Tag Archives: Alfred Blue

Houston Texans Fantasy Football Forecast

Houston Texans, Fantasy Football.

Texans Fantasy Football Players To Watch

The best fantasy football player from the Texans has been Arian Foster, who through two weeks has been handed the ball 27 times and 28 times, each time getting over 100 yards. At some point the Texans will begin to insert other running backs into the mix with more regularity but as long as the Texans keep winning Foster should continue to get a big workload.

Bill O’Brien is conscious of the carries that he is giving Arian Foster but with the Colts dropping to 0-2, the Texans have a big opportunity to maintain control of the division the rest of the way if they can widen that gap early. That may mean a lot more touches to come for Arian through the first six or so games of the season. Continue reading

Reflection On Texans vs Broncos

 

Houston Texans Broncos

 

Defense Shows Continued Improvement, Offense Shaky In Andre’s Return

In the the victory over the Denver Broncos we saw some pretty good defense against what should be an elite offense. Though it was a preseason game, Peyton Manning takes his reps very seriously and it was a good test to see how the Texans defense would perform.

Romeo Crennel’s defenses historically have done well against Manning, and the first team defense for the most part did a good job of limiting big plays. On the first series of the game the Broncos were able to drive down the field on short passes to receivers and by running the ball. But once in the redzone the Texans were able to clamp down and force the Broncos to kick a field goal.

The Texans have look much improved in Crennel’s scheme which involves a lot more zone coverage compared to what they had been used to. There are some some lapses in player assignments but when the players have made the correct reads, the defense has been effective.

Playing more zone coverage has allowed the defensive backs to play with eyes on the quarterback as opposed to constantly trailing a receiver with their back turned to the QB, making it more difficult to know when to make a play on the ball. If the players continue to play their coverages right, the secondary may not be the big issue that we originally thought it to be.

Interestingly, the Texans played Kareem Jackson in the slot for the most part, with A.J. Bouye and Brandon Harris on the outside. The Texans either want to get a good look at how Harris performs in their system, or they feel that he is a capable cornerback for them. Many of thus thought Harris might be on his way out, especially after the first preseason game but that may not be the case now.

Harris struggles mightily in man to man situations on deep balls, and at times is a penalty machine. One thing that he is fairly sound in is wrapping up and bringing people down, and it is something that has stood out to me in these three preseason games. A cornerback that can bring receivers down and not let receivers get yards after the catch is something of value. If Brandon Harris can limit the lapses in coverage he can be an asset to the team.

D.J. Swearinger laid out a good clean hit on Wes Welker but in today’s NFL you can’t hit a wide receiver to the head, not even with the shoulder.  It was Swearinger’s third big hit in as many games, and in terms of setting a tone it will be good if he can keep that habit up.

It was great to see Brian Cushing back on the field, he looked a little bit of rusty on a few plays but in limited action he looked as though he is still the same player especially on the tackle for loss he had. He should continue to knock off rust with the more game snaps he gets. It is worth noting that when the Broncos got inside the redzone on the first series of the game Cushing was replaced with Mike Mohamed.

At the end of the first half Eddie Pleasant was a part of the two long touchdowns given up to Emmanuel Sanders. Kendrick Lewis probably would have been in his place but he looked to have gotten banged up on a series prior to the first touchdown. Pleasant was the help up top both times and did a poor job recognizing where Manning was throwing, then he was late trying to recover.

Ryan Fitzpatrick had a shaky game and didn’t really get it going until Grimes made the catch and run for 24 yards in the second quarter. The timing looked to be a little off with Andre but he was still able to get some receptions. The Texans have not really tried to test defenses down field and it might be a matter of O’Brien wanting to save things for the regular season. So when evaluating how the offense looks, that is something to take into consideration.

Case Keenum has the ability to make good throws and can look like a competent quarterback but for some reason hasn’t been able to shake off some bad habits. He still at times doesn’t see the blitz when he should, and still makes some risky passes that can be possible interceptions. Some speculated that Keenum would more than likely be cut from the team, and while I think it is a possibility I don’t see it being that simple. Though Keenum is very inconsistent, backup quarterbacks don’t get much better that what Keenum is. He has been in the system from the start, and O’Brien likes players who have a passion for the game and work hard at it.

Tom Savage looked like a totally different player in is his game winning drive, in the games prior he looked hesitant and didn’t flash any of his potential.  But late in the Broncos game he made good throws, good decisions, and was accurate. Savage looked great but I don’t think it is enough to make him the backup to Fitzpatrick. I feel as though O’Brien values experience, and would like to have a quarterback who has NFL starts under his belt to be his back up. At the very least Savage would have to build on his performance to prove himself.

Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes continue to look fully capable of handling the load if Arian Foster were to miss any significant time during the regular season.

