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Joined: 07 Oct 2007
Posts: 4444
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EliteTexan80 wrote:
That's kind of my take on it as well. The biggest compliment this team gets is how deep we are, how we're one of the most balanced teams in the NFL this year. Given that, we SHOULD have one of the better ST units out there, as guys who could be starters elsewhere are actually getting the bulk of their snaps on ST.

Yet...well, our ST units don't reflect that. Why?

Not really. Special Teams skills and offensive and defensive skills aren't necessarily the same. It's much harder for a team that's good on offense and defense to have a great Special Teams, it usually means having not just a couple but several guys who are great on Special Teams while also being at least solid on offense or defense(and really you have to have some starters who are good on Special Teams, not many people realize for example when James Harrison was at his peak with the Steelers as an Outside Linebacker he was also running people down on kickoffs and punts). It's doable, but not easily.

In the Texans case, you have to remember that outstanding kickers and punters(and in the case of kickers I'm referring to them in the context of kickoffs not field goals) can do a lot to make the job of the rest of the players a heck of a lot easier and the Texans don't really have that. Kickoff wise the Texans are weak compared to most teams and punting wise they're not bad but not especially talented either.

When you add that with a number of players on the roster who are there because they are young, developing players and not because they're contributors(like Brandon Harris, who has only been activated two games or Roc Carmichael), and when none of your starting players(aside from James Casey) are significant contributors on Special Teams, it's going to be hard to find a balance.

Really I just think the Texans have a few issues though. Their gunners are solid, particularly Alan Ball(too bad he's no good on defense). They're not getting a lot of pressure or anything on field goals. No team blocks consistantly well to set up punt returns so I don't know how much they can improve there. They mostly have issues with returning and kickoffs, which to my mind, while partially the result of the "role players"(clearly they miss guys like Derrick Ward for example who was a blocker on kick returns, maybe Joel Dreessen or Vickers too, and more than any of those guys Tim Jamison is missed right now because he was a great wedge blocker, and sure they could use some more athletes on the punting unit for when both gunners are doubled effectively) it has more to do with the returners and kickoff specialist not playing well. It's just a matter of finding a few impact players on Special Teams and that will fix most things imo. They already have a great player in Braman, and if they had a great punter, kicker, and returner I don't think any of these issues would be noticeable to most people.

Also if you really want to get into it, the Texans injuries actually have impacted their Special Teams a lot, both in terms of special teams players being out or the more subtle one where say Shaun Cody is out so now the team takes Earl Mitchell off the kick return unit to save him energy. Or I noticed Tim Dobbins wasn't out there on kickoffs because he's playing more on defense. So I mean the Texans are playing without their two wedge blocker(Mitchell and Jamison, who are very impressive in this role) and they have guys like Ruud and Crick out there trying to make up for lost players while other guys are moved around in positions they're not normally playing to make up for losses elsewhere. And you have guys like Jonathan Grimes who may be great Special Teamers one day but against a team like the Bears are probably going to struggle a bit. These are issues the Special Teams coach has to deal with that aren't really his fault.

Yes Holliday is playing better with the Broncos right now but until he does more on a consistant basis, this thread is basically an overreaction thread. As a Broncos fan, I'm still not sold on him.
Stop slobbering over Brian Dawkins
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