Tag:Houston Texans
Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:51 am
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Report: Texans 'moved into the lead' for Nnamdi

Posted by Will Brinson

All the offseason talk this week about the No. 1 free agent in the land, Nnamdi Asomugha, has centered around him joining Rex Ryan and Darrelle Revis with the Jets. There's good reason for that, as it would put the two-best cornerbacks in the NFL on the same team.

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, because there are still other teams in play. For instance, the Houston Texans who, according to the NFL Network's Michael Lombardi, have "moved into the lead" for Nnamdi.

Lombardi reports that he's hearing the Texans have hopped everyone else by potentially offering $12-to-14 million per year for Asomugha's shutdown services.

As you know from last year's offseason, Revis Island is currently appraised at $11.5 million per year.

And that, my friends, is the rub of this situation -- how can the Jets legitimately give Asomugha more money than Revis? They can't, really. I mean, they can if it works under the salary cap, but they would immediately be telling the guy they prop up as the best cornerback in the NFL (Revis) that he is, in strict terms of financial measurement, not the best cornerback in the NFL.

It's totally possible that Revis would put that aside to generate one of the most dominant secondaries we've ever seen (and the defense would be epic as a whole too), but in case you missed all of 2010's offseason and every episode of "Hard Knocks" from last year, Revis isn't a guy who wants to feel underpaid.

Which is great news for the Texans (or anyone else chasing Asomugha) -- if they can figure out a way to get under the cap and pay Nnamdi more than Revis is currently making, they greatly improve their chances of landing the top free agent on everyone's board.

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 2:33 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 3:07 pm
 

Texans' Foster won rushing title with bum knee

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Texans running back Arian Foster won the NFL rushing title last season, his 1,616 yards 149 yards clear of the next best player, Jamaal Charles. And Foster probably would have added to the total if he had two healthy knees.

The former undrafted running back out of Tennessee told Sporting News that he played the 2010 season with a torn meniscus in his knee and didn't tell anyone because he feared losing his job.

For an idea of just how impressive that is, in addition to winning the rushing title, Foster was also second in the league in total value and value per play among all RBs, according to Football Outsiders (behind just Charles).

The knee has since been fixed, which should mean the Texans' running game will be even more formidable in 2011. Last year's second-round pick, Ben Tate, is healthy after missing the 2010 season with a leg injury, and he and Derrick Ward will share the backup duties behind Foster.

But in today's NFL, there aren't clear delineations between starting running backs and backups. It's a backs-by-committee approach that not only keeps players fresher as the season wears on, but also reduces injuries. And whatever your thoughts on the Curse of 370, there's every reason to believe that Foster's workload should be lightened after he carried the ball 327 times in 2010, all on a bum leg.

But offense hasn't been much of a problem for the Texans in recent seasons. Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Foster have made sure of that. It's the defense that has been their Achilles' heel, and that's where new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips comes in. It's easy to laugh at that sentiment, but that's because Phillips looked perpetually out of sorts in his last job as the Cowboys coach (The Costanza-styled puffy coat certainly didn't help).

Phillips was defensive coordinator for the Chargers from 2004-2006, and that unit finished 12th, 16th, and 17th in team defense, according to Football Outsiders.

That's not Dick LeBeau impressive, but it's average or slightly better, which would have been enough to put the Texans in the playoffs at some point in the last four seasons. By comparison, since 2008, Houston's defense has finished 29th, 19th, and 31st. That's unacceptable.

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Posted on: July 13, 2011 8:34 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 10:32 am
 

Stafford, Arian Foster join CBS Football Podcast

Posted by Will Brinson

We've got a star-studded podcast on this heavy-with-news Wednesday, as Matthew Stafford of the Lions and Arian Foster of the Texans -- along with Gatorade Player of the Year nominee and Tennessee-commit Justin Worley -- join me to talk some football.

I chat with Stafford about Pete Prisco naming him a breakout player ("he's a smart guy"), the hype that the Lions are getting, wanting cornerbacks in free agency and whether he liked the pick of Nick Fairley (versus an offensive lineman).

Foster talks about his success last season, what his expectations are for next year, whether he's worried about his number of carries in 2010 (he calls the 300-theory "a myth"), and how often people come up to him and tell him about their fantasy football leagues and how he saved them ("every single day").

He also discusses the Subway charity work he's doing right now -- for a limited time, anyone who can donate $10 to the West Alabama Food Bank by texting "FOOD" to 27722, and Subway will match each donation between now and the end of July. So go do that, please.

Just hit the play button and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.



If you can't view the podcast, click here to download.





Posted on: July 11, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 9:58 am
 

Leinart on NFL career: I haven't proven anything

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Matt Leinart's NFL career can kindly be described as underwhelming.