Going into the season I was very high on Ryan Griffin and I was disappointed that he has had a quiet preseason, also the fact that he had been relegated to third string tight end. But was good to finally see him rack up some receptions, and had a great catch and run touchdown to set up the two-point conversion. Griffin doesn’t look like he is running fast but he covers a lot of ground with his long strides. I think that it will be in the best interest of the team at some point during the season for Griffin and Fiedorowicz to be the top two tight ends.

Richardo Matthews has been a gem thus far, he logged a sack and tackle for loss against the Broncos. He was a great find in free agency and has mostly likely already secured his spot on the team. Whitney Mercilus had a better game and finally got on the box score.

Special teams continues to be much improved, Josh Victorian and Eddie Pleasant made noteworthy plays in coverage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflection Of Texans Preseason Victory Over Falcons

Houston Texans

Texans Bounce Back In A Big Way

A week after looking like a carbon copy of the 2013 team in the first preseason game in Arizona, the Texans did a complete 180 in their blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Everything seemed to be working for the Texans. The offense, defense, and special teams all made plays in the dominant performance. Similar to how I thought we shouldn’t have overreacted to the disappointing performance in Arizona, we should temper some aspects of the victory. Quarterback is the biggest question mark on the team, and starter Ryan Fitzpatrick has a long track record of being inconsistent.

We saw Fitzpatrick at his worst last week, and close to his best in Saturday night’s win. If he can have positive play on a consistent basis and facilitate the ball around, the Texans should be able to get some things done this season.

There were some questions being raised about Bill O’Brien’s qualities and tactics as a coach this past week in reaction to the Cardinals game. But those questions now stand answered as the team responded by completely outplaying the Falcons.

A Lot Of Positives In Preseason Game 2 For The Texans

Ryan Fitzpatrick Bounces Back

The offense got off to a shaky start by not being able to make anything out of two straight runs plays and a quick screen pass to DeAndre Hopkins. In the second series the switch went on as Fitzpatrick was able to put together some completions and run for a big first down on 3rd down, then rode Alfred Blue to a touchdown once they were in the redzone. Fitzpatrick accomplished the same when he was put back into the game at the end of the 2nd quarter except he found Devier Posey in the endzone for an 8 yard touchdown.

It was encouraging to see Fitzpatrick lead two of three drives for touchdowns after barely completing any first downs in the first game. Fitzpatrick’s ability to run and run with some pretty good speed is going to be a luxury that the Texans have not had in a long while and it will be something that the defense will also have to account for. Fitzpatrick still has not played a game with Arian Foster or Andre Johnson, so that is another positive outlook on hoping that there can be an extra level of improvement for Fitzpatrick and the offense.

Jadeveon Clowney Continues To Show Why He Was Considered By Far The Best Prospect In The Draft

Jadeveon Clowney had another great showing in limited time as he only played two series, but this time he didn’t have J.J. Watt on the line with him. Clowney’s explosion off the edge and the speed that he possesses allows him to beat easily offensive lineman and completely blow up plays. Continue reading

Alfred Blue the next Arian Foster

Houston Texans, Alfred Blue, LSU, Football, NFL

Alfred Blue 6th round pick out of LSU for the Houston Texans.

Rick Smith might very well have found another diamond in the rough with Alfred Blue

In 2009, the Texans were able get a steal in an un-drafted Arian Foster who fell out of the draft for a number of reasons. Arian Foster had a tremendous junior year in 2007 but fell completely out of the draft due to an inconsistent offense, fumbling issues, and a crowded Vols backfield, etc.

This time around Rick Smith and his scouting department might have found another steal in 6th round draft pick Alfred Blue, and LSU head coach Les Miles agrees. Les Miles recently joined Mike Meltser and Seth Payne on Sports Radio 610, and had a lot of great things to say about his former running back.

Les Miles in response to the question of what should the Texans expect out of Alfred Blue, “Expect him to be a contributor on 3rd downs. He’s a physical guy, he’ll block linebackers, he has good ball skills and can catch the ball out of the backfield”. Miles also said, “I think he’ll be a great contributor to the Texans, I think its a great steal”.

In a public appearance Les Miles was quoted as saying that Alfred Blue is a team player, won’t ever get into trouble, and will buy into what coaches say. He also believes Blue will be a great contributor on special teams.

Along with sharing physical similarities, both Arian Foster and Alfred Blue dealt with a crowded backfield for most of their college careers. Alfred Blue had his best year for LSU in 2011 when he scored 7 TDs and rushed for 539 yards on only 78 carries.

Miles admitted that Blue was probably the team’s best running back in 2012 until an ACL tear early in the season ended his year. Les Miles believes that had Alfred Blue would have easily been 2nd or 3rd round value had Blue went back to LSU for another year.

