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Tag:Matt Schaub
Posted on: April 11, 2011 1:07 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 12:37 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Houston Texans

Posted by Josh Katzowitz



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When the Texans beat the Colts 34-24 in the 2010 season-opener, Houston was well on its way to winning the AFC South and the first-ever playoff appearance for the club. Matt Schaub was going to continue emerging as one of the top QBs in the game, Andre Johnson was going to cement his place as the top receiver in the NFL, RB Arian Foster was going to build on his first-game performance (231 yards and four total TDs on 33 carries) and Houston’s secondary was going to be just fine without Dunta Robinson.

That’s what we thought anyway.

Then, the Texans, sitting at 4-2, lost eight of their next nine games to kill their season. Foster still went on to win the rushing title, and Schaub had a pretty good season. But Johnson didn’t have one of his better years (though to be fair, he WAS dealing with a painful ankle injury that he played through), and the secondary, to be kind, was absolutely horrid. Overall, in fact, the defense was terrible. Yet, coach Gary Kubiak has been retained for another season, and the Texans continue to be slightly worse than mediocre.

But something must change …




New defensive system

That something might be new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. While Phillips’ reign as Cowboys head coach ended in disaster in the middle of last season, he’s still well-respected as a defensive coordinator. In 2011, though, he’s got a big job in front of him.



1. Um, the secondary
Yes, the Texans will need to rethink their entire defensive back roster, because it repeatedly got torched last season. After saying goodbye to Robinson, who went on to a so-so season with the Falcons, the secondary (Kareem Jackson, Glover Quin, Bernard Pollard and Eugene Wilson) were just tremendously bad. If the Texans can’t get this fixed, it doesn’t matter who’s coordinating the defense, because Houston simply won’t win.

2. Nose Tackle
Houston hasn’t had to worry much about this position in the past because of the 4-3 scheme it used to play, but now that the Texans will go to the 3-4, they need to find a massive NT to eat up blockers and allow his linebackers behind him to make plays. Maybe Shaun Cody is that guy, but he might not be good enough and he certainly hasn’t been an impact player thus far in his career.

3. Second Wide Receiver
It looked for a time like Kevin Walter might be that guy, but he was little more than solid last year. Jacoby Jones is fine on kickoff returns, but he drops the ball too much as a receiver. Though the Texans obviously have much bigger problems, it wouldn’t be a huge shock if the Texans went after Julio Jones in the first round of the draft.




It’s hard to be confident that a Kubiak-led team will ever make the playoffs, but the Texans better accomplish that this year if they want to keep him around. Defense, like we’ve pounded in your head over and over in this checkup, is the true test, and there is plenty of talent in the front seven on that side of the ball. If Phillips can help get that unit in gear, the AFC South is ripe for the taking.

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Posted on: December 19, 2010 12:27 pm
 

Cowher could be looking at a trio of teams

Bill Cowher apparently is looking at three teams (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If former Steelers coach Bill Cowher wants to return to the sidelines, the Giants, the Dolphins and the Texans are the clubs he’d like to take over.

That’s according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, via Pro Football Talk.

Two of those clubs raise an interesting quandary. New York is still in the playoff hunt, so it seems rather silly to think that Tom Coughlin would be in danger of getting fired. Miami hasn’t had a fabulous season, but Tony Sparano has only been on board for three seasons, and he hadn’t appeared to be on any hot-seat list (yet, you have to wonder if the prospect of getting Cowher would inch Sparano toward the unemployment line).

The Texans move would actually make sense. If the Texans don’t make the postseason – and they most likely won’t – coach Gary Kubiak probably should be relieved of his job.

With plenty of firepower on offense (QB Matt Schaub, WR Andre Johnson and RB Arian Foster) and with Cowher’s background as a tenacious defensive coach, the hiring of Cowher seemingly would be a very good move for an organization that still has never made the playoffs.

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Posted on: December 14, 2010 8:29 am
 

Are we to worry about the Ravens defense?

Posted by Andy Benoit

The Giants-Vikings game was so bad that it somehow rubbed off on the other Monday night contest. (Seriously, did Giants-Vikings not feel 100 percent like a preseason contest?) While that dreadful game was being played, the Ravens were manhandling the hapless Texans. Once the dreadful game ended, the Texans offense came to life and gave viewers an instant classic.

In the end, a Josh Wilson pick-six in overtime won the game for Baltimore. (Houston now specializes in wasted comeback efforts; it was the fourth time this season they’ve rallied from behind but not held the lead.)

The Ravens defense looked refreshed in overtime, but the only reason there even was an overtime was because that same Ravens defense wore down at the end of the fourth quarter. The Texans posted a 15-play, 99-yard drive and a 12-play, 95-yard drive in scoring 15 points to end the fourth quarter. Matt Schaub operated from a über-clean pocket and was able to pick apart the Ravens pass defense for 393 yards.

The Ravens have long hung their hat on their defense. So is there reason to be concerned heading into the postseason? We’ll likely find out this week, as this group has a huge test in facing the Saints this Sunday.


