on opposing ends and let Merci freelance with Cush. McKinney can tow the line fill the gaps etc.

              ======================
              Baller - I don't think Vince will be missed to much the way Covington was playing last year. Missed as a seasoned vet and all around good locker room presence but beyond that, i think with Cov and reader and Watkins developing, I love our front 7. Johnson looked graet, JJo can play even if he does the self preservation thing a few times too many for me, and we'll be okay. Safety isn't too hard to play if you got speed. I'm with you. The way they passed on some starter safetys in the draft makes me think they are not worried about that position either.
              Pollard was good but yes, he was very slow. He sure made people know he hit them!
              JJ Watt & Co ready to destroy

              Comment


              • #8
                How the Texans' top-ranked defense can get even better

                ESPN
                WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- The Houston Texans' defense ended the 2016 season ranked first in total defense and second in passing defense.

                The unit also tied for 26th in the NFL in takeaways, forcing just 17 turnovers.

                “One of the things we talked about as soon as we got back for OTAs is creating turnovers,” cornerback Kareem Jackson said. “We feel like as a defense unit, that’s our job, to create turnovers. If we can improve on that as well as continue to get better in some of the other defensive categories and situational football, [we will] continue to progress as a group.”

                Linebacker Brian Cushing agrees that forcing turnovers has been a point of emphasis this offseason. In 2016, teams scored on 52 percent of drives after forcing a turnover (not including interception or fumble-return touchdowns that happen on the same play), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

                “Obviously, we understand how critical a point in the game it can be, and it’s a huge momentum-changing factor,” Cushing said. “So, it’s one of the things we always stress. We try to get after the ball as best as we possibly can. Practice is one thing and doing it in a game is another thing. So, we’ll continue to try to focus on it, stress it in practice, and try to do it the best we can.”

                Almost two weeks into training camp, the Texans’ quarterbacks have done a good job of protecting the football. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph said while that’s a good thing for the team overall, “from a defensive standpoint, we’ve got to get some of those balls.”

                “Any time you have a chance for [a takeaway], you have to capitalize on it,” Joseph said. “Obviously you can’t make them all, but when you have that chance, you’ve to try to make extreme effort just to make that play.”

                Joseph said the Texans have several drills the defense takes part in during training camp, working on scenarios involving tipped or deflected balls, strip-sacks, a punch-out from the running back or an interception.

                “Each and every day, every situation, you want guys knocking the ball out, trying to hit the ball out,” Joseph said. "If you have an interception or a chance to make it, you’ve got to come down with the play.”

                And despite the fact that the Texans’ defense was so strong last season, head coach Bill O’Brien knows his team needs to improve in the category that can be game-changing.

                “Turnovers are a key stat in this league,” O’Brien said. “If you can take care of the ball and you can take the ball away, then you have a real chance to win a lot of games. We’re practicing [forcing turnovers] and I’m sure every team is practicing that. That’s a key stat in our league. That really defines winning and losing.”

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here is my obligatory "They better!!" response.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How Romeo Crennel, Mike Vrabel get most of Texans' defense

                    Willie McGinest/NFL.com analyst
                    The Houston Texans operated under Romeo Crennel's great defensive mind for the past three seasons. But with Crennel shifting to a new position -- officially, assistant head coach/defense -- first-time DC Mike Vrabel gets his hand at being in charge of play calling. If I know one thing from my years playing under Crennel and alongside Vrabel in New England over a decade ago, it's that this unit is in great hands.

                    The Texans fielded a top-10 defense under Wade Phillips before the Bill O'Brien-Crennel era began in 2014. But the unit has become more dynamic and productive since then -- ranking in the top three in total defense in each of the past two seasons -- in part because of Crennel's experience combined with his coaching philosophies. Of course, this is a talented group, but don't sell the coaching short here. I got the privilege to learn from Crennel for seven seasons in New England (1994-'96 and 2001-'04) and three in Cleveland (2006-08). He's a very thorough coach and one of the best communicators I've ever worked with. Crennel has a knack for assessing talent and, most importantly, puts his players in position to succeed based on their strengths or weaknesses. He is one of the few coaches who truly devises schemes and game plans according to his players' skill sets, as opposed to wedging guys into systematic roles. Jadeveon Clowneyis a perfect example of this.