Alfred Blue has a similar height, weight to Arian Foster and coming out of college neither was great at doing one particular thing, but good at most, vision being a strength for both.

Alfred Blue was one of the first Texans’ draft picks to be signed to their rookie deal, and heading into the season should end up 3rd on the running back depth chart. With the uncertainty of Arian Foster coming off of an injury and Andre Brown’s history with injury, Alfred Blue could possibly see some major snaps at some point in the year. The Texans might have found another diamond in Alfred Blue.

Click Here For the Link to the Interview Mike and Seth had with Les Miles

 

 

 

 

Texans: 2014 Draft picks

Houston Texans, Draft, Jadeveon Clowney,

Number 1 overall selection Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans

Thoughts on the Houston Texans’ Draft picks

The Texans arguably had the best draft in franchise history back in 2006 when they last had the first pick of every round. Foundational pieces such as Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Eric Winston, and Owen Daniels were picked, all spent at least 6 years with the Texans. This time around it looks like the Texans have a draft that can rival the 2006 draft, and already have several key foundation position players on the roster, which will make for an easier turnaround.

Jadeveon Clowney

Texans’ pass rush gets a huge boost

The Houston Texans selected the best overall player, and the player with the least amount of risk to not pan out. Ultimately Jadeveon Clowney has the highest chance of making the most impact right away at a position of need as an outside linebacker. After watching some of his games from this past season on draft breakdown, I saw that a lot of the talk about his effort was largely overblown.

Sure his coach Steve Spurrier might have also talked down about his work habits and the media definitely ran with that story, but when Clowney is on the field, he is getting after the quarterback. I figure that members of the media tried to create a story just so that there can be a discussion about multiple options rather just talking about Clowney being the sure pick. Clowney is crazy athletic for his size and consistently was able to beat the opposition off the line.

It is not an exaggeration saying that he was constantly double teamed, and on occasion was tripled teamed. When not doubled teamed, the opposition option had players chip Clowney off the snap. Because of all the attention paid to Clowney, he was only able to get 3 sacks in the 2013 season, but was undoubtedly still a disruptive force. He was just not always able to get the pay off sack.

The most important factor about a pass rusher should be how often he affects the play and pressures the quarterback, which Clowney proved he did a lot of. Clowney also plays the run well, and is excellent at closing in on the play with his speed. Because of the attention Clowney garners, he usually flushes out the play for other teammates to make.

It is very exciting to envision what the Texans defense is going to look like on Sundays with all the animals in the front seven. We got a bit of sneak peak the first 5 games of 2011 when it was Mario Williams, J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, Demeco Ryans, Connor Barwin, Antonio Smith, and Shaun Cody on the same line. J.J. Watt at that point as a rookie was not the player is he now, but Mario Williams got off to the best start in his career playing outside linebacker before suffering a season ending injury in the 5th game of that year.

With Jadeveon Clowney and the rest of the additions in the draft, the Texans could possibly have the fiercest pass rush in the NFL. A great pass rush lessens the time that defensive backs need to cover wide receivers, and should equate to a lot more turnovers in 2014. The Texans might not have a top level quarterback at the helm this year or next year, but could have an elite defense.

Xavier Su’a-filo

Rick Smith sticks to board, adds some nastiness and toughness to offensive line

With all the needs on the Texans roster, the selection of an offensive guard with the second round pick probably came as a surprise to most Texans fans that were keeping tabs on the draft. But the pick shows that Rick Smith, Texans were sticking to their draft board and felt that Su’a-filo was too good to not be taken.

Xavier Su’a-filo says he tries to model his game after New England’s Logan Mankins and you can see on the film that he holds true to that. Before I read this about Su’a-filo, it immediately jumped out that he wants to put whoever he is blocking on the ground. He plays through the whistle a lot like Mankins, and even likes getting in those extra shoves at the end of plays. He played just about every position on the offensive line for UCLA, which is great just in case the Texans ever get in a pinch.

Su’a-filo was rated as the best offensive guard in the draft, and will most likely win the starting spot at left guard for the Texans. The added toughness and nastiness will be a welcomed addition to the team. There was chatter that the Patiots could have been targeting Su’a-filo with their first round pick. Interestingly Su’a-filo’s offensive line coach at UCLA Adrian Klemm was drafted by the Patriots in 2000 and spent 5 years with the Patriots.

C.J. Fiedorowicz

Texans add a big Tight End that can block and catch

C.J. Fiedorowicz was yet another prospect that in some way had ties to the New England Patriots. Fiedorowicz at Iowa played under head coach Kirk Ferentz, who was offensive line coach under Bill Belichick with the Cleveland Browns in the early 1990s. The Texans again possibly grabbed a target of the New England Patriots, and again a player that has said he models his game after a Patriot, Rob Gronkowski.