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Posted on: December 11, 2010 12:13 pm
 

Eagles announce Justice, Samuel out for Sunday

Posted by Will Brinson

The Eagles announced that Asante Samuel and Winston Justice wouldn't travel with the team to Dallas for their game Sunday.

Both had been "questionable" and/or "day-to-day," so this news just confirms that they're not playing.

Samuel's absence is pretty critical -- the Eagles have struggled mightily in pass defense when he's been out. Although they're 2-1 without Samuel, they allowed Jay Cutler to toss four touchdowns and 247 yards, Matt Schaub to lob up 337 yards and two teeters and even Alex Smith got the better of them, posting 309 yards and three touchdowns back in Week 6.

Losing Justice hurts too, as the Eagles, as even though they're a top five team in rushing yards per game, need as much protection for Michael Vick from would-be tacklers and rib-breakers as they can possibly get.

This wouldn't be a big problem against Wade Phillips' roll-over-and-play-dead Cowboys, but given the way the team Dallas has played since Jason Garrett took over and these personnel absences, the Eagles have a legitimate concern that Dallas could wreck their season two years in a row.

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Posted on: December 3, 2010 12:14 am
 

Texans defense will get Kubiak fired

Philadelphia and L. McCoy took advantage of a poor Houston defense (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Texans defense is so bad ….

(How bad is it? the crowd asks)

The Texans defense is so bad that it’s going to keep Houston out of the playoffs for the ninth season in a row and it’s so bad that it’s going to cost coach Gary Kubiak his job (not to mention defensive coordinator Frank Bush).

Look, Houston has the players on offense. Matt Schaub, though he’s a tad underrated, is one of the better quarterbacks in the league. Andre Johnson is perhaps the best receiver. Arian Foster has emerged as the league-leading rusher.

The offense averages 373 yards per game (seventh in the league) and you might remember the Texans opened the season beating the Colts 34-24 in the season-opener, leading all of us to rethink the order of the AFC South.

And we were right. The AFC South is playing out differently than we thought. But that’s because the Jaguars are battling with an average Colts team for the division lead. After tonight’s 34-24 loss to the Eagles, Houston is 5-7 and in last place (behind even Tennessee).

Yes, Schaub wasn’t perfect (22 of 36 for 337 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, plus a late fumble that sealed the game for Philadelphia), but if he had a defense that didn’t allow 417 yards tonight and 24-plus points in 11 of 12 games this year, he’d have more room for error. As it is now, he has none.

That’s because the Texans secondary has played horrendous this year. Coming into tonight, they ranked 31st in the NFL by allowing 286.2 passing yards per game, and Michael Vick threw for 302 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

In a game full of bad defensive moments, the killer occurred on the fourth-quarter Eagles drive that began with 10:10 to play. At that point, Philadelphia had a three-point lead, and if the Texans could simply hold the Eagles to a field goal, they’d still have a chance to win the game.

The Eagles started on their own 28-yard line, but a 40-yard screen pass from Vick to RB LeSean McCoy and a 19-yard pass to TE Brent Celek on a third-and-19 (in which Celek rolled over LB Kevin Bentley to stretch for the first down) brought the ball to the 5-yard line. Two plays later, Vick hit FB Owen Schmitt for the touchdown to make it 34-24.

"I would say we didn't tackle very good, especially in the fourth quarter,” Kubiak told reporters in his postgame presser in what shouldn’t be considered an especially astute observation.

The truth is: when Houston needed its defense the most, it allowed an eight-play, 72-yard drive to put the game out of reach for the Eagles. It’s been a problem all season, and until the defense can improve, Schaub might never, ever see the postseason as a starting quarterback. Kubiak almost certainly will never see one in Houston as a head coach.

It’s a shame.

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Posted on: November 27, 2010 11:43 am
 

Week 12 injury news and analysis, part I

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Jaguars at Giants

Two of Jacksonville’s most important offensive players, WR Mike Sims-Walker and RB Maurice Jones-Drew, are questionable because of an ankle and an abdomen, respectively. Sims-Walker didn’t play last week because of his high ankle sprain, so it’s a bit surprising that he practiced at all this week (high ankle sprains tend to keep players out at least three to four weeks). Sims-Walker was limited Thursday and Friday, which tells us one of two things – either he’s an unbelievably fast healer or coach Jack Del Rio is using a bit of gamesmanship to keep New York guessing.

Jones-Drew has been on fire recently – he’s accumulated 368 yards and three touchdowns in his past three games (he’s also added 123 receiving yards) – and he’s more likely to play than not. If not, look for Rashad Jennings to get more opportunities.

Though he’s been awfully entertaining on his Twitter account since he was admitted to the hospital with back pain (he was released from the hospital Saturday morning), New York G Shawn Andrews is doubtful (Will Beatty will take his place). CB Will Blackmon is questionable with a chest injury.

