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Playoff Run Tweaks

 
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Apollo Stallion


Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 5604
Location: Battle Red State
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:37 pm    Post subject: Playoff Run Tweaks Reply with quote

So at 6-1 with essentially a 2 game lead on the conference with the head to head win over the Ravens, it's officially time to prepare for the playoff run. The trade deadline is also this week, which is our last chance to make any meaningful additions to the roster considering the dreck that is left out on the waiver wire (see Terrell McClain addition). Obviously we should take nothing for granted and not take our foot off the gas, but IMO there are a few minor tweaks we could do to shore up the second half and our playoff chances. Please add your own:

1) To hell with kickoff coverage teams. Go sign a second kicker to boom kickoffs into the Bull Pen. Ordinarily, I am dead set against wasted roster spots on specialists, but we clearly have spots to burn when we have 6 friggin Guards. I don't know who this is, but big leg, poor accuracy guys dot every preseason roster and if giving up kickoff returns is one vulnerability we have, let's eliminate it. Shayne Graham has been rock solid kicking FGs but he is amongst the worst in the league in kickoff touchbacks. We can absolutely control this variable and get it up to 60%+ touchbacks or teams will have to make Trindon-eque returns from 8 yards deep most likely with Trindon-esque results.

2) Go get another RB. Amongst the season-changers right now would be an injury to Arian (especially this week). Even if he stays healthy, with Tate again injured we are going to keep piling up the workload on Arian which could impact in the playoffs (not to mention next season). I don't think this has to be anything more than raiding the PS of some similar team, but I'm not sure that Davin Meggett is the type we would want to activate to absorb late season carries since he's not going to have Kubs confidence on pass protection or ball security. I also suspect that we could see some post-trade deadline cuts of some vets (James Starks?) and I think we ought to keep our eyes peeled. I simply don't trust Tate at this point. I'd almost be willing to have Ryan Grant gobble up some late season garbage carries. Not protecting Johnathan Grimes was a bit of a gaffe by Smith considering he stuck Cody White on the roster to protect him. Heck, I'd give up a 6th rounder to get Ogbannaya back.

3) Get Tyler Clutts involved. I'd like to see him get a few snaps per game at FB to insure against any James Casey injuries and to see if he is an answer on short yardage situations. One of the plays I scratch up in the sand in short yardage is old school wishbone with Casey and Clutts in the backfield with Casey eventually motioning outside which will draw a LB away from the point of attack and if it doesn't we get the easy uncovered lob to the TE into the endzone. Clutts was a solid lead back for Forte last year and has been under utilized thus far. Furthermore, Casey isn't exactly known for his durability, so some reps for Clutts would provide a bit more comfort level.

4) Get Brandon Harris involved. We need to be circling the Pats game both for week 14 which could clinch the AFC but also as a likely playoff foe. We have to start figuring out how to solve teams like Green Bay & New England that are going to use pinpoint accuracy to eat even good coverage alive and feature TEs that can hurt you. Nobody has a good answer for Gronk, but we need a better answer for Hernandez than Alan Ball. Not saying Harris is that answer, but I'd like to see us use some strategies against 6' 7" Scott Chandler as a test case on how we can double cover a big TE while not getting killed in the slot (Welker) or deep (Lloyd).

5) Start throwing deep to the slot receiver. I don't care if it works, just get it on tape. We need safeties to pay attention to our slot and a few plays is all it takes. Every year Devery Henderson for the Saints gets a few TDs deep running out of the slot then disappears the rest of the season. However, it accomplishes the mission of freeing things up underneath for Lance Moore, Darren Sproles and might make a safety a few steps late helping out on Colston. Sure, we're a different offense, but I'd like to give DCs a few more things to plan for and games against our conference foes would be a great time to unleash Martin or Jean deep, not to mention giving us a few cheap TD's from tendency breakers (vs. Bears perhaps).
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kenney


Joined: 24 Dec 2006
Posts: 11926
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. Dial up the front-seven creativity. What we saw Wade do against Baltimore needs to be par for the course going forward. More than one of us has suggested that the team would be best served finding a way to get Reed, Barwin, and Mercilus on the field together, even before Cushing was injured. According to the people who've reported on it, Reed at ILB is now a component of Wade's "run-stopping Nickel." Good. Move guys around, run a Chaos formation now and then. There are few teams who match our front athletically--take advantage of it.

2. Get Jean back into the mix. Also get creative with that 3-TE bunch.

3. Cut the crap. Start Ben Jones and Ryan Harris and don't look back. Rotating in Caldwell is wasted time and resources considering the extremely high chance that he isn't re-signed. Derek Newton either needs more development or we need to accept that he's a swing-guy at best.

4. Explore cheap trade options at ILB and RB before this Thursday.
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EliteTexan80


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Joined: 30 Apr 2007
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Location: Three time Mr. fanTASTic!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One that comes from me:

- Evaluate some serious trades: Trade deadline was pushed back to November 1st, and these names have come up as potential guys to be had:

- WR Steve Smith, Carolina
- WR Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City
- RB DeAngelo Williams, Carolina
- TE Jared Cook, Tenneesse
- RB Steven Jackson, St. Louis

With the exception of Cook, each one of these guys has a pretty massive contract in two (Cook is a UFA next season and has already signaled that he doesn't want to go back to Titania). This all being said - look at the track record of Smith and Jackson, two immensely talented players who were pillars for the NFL in terms of their performances, stuck on teams going nowhere. IF there was a time to see what the values of these guys are, and their willingness to take a heavy pay cut in pursuit of a ring - now is the time, and Houston is the destination.

While he's seen his best days behind him, the 6' 1" 240+ Jackson has been a mainstay in running the ball, and has already hinted at possibly taking a pay cut for one last run at a SB. Given that Ben Tate is on again/off again with injury, and the continued concerns over the workload for Arian Foster, would it behoove the Texans to package up a 4th, 2013/6th 2014 for Jackson? A big runner with soft hands out of the backfield, does Jackson hold value to a team that has a solid RB corps, yet needs to fortify late season carries? Furthermore, does the declining Jackson see a nine game run plus playoffs with Houston as what could be his final chance to win a ring?

Smith is a trickier proposition, but probably a bigger payout - as last season showed, he's got a gear that he can still tap into, and would be a nice addition to a team that has seen it's best WR slowly turn into a shorter field target. His contract doesn't kick into high dollar amount until 2015, so should the Texans roll the die on someone such as him, with a re-negotiated deal?
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I wanna be a mod.

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AntiSuperstar


Joined: 07 Oct 2007
Posts: 4444
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Play Lester Jean for god's sake. I don't understand what Kubiak isn't seeing with this guy. Big body, good body control in the air, good hands. Get him back on the field and get him the ball.
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lumberjackchris


Joined: 14 Apr 2011
Posts: 4779
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AntiSuperstar wrote:
Play Lester Jean for god's sake. I don't understand what Kubiak isn't seeing with this guy. Big body, good body control in the air, good hands. Get him back on the field and get him the ball.


He's still getting back from his knee scope a couple weeks ago.

Plus why bring out all the stops in the regular season, when our goal is the super bowl. Will bring out different looks when it matters the most.
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