We all seem to believe the Jaguars have a tough schedule in 2010. We all look at the AFC South as a mountain maybe too high to climb. This is wrong thinking. The AFC South is ready to be taken by the Jaguars if they man up and play hard. The Colts are the champions, but vulnerable. We saw that in two close games last year. So let’s look at why Houston may not be very difficult to beat in the coming season.
The Houston Offense: Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are both over the top good. Matt Schaub matured last year in my opinion into an elite quarterback. He could scramble better and find a deep receiver when you didn’t expect it. Andre Johnson scares every defensive coordinator. But then what? Where is the running game? Who is the second receiver? Who is Matt Schaub’s backup? Hello? Anyone out there?
The Texans ranked almost last in rushing yards last year. Only the Colts and Chargers were worse. Maurice Jones Drew was equal to all Texan running backs. Duane Brown, the left tackle had a horrible season in 2009, just like Charlie Johnson of the Colts. Kasey Studdard, the left guard, may have had a worse season. I don’t know who is playing right guard. Chris White played some. Antoine Caldwell played some. Neither really did anything. When you look at the statistics, not only can’t Houston run the ball, but Matt Schuab was hit a lot in 2009. Houston, like the Colts, has big problems on the offensive line.
If Matt Schaub was hit a lot, who is backing him up? Dan Orlovsky. With all the respect of Dan Orlovsky; if Schaub is injured-The Texans are done!
Unlike the Colts, the Texans have no Dallas Clark to help Matt Schuab out. Owen Daniels was hurt last year. He suffered a season ending ACL tear. This was unfortunate. Other than Andre Johnson, there is no one Matt Schaub can bail out to. No running game, no tight end, no second receiver. Matt Schuab’s greatness is going unnoticed. He has very little help. (Keep reading afte the jump)
Houston Defense. When I think Houston defense, I think Mario Williams. This guy is very good. Would you take him over Julius Peppers? Maybe you would. Jeff Zgonina was their next best defensive lineman. Man in glass house should not throw stone says the fortune cookie, but Houston had a bit of trouble putting up a pass rush. Not as bad as we did, but not huge. Mario Williams was the guy.
When you think run defense, do you think of Houston? Chris Johnson got 350 yards in two games against them. Surprisingly, Houston is a good run defense team. In rushing yards per game, they are equal to Tennessee and better than the Colts and the Jaguars. This is the linebacker play mostly and the most improved part of Houston’s defense. This is why Brian Cushing was such a good addition. If you get past the linebackers however….
Do you beat the Texans by air? Here again, the statistics are not that bad. Jacksonville and Tennessee both were worse in defending against the pass. Yards per game, the Texans allowed 218 in the air. Not bad, not really bad.
Total defense, as measured by yards per game, the Texans are the best in the AFC South. They gave up big plays, but played hard most of the time. They were also horrible in drawing penalties on defense at the worst time. They played undisciplined football on defense.
So why are the Houston Texans in trouble? Here are the reasons:
- They have no running game
- They have an offensive line that allows Matt Schaub to be hit
- They have no backup for Matt Schaub
- They have one real offensive weapon
- They don’t have a winners discipline as a team
The same formula I gave for beating the Colts applies to the Texans. Attack the offensive line hard and take away Andre Johnson. Push them hard into stress situations and they come apart as a team. Jacksonville does this against them very very well.
Just like the Colts are the champs and hard to beat, Houston is an Indianapolis wannabee. They can play football and our best effort is needed to beat them. But they are easier to beat than the Colts. The Colts don’t beat themselves, the Texans do.
- Terry O’Brien