Steelers at Bills


Once again, LB Shawne Merriman (who still hasn’t played a game since signing with Buffalo) is out with an Achilles tendon injury. RB C.J. Spiller is questionable, but considering Fred Jackson (249 yards, three touchdowns) has been so good the past two games, Spiller’s absence shouldn’t have a huge impact on the offense (special teams might be a different story, though). The team doesn’t want to play Spiller until he’s 100 percent healthy, which he almost surely is not.

Pittsburgh only has four players on the injury report – WR Antonio Brown and DE Aaron Smith are out, TE Matt Spaeth (concussion) is doubtful and S Troy Polamalu (ankle) is questionable. Polamalu most likely will play. He played last week despite the injury, and the Steelers plan was to rest him early in the week and let him play Sunday (he was limited Wednesday and Thursday but had full participation in practice Friday).

Titans at Texans

If you formed a flag football team just out of the players that are listed as probable on Houston’s injury report, you’d have a pretty good chance to win an intramural title. Those players include QB Matt Schaub, WR Andre Johnson, LB Brian Cushing and DE Mario Williams. Unfortunately for your beer-league dream team, all will be playing NFL football Sunday.

For Tennessee, Randy Moss still isn’t listed on the injury report, which confuses me. If he’s active and playing, how come nobody is throwing him the ball? If he was hurt, then it would make sense. Speaking of players who don’t throw the ball to Moss, backup QB Kerry Collins – who will be the starter once again at some point – is questionable. But rookie Rusty Smith still is slated to the start at QB.

Also for the Titans, DT Jason Jones is questionable with a knee injury. DT Tony Brown (knee) also is questionable, but he’s more likely to play.

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Posted on: November 21, 2010 1:07 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2010 4:05 pm
 

Casserly: Vick's value between Eli and Cutler

Posted by Will Brinson

Michael Vick is a front-runner for the MVP award this year, but there's also plenty of concern about how the Eagles will handle his long-term future. As we've mentioned, they can franchise Vick (assuming the franchise tag survives the CBA), or they can sign him to a long deal and, most likely, try to trade Kevin Kolb.

Charley Casserly of CBS Sports discussed the issue with James Brown on Inside the NFL and provided a pretty good baseline for Vick and Kolb's respective valuations.

"He's unrestricted free agent next year," Casserly said of Vick. "However, the Eagles can franchise him at a one-year contract for $16 million.

"If I'm the Eagles, I would look to sign Michael Vick to a long-term contract. However, I'd wait until the season's over so I can get a true picture of what his value is. The second thing is I wouldn't want any distractions during the season."

Most interesting, though, is what the Eagles would look to pay Vick over the long run.

"Eli Manning's contract is valued at $16.2 million by the NFL Players Association," Casserly said. "Jay Cutler? $14.6 million by the NFLPA. I would put Michael Vick in the middle of that around $15 million."



Anyone who's seen Cutler play (versus Vick) knows that's a steal, particularly when the Eagles could save some money next year by inking him for the long run.

Speaking of saving money, many people will recall that Vick still owes the Falcons money -- Casserly reports that any money paid back by Vick next year could result in the Falcons seeing a boost in their cap space.

"Michael Vick still owes [the Falcons $6.5 million]," Casserly said. "Any money he pays them in a cap year, next year, will be credited to the cap, so the cap will actually increase [for the Falcons]."

And then there's the Kolb issue -- what do you do with a really talented pocket passer stuck behind Michael Vick? Well, you do the same thing that the Falcons did with Matt Schaub when he was on the depth chart behind Vick back in the day; you trade him.

If the Eagles decide to take that route (and, as Casserly notes, there won't be any trades if a lockout is in progress), he believes they'd probably seek something similar to what the Texans paid for Schaub -- two second-round picks.

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Posted on: November 21, 2010 11:47 am
Edited on: November 21, 2010 12:01 pm
 

AFC Inactives, Week 11

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

First, those who ARE active: Steelers TE Zach Miller, Bengals RB Cedric Benson, Texans QB Matt Schaub.

And here are those who are NOT active:

Dexter McCluster, Chiefs, WR/KR: With his bad ankle, this will be the fourth-straight game the explosive McCluster will miss. It won’t help Kansas City that TE Tony Moeaki won’t be in action either.

Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars, WR:
He hurt his ankle in the second quarter of last week’s game, but he returned to the game. Despite practicing Friday, he’s just not ready to go today. Tiquan Underwood will take Sims-Walker’s place.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills:
Luckily for Buffalo, RB Fred Jackson is coming off a 25-carry, 133-yard, one TD performance vs. the Lions.

Shawne Merriman, LB, Bills:
Well, this signing has worked out quite well so far, eh?

Joshua Cribbs, WR, Browns:
You know how Cribbs broke all the toes on his right foot except for the big one? Yeah, that will keep him out this week.

Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Raiders: You think this is good news for Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger? I bet Roethlisberger would emphatically say yes.

Brett Keisel, DE, Steelers:
You think this is good news for Raiders RB Darren McFadden? I bet McFadden would emphatically say yes.

Chris Chester, G, Ravens: Baltimore's starter still is being bothered by a skin condition. Tony Moll will take his place at right guard.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com