                    Yes, injuries have hindered Clowney in his young career. But even so, when Clowney's been at his best, his hand is in the dirt, eliminating pass coverage duties. He is, however, very capable of playing outside linebacker (his official listed position on the Texans' 2017 depth chart). We saw Clowney excel as a DE last season as a force to be wreckoned with, applying pressure to the quarterback and being disruptive with hurries. Personally, I think Clowney's talent and skill set characterizes him as a true defensive end, a position where he can take his game to another level, which we saw in 2016 with the absense of J.J. Watt.

                    Vrabel's playing career played out in a similar manner, sliding from linebacker to his hand in the dirt, being effective at both positions. An athletic and effective guy, Vrabel played in Crennel's defensive system with the Patriots in the early 2000s, and the familiarity with Crennel led him to Houston as a linebackers coach in 2014. Vrabel, one of the smartest people I've ever played with, has been able to tap into Crennel's wealth of knowledge (34-plus years coaching in the NFL), and that's a big reason Vrabel's in the position he's in. He knows, like others who ascend through the coaching ranks, that no matter how long you're involved with the game, you can always learn more. Vrabel has a knack for understanding situational football and knows how to adjust when the offenses attempt to exploit his defense through formations and personnel packages. With his understanding, Vrabel's defense will be unpredictable and dictate what offenses are doing more often than not.

                    A lot of what the Texans' defense does is consistent schematically to what Vrabel actually played in with the Patriots. I'm not going to give plays away here but when a play is called out, it tells players the type of coverage -- zone or man -- each person's responsibility and what adjustments should be carried out during the play. Given the fact that he actually did it and is still in great shape, the coach has the ability to physically run players through a drill or play. It's one thing to write a play on the board or hand over a piece of paper; it's another to give players a visual.

                    There are a lot of moving parts to Houston's defensive scheme -- first implemented by Crennel -- and if players don't communicate, the unit is dead in the water. The defense has improved steadily over the last three seasons because of the amount of time spent preparing and practicing situational football -- something we did in New England. We were put into certain situations and coaches weren't allowed to chime in. We had to figure it out. Once you go through that chaotic situation, where guys are stressing out, trying to figure out calls and make adjustments on the fly, units begin understanding and communicating, making the game easier along the way.

                    Certain players struggled to understand and pick up Crennel's philosophies, which was a more sophisticated style than they were used to, in his first year, but the Texans have digested them and their play has shown the improvement. Under Crennel, the defense has given up an average of less than 20 points per game over a three-year span. The possibilities for this defense are endless at this stage with big-time playmakers in Clowney, J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Johnathan Joseph and Benardrick McKinney, among others. The amount of talent Vrabel has to work with allows him to create mismatches against a ton of offenses.

                    When we started our championship run in New England during the early 2000s, our defense -- led by Crennel -- was the foundation. The Tom Brady-led offense has certainly elevated play since then, but right now, I see similarities between this Houston team and those early Patriots squads. The Texans have built a defense that's ready to win and it can under the direction of Crennel and Vrabel. Now, it's about finding the offensive performance to match.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jkeener71 View Post
                      Here is my obligatory "They better!!" response.
                      Agree ! I would like this years D be compared to the 85 Bears D or be considered better ? I think the talent is there with1st stringers , question is depth and staying Healthy .

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                      • #12
                        Welp, we gave up 29 to the Jaguars at home. Time of possession was 50/50%.

                        What did you see?

                        Do we miss RAC, yet? Or Bouye? Or Simon?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by H2O4me View Post
                          Welp, we gave up 29 to the Jaguars at home. Time of possession was 50/50%.

                          What did you see?

                          Do we miss RAC, yet? Or Bouye? Or Simon?
                          I miss Kubiaks offense. His scheme with DeShawn Watson under center would be magical. Pair that with our current defense (which is miles better than what we saw yesterday) and you would have a perennial winner.

                          $ In Bill We Trust &

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The defense keeps repeating itself. Theyre saying " What the heck happened?" over and over.
                            Houston Texans...Squandering JJs talent for another year with bad QB play...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I saw Demps get steamrolled by Julio on a td this weekend lol

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