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titanskick8851

1/3 Through - What we need to see

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As much as losing yesterday to the Steelers sucks, I think we would all be over the moon to be 5-1, a third of the way through the season. Yesterday showed a lot of our weaknesses (3rd down defense, lack of pressure, predictable play-calling early, lack of depth), but to lose that game on a missed field goal with only play 1.5 quarters of good football leads me to believe we are going to be more than fine. That being said, those issues stated above are definitely worrisome as we move forward. What would you say are the top issues as we get ready for next portion of the schedule?

 

3rd Down Defense: We have talked a lot about this at length through the entire year thus far, but yesterday if finally bit us. While the second half was a lot better, we dug ourselves a whole we could not get out of. Those long drives were backbreaking, as we couldn't get off the field on multiple 3rd downs. Even after creating some negative plays, the Steelers routinely beat us on 3rd and longs. 3rd down pressure has essentially been non-existent despite high draft picks and money spent at the position. Someone mentioned earlier that is always Landry and Clowney getting ever so close, but just barely not getting there. Generating pressure will be key for us to move forward and be able to compete at a high level in the playoffs. We need more from this group. I lay a lot of that on Vrabel because his continued use of only 3 OLB's will eventually kill us as Landry and to a smaller extent Clowney, will not be able to hold up to that kind of usage. Idk if it having Roberson active, bumping up Wyatt Ray, or acquiring someone, but it is clear that at the very least a change in philosophy is needed. Hopefully the second half was the start of something good in terms of shoring up this aspect. Up until the second half, Jayon Brown was a no-show. Happy he was finally able to make some plays, but we need that to continue as well for us to finally be able to reverse this luck on 3rd downs.

 

DB Depth and Play: A large portion of the issues on 3rd down can also be tied to have how we have largely played out DBs. With the hopeful return of Adoree, there is a hope that we can begin to play a bit more of press man. Vrabel loves this bend, but don't break defense, but death by 1,000 cuts also kills. Especially, when a game is getting started and a team controls the clock to the point that you only have 3 plays in one quarter. That is rough. I would rather they play more aggressive in their coverage even if it means risking some balls getting pushed deeper downfield. Obviously, with Joseph and Tye Smith we are unable to do this. The injury to Fulton won't help that, but I hope that they give players like C. Jackson and Kareem Orr some more opportunities as the vets have proven to not cut it. We know Butler will be in there no matter what and he will give up some plays, but is largely aggressive and able to match up with secondary WR's. 

 

Offensive Play-calling: Not a ton of complaints here, but yesterday was one of those games where we needed to counter the Steelers run blitzing early. The lack of pass plays on 1st down up until the 4th quarter also is slightly worrisome as we played right into the Steelers hands by running. That secondary and the middle of the field were the weak spots and we needed to continue to attack there. It didn't surprise me to see Sambrailo and Kelly with bad run grades (although Kelly's was pitiful) as the Steelers were always going to crash down and shrink the space Henry had to work with. I would've liked to have seen us spread it out a bit and ran out of shotgun a little more as well. An interesting part of the game that other teams are beginning to use more and more is the jet sweet motion/quick shovel pass. We have done this a few times with Hump/Raymond/Batson, but these plays should be ran with players like AJB, Smith, and Davis as they are so good after the catch and able to break tackles. Simply look at the Saints game last year where AJB took the reverse for a TD. More misdirection can only help even if it a play fake to help take a defender out of the box vs. Henry. 

 

Lastly, please Art Smith - remove the pitch play (especially to the short field) and the "Henry" screen out of the playbook. Those plays been awfully designed and teams have made several negative plays on them thus putting us behind in the downs. I think Henry should still be an option out of the backfield, as Houston OT showed, but the way the blocking has been designed is not building successful plays. The amount of times this hasn't worked leads me to believe it is more design then players executing unless there is some tell 

 

Trade Deadline - Jrob needs to look legitimately at the trade market to gauge what CB, EDGE, and IDL could be available. It will be interesting to see what he is willing to part with to be able to acquire a playmaker on that side of the ball. Is there anyone specifically that you are looking at as someone you think would be a good fit for the team?

 

Kicking Game - Won't even get into that...

 

Sorry for my long rant/thought process, but what do you think of the issues the team currently has and what would you say is the best way to solve them?

 

Really looking forward to the remainder of the season, but I am interested to see how the team responds from this loss and how they make changes.

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You left out special teams.  Also the only 3OLB active is a Vrabel thing.  I have no idea why he does this.

 

As for the trade market:  Quinnien WIlliams is CLEARLY available.  So is Carlos Dunlap.    Sadly, Bradley Roby got injured yesterday.  He would have maybe been a target. 

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Well given Clowney's knee injury yesterday...his "usage" has already come to an end. So, the team's depth, again, becomes a concern. Especially at a position where, strangely, there hasn't been any real "home grown" talent drafted other than Landry. Who, even more oddly...the team said was being limited by his overuse only to, then, up to this point to overuse him .  I mean...wtf is that all about & with Clowney's injury...who now takes his place? Roberson or perhaps their almost 10 million dollar FA bust...Beasley? I mean...does anyone know what in the hell did they see in him to sign him in the first place or why they haven't been asked? Also, why is it that OLB hasn't been prioritized more in their drafts beyond (other than Landry) signing undrafted FA's at the spot? I mean without knowing who was available when Wilson was drafted...I would guess that some pretty talented  OLBs were available to help the team (especially one that's, supposedly, in a "win now" mode) rather than the "project" O-Lineman they opted for instead...

Edited by enigma

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Derrick Henry is on pace for 380 carries, about 75 more than last season. They need someone else to help him carry the load, at least a little bit.

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14 minutes ago, Oiler FANatic said:

Derrick Henry is on pace for 380 carries, about 75 more than last season. They need someone else to help him carry the load, at least a little bit.

 

Which is crazy considering how well McNichols has played in his limited action.

 

Even weirder so far this year is on obvious passing situations they're insistent on keeping Henry in the game when he's clearly a liability in pass protection and being a viable receiver out of the backfield.

 

And don't even get me started on these damn screens we keep trying [failing] to get Henry involved in the passing game. 

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