The Texans selecting a tight end with their 3rd pick was indeed a surprise with already having re-signed Garrett Graham to a deal, and having a second year player that showed a lot of promise in Ryan Griffin. But it is clear that Bill O’Brien intends on running multiple Tight End sets, and plans on being versatile in them.

Fiedorowicz was said to be somewhat under utilized as a receiving threat, but can be dominant as a run blocker in addition to his pass catching ability. It was surprising that the Texans went with a Tight End with the third pick, but if he can come anywhere close to being the caliber of player that Rob Gronkowski is then sign me up.

Louis Nix

The Texans find their Nose Tackle

The Texans’ nose tackle situation had began to get worrisome as the Texans hadn’t drafted any of the top prospects with their first three picks. But the Texans were able to trade back up into the third round get a Louis Nix, who was projected to go somewhere in the first two rounds. So  the Texans most likely now have the starting nose tackle that they needed.

Nix is going to bolster the already stacked front seven, and he is going to be expected to take up multiple blockers to allow the linebackers to make plays. One of the knocks on Nix is that his lack of conditioning and stamina caused him to be a non factor at the end of some games. It will be on the coaches to stay on Nix and on top of his conditioning.

Tom Savage

Texans take a flier Tom Savage

Every pick had potential of being the new project quarterback up until the Texans finally selected Savage in the fourth round. I found it a bit shocking that it turned out to be Tom Savage, I began to think it was going to be Zach Mettenberger, but I was hoping it to be Aaron Murray. I had heard a radio interview a few weeks back from a person who covered the Pittsburgh football team and he was not very complementary of Savage, so I wasn’t high on him from the start.

Then there was his college career that involved transferring twice, and not playing football for long periods of time. Also his stats from this past year don’t really jump out at you, so nothing other than his prototypical quarterback traits make you want him on your team.

But Bill O’Brien felt that Savage has matured after everything that he has been through, and obviously feels that he can possibly mold him into an NFL quarterback. Although I began to question the plan at QB, I really like what the Texans did in the draft, and because of that I will keep my trust O’Brien and the direction he feels is best for the team.

I find it curious though that the Texans and Bill O’Brien did not feel good enough about any of the other quarterbacks in the draft. The Texans basically had their pick of the litter, but chose to not pull the trigger on any of them. The Texans almost have every starting position of need filled with a good player, but don’t have a franchise QB. So it will be interesting to see what the plan is at quarterback. Do they expect O’Brien to develop Savage into a top 12 NFL quarterback? Do they plan on trading for somebody else’s quarterback, or address the quarterback position high in next years draft?

At this point Ryan Fitzpatrick is the likeliest Quarterback to be the starter in the season opener, unless Yates or Keenum can manage to win the position battle.

 

Jeoffrey Pagan

Depth at Defensive End

Jeoffrey Pagan will add depth for the Texans and possibly compete for a starting spot at Defensive end. Pagan is a bigger DE than the Texans have had in the past, which is something that the Texans need for Romeo Crennel’s style of 3-4 defense. Pagan doesn’t do any one thing exceptional well but because of his size and strength can take up blockers, probably the most important thing he would need to do in Crennel’s defense.

Pagan only started one year at Alabama, forgoing his senior season so there could be a lot more upside to his game with the coaching he will receive with the Texans’ staff.

Alfred Blue

Running back depth

The Texans needed some help at running back with Gary Kubiak seemingly running Arian Foster these past few years as well as some of the nagging injuries that Foster has recently. Andre Brown who was signed as a free agent a few months ago himself has had injury problems.

I like the Alfred Blue draft pick because of the upside factor, Blue did not get a lot of carries at LSU because of an ACL tear he suffered in 2012 and all the running back talent LSU had. Otherwise it is said that Alred Blue would start at a lot of schools with his combination of size, speed and good running back traits. Alfred Blue is similar to Arian Foster except looks to take on physical contact. He should had some good depth to the Texans.

Jay Prosch

Texans add a hammer and versatile fullback

In the 6th round the Texans selected another versatile player which O’Brien greatly values. Prosch is thought to have been one of the best blocking full backs in college football and this guy certainly looks the part. Funny enough one of the weaknesses on his draft profile says that he may be “overly muscled”.

Prosch has good speed for a full back and has really good pass catching hands .

Andre Hal and Lonnie Ballentine

Depth at cornerback and Safety

The Texans added some depth at the defensive back position with CB Andre Hal and Safety Lonnie Ballentine. Draft picks in the later rounds especially in the 6th and 7th rounds can have a tough time making the team  let alone getting on the field. But they will get coached up during training camp and we will see what these guys are made out of.

Andre Hal played at Vanderbilt, an SEC school and has a shot of earning the one of the back up roles at corner. Lonnie Ballentine offers size at 6’3″ and speed with a sub 4.4 40 yard dash, and played 4 years of college football at Memphis.