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How they scored against the Texans
Quarterbacks - If Keith Null didn't earn the keys to the truck for the final two games of the season, I'll lose serious confidence in this staff. Null rebounded nicely from the 5 INT performance against Tennessee. He again looked poised and calm in the pocket. He delivered the ball in rhythm and rarely looked confused. He spread the ball around to many targets. He made several audibles on the line, including one that resulted in a nice gain to McMichael. His pass to Gibson in traffic was a big league throw. His INT was garbage, but Null knows that - that play might have worked in D. II. The coaches must have confidence in this kid, they employed four and five receiver sets throughout the day. Null is argubly playing at the same level Bulger and Boller did with even less to work with.
Running Backs - Geez. What is there to say about Jackson. He continues to run with incredible heart despite being hurt, with a very raw offensive line. He showed great burst getting around the edge on the long run today, and made some nice moves on a screen pass that got big yards. He ran away from Karney a couple times and missed some big holes. Regardless, Jackson is keeping this team afloat, and his teammates feed off his energy. Darby has solidified the third down role, touching the ball five times, and converting first downs on four of them. Blitz pickup was so-so
Offensive Line - Tough to grade this group today. The tackles did a solid job, keeping pressure off of Null around the edges. Most of the problems came up the middle on delayed blitzes. Null has to recognize these and get out of the way. Run blocking was below average today. Occasionally, these guys would blow Jackson open a nice hole, but he was stopped for a loss way too many times. There are numerous reasons for this, and a raw offensive line with too many new starters is one of them.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends - Wishy-washy day for this group. Avery made the most out of the shorter passes he caught. He had a DB beat deep down the sideline but Null just barely missed him. Gibson ran a slick route to get open in a Texan zone. Amendola caught his first touchdown on an awesome call by Shurmur. Martin was seen early again, but disspaeared after that. Not much production from tight ends.
Defensive Line - Great day against the run. The trio of Cliff Ryan, Dorrell Scott, and Leger Douzable has come on of late. Six tackles for no gain or loss by these three. Long held up well against the run today, and make some sick moves on pass rushes. He nearly got to Schaub about a half dozen times, using a variety of bull rushes and spin moves. The Texans resorted to double teaming him about half the time. No pressure at all off the other end. James Hall made a play that must be seen, dropping back into coverage and running stride for stride with a receiver to prevent a completion. Best game of the year against the run, as the year interior defensive line continues to gel.
Linebackers - Seemingly quite day from this group, partially because of the good perfomance by the defensive line. Few plays got into this level of the defense. Alll three supported the run fairly well, but they do not get deep enough in coverage. Laurinaitus is incredibly smart, and it showed in him smelling out a misdirection pass across the field to the tight end on play action. He noticed immediately, and started out of position, but corrected to stop the play. Paris Lenon had a nice pass breakup and forced a fumble. We need a rangy player here. Very few, if any, blitzing from this group.
Secondary - There is a problem with the scheme here overall, and I think this is because of the lack of pass rush. There was a plan today, and that was to keep Andre Johnson in front of them. The Texans made several plays to Johnson where we had him covered well, but they intentionally underthrew him, to which Johnson came back and made the easy catch. Great tackling from this group today, minus Gorrer's horrible missed tackle. Butler and Dahl were beastly against the run. Bartell also supported well and had a nice pass breakup on Johnson in the endzone. King is still learning in coverage, but he is a very physical tackler. This unit will improve drastically if we ever get a pass rush. They are having to play way too soft in the zone.
Grade: C- for coverage, A for run support
Special Teams - Very nice day again for this group against one of the best special teams units in the league. Coverage was fairly sound. Amendola busted a big return. Brown hit another 50 yarder, and is quietly having a nice season, converting 80% of his kicks, many of them from 50 plus. Jones was Jones.
Coaching - Offensively, we saw Shurmur open the playbook. He's been doing this a little more each week, employing some wide open four and five receiver sets this week. Beautiful call on the TD to Amendola. We run WAY too much on 1st down. Defensively, I think they did what they wanted to accomplish, and it kept us in the game. We need to find some way to get more of a pass rush. Spags made a gutsy call on the first 4th down to convert. At first, I didn't like him punting on 4th and 10 near the end, but in retrospect, it was the right, if not unpopular call, in that case. Amazing job of keeping the guys motivated despite the beatdown last week and the 1-12 record coming in.
Re: How they scored against the Texans
-12-21-2009 #3The Rammer Guest
-12-21-2009 #5Mooselini Guest
Re: How they scored against the Texans
Seems as if Shurmur opened the playbook past page two. That call to Amendola reminded me of a play Wes Welker would do. Amendola deserved a touchdown yesterday.
Keith Null has to finish the year off. Who knows, with more practice and time with our starters, we might be a good choice for QB next year. And please, don't throw the "he's from a small school" crap at me. A kid from a big school won't develop into a good player without time either. We need to give him all the time in the world, who knows, we might not have to draft a QB next year.
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