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Apollo Stallion


Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 6548
Location: Austin, TX
PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:01 pm    Post subject: Texans Special Teams Reply with quote

It's something we all complain about every year, but never give it much detailed attention once the season gets rolling, so I figured the Summer might be a good time to give it some run. Pretty much just getting the conversation started here as I'm far from an expert, but figured I'd throw out some info an see where it goes. Starting out with coverage teams.

Texans were dead last in opponent kickoff yards with 1,135 yards and 6th worst by average at 23.6. We had the most kickoffs returned at 48 and worst touchback rate (32%) largely because our kicker can't kick to the end zone. Would love to say that was good strategy with TB's coming out to the 25, but 32% is also our 3 year average. We were one of 7 teams to give up a TD - which is why most teams prefer to just boot it thru the end zone.

Texans were also dead last in opponent punt return yards at 477 yards, again with 48 returns by far the most surrendered with only 13 fair catches. We were 5th worst by yardage at 9.9 yards and of course, one of 9 teams to give up a punt return TD. Lechler was 6th in punt avg at 47.5 and only 3 touchbacks, so he ain't the problem.

Top Tacklers - 2016
Don Jones - 14
Brian Peters - 12
Corey Moore - 12
Robert Nelson - 11
Akeem Dent - 10
Akeem Hunt - 8
Jonathan Grimes - 8

Top Tacklers - 2015
Brian Peters - 18
Max Bullough - 14
Kurtis Drummond - 11
Akeem Dent - 9
Jay Prosch - 8
Daryl Morris - 8
Eddie Pleasant - 8

Brian Peters is the obvious standout here. His totals are from only 14 games last year and 12 in 2015. Dude energized our coverage teams immediately upon arrival and would be considered for the ST's Pro Bowl spot if NE's Matt Slater wasn't given it by default every season and our coverage teams weren't known for being the worst in the NFL for at least 5 years.

Also worth noting that Jon Weeks is considered one of the top long snappers in the NFL. Only 2 of his snaps all season were deemed "inaccurate," by far tops in the NFL.
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Last edited by Apollo Stallion on Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Apollo Stallion


Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 6548
Location: Austin, TX
PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now for the return game...

Kickoffs
29th with an 18.6 avg
Let that sit in a second - touchbacks get you the 25 - we lose 7 yards by fielding kickoffs
Akeem Hunt was the best with 21.6 avg on 9 returns including a 39 yarder
Tyler Ervin returned the most with 18.8 avg on 14 returns inc a 33 yarder
Braxton Miller was laughably bad with Miller avg 13.7 yards on 3 returns
Will Fuller isn't the answer with 15.5 avg on his 2 returns and shouldn't be exposed on kickoffs with his small frame

I suspect it's Ervin and Hunt again this year assuming Hunt makes the roster. Ervin needs to improve and seize the gig and showed on punt returns that as long as he improves ball security, that he could be a solid returner. Really not too many options here as Foreman & Blue don't fit the profile, and the UDFA receivers are all pretty smallish. Braxton Miller's uselessness on ST's needs to improve as we already have Strong as a non-contributor (a factor that could push him off roster).

Punt Returns
Holy crap - competency!!!
7th with a 10.9 avg on 39 returns vs. 29 fair catches
Will Fuller is a dynamic threat with 15.0 avg on 11 returns inc his 67 yd TD
Tyler Ervin was actually pretty good too with 9.7 avg on 27 returns

Ervin was decent as a rookie, but concern is his 3 fumbles which are game killers when it comes to returns. I suspect Wendall Williams could get a look here because 4.19 40. The other UDFA's fit the profile as Punt Returners as well. Fuller will likely reprise his role in high leverage situations, but we didn't draft him as a 1st rounder to return kicks.
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Last edited by Apollo Stallion on Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Apollo Stallion


Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 6548
Location: Austin, TX
PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Final phase of ST's is Field Goals.

The Texans attempted the 2nd most FGs in the league last year with 41 attempts. Unfortunately, the Texans abysmal red zone offense has made us a staple in FG attempts which is almost always a negative stat.

Novak converted 35 of 41 for an 85% which is middle of the pack. He was perfect inside 40, and missed 3 each from 40-49 and 50+ which is solid execution for a kicker.

What was inexcusable was missing 3 XP's, 4th worst in the league. Texans need to figure out what went wrong here as it makes no sense to have a perfect kicker inside the 40 miss 3 from 33 yards after TDs.

Novak's pathetic kickoffs are my only real beef as honestly, kicking inside at least 9 games per season and with most of our road games in good weather, investing in a top notch kicker isn't worth the expense. IMO we already kick vs. go for it too often and we should consider going for 2 more often now that XP's are at 88% vs. 100%. Hopefully Foreman brings some short yardage punch and Watson will be a 4th down asset once he starts.
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PAtexansFAN99


Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 4824
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If Izzo and our ST unit can emerge as one of the best ST units in the league (which I think it has the continuity/talent/coaching to be) then Savage might make it 16 games Rex Grossman-ing it.

I'll believe it when I see it with the offense, but we all know about the defense, and if we can create field position and kick well, we'll probably beat a lot of teams that way.
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EliteTexan80


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Joined: 30 Apr 2007
Posts: 38732
Location: Three time Mr. fanTASTic!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The new forum is the Devin Hester of forums. That's what the Texans need.

http://www.footballsfuture.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=589149
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I wanna be a mod.

vastly over rated.
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