Drafted by the Cardinals with the No. 10 pick in 2006, the former USC quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner started 11 games as a rookie but only six games since. Arizona released Leinart before the 2010 season, and he eventually signed with Houston where sat behind Matt Schaub.

Now entering his sixth year in the league, Leinart, 28, is a free agent. We wrote last month that the Seahawks could be interested in his services once the lockout ends and free agency begins (Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was Leinart's coach at USC), but Seattle might also trade for Kevin Kolb, re-sign veteran Matt Hasselbeck or choose to give backup Charlie Whitehurst a crack at the starting gig.

To put it another way: There's a lot uncertainty in Leinart's professional future.

During an appearance Friday on ESPN Radio Los Angeles, Leinart spoke about what it means to have people call him a "bust" at this point in his career.

“I’ve heard everything," he said, according to Sports Radio Interviews. "I’ve seen everything. For me I haven’t proven anything, so I haven’t proven that I could play game in and game out.

"I understand that," he continued. "I believe I can play and I’m not one to make excuses. I’ve never made an excuse with my time in Arizona. It just didn’t work out for whatever reason. Those are reasons people outside of the organization won’t understand, but it didn’t work out and it wasn’t a right fit, so you move on.

"You kind of look at the timeline of what has happened to me and with having a pretty good rookie year and the second year getting the injury and Kurt Warner played himself into the Hall of Fame in the last three years. There’s not a lot I can do about that. I battled with a Hall of Famer two training camps in a row. I thought I competed as well as he did and obviously Kurt was a great player. He took us to a Super Bowl. I truly believe he got himself into the Hall of Fame those last couple of years."

One of the knocks on Leinart after he left Arizona is that he he didn't have the disposition coaches look for in their franchise quarterback. Last September, after the Cardinals released Leinart, ESPN.com's NFC West blogger Mike Sando wrote: "Leinart could have made this work if he had played by Whisenhunt's rules. He wasn't willing (or possibly able) to do that under difficult circumstances. He complained and pouted and made it impossible for Whisenhunt to name Leinart the leader of a locker room filled with players more closely aligned with the Whisenhunt mindset."

In terms of preparing for the 2011 season, Leinart said, "For me I’ve worked hard this off-season. … I’m always ready. I’m always prepared and like I said it’s just always about being a quarterback, but being the right situation. For me hopefully that situation comes up this year and I can thrive and show I belong in the league and I can play because I know I can and that’s what I plan on doing.”

History says Leinart's a long shot. Then again, the guy he sat behind in Arizona was once bagging groceries and playing for the Iowa Barnstormers before he won a Super Bowl ring with the Rams and, in Leinart's estimation, cemented his Hall of Fame credentials with the Cardinals.

Stranger things have happened.

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Posted on: July 7, 2011 9:12 am
Edited on: July 7, 2011 9:38 am
 

Who we want to see on Hard Knocks '11

Hard Knocks (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Throughout the lockout that seems neverending -- now at 114 days and counting!!! -- we’ve seen players get arrested, we’ve seen the NFL and the NFLPA come together and then bicker and then come together and then bicker, and we’ve seen players sue their girlfriends for their engagement rings.

Most disturbing, we’ve seen the signs that Brett Favre might want to return for another season.

We’ve also heard plenty about how a lost preseason would cost the NFL $800 million if the lockout continues through August and into September.

But when it comes to the preseason and how much is on the line, you know what we haven’t heard about? We haven’t heard which squad will be the subject of the annual highlight of August –- HBO’s "Hard Knocks."  

Oh, we know which teams have already declined the invitation (or supposedly, declined the invitation). Among them are the Buccaneers, the Broncos, the Lions and the Falcons (who might be open to doing it in the future), and at this point, it seems as if nobody wants to be on the show. Making matters tougher are those who say cooperating with Hard Knocks is a mistake.

Assuming we’ll see a preseason this year that would provide a platform for the Hard Knocks crew to start filming -- and CBSSports.coms’ Mike Freeman writes that it’s getting close --here are five teams we’d like to see featured on Hard Knocks. Many of them might not be interested for one reason or another, but if we have a fantasy roster, this is it.

Panthers


NewtonThe big storyline: Simply put: the entertainer and the icon, Cam Newton. We want to see how he learns the offense; we want to see if his teammates rally around him; we want to get an early idea of whether Carolina made a bad decision last April. Or maybe he’s the next superstar in the game. Either way, he’s one of the biggest storylines of the preseason, and we want to be inside the locker room to see what happens.

The foil: Jimmy Clausen. How is he going to react to Newton? What happens when Newton badly fakes out some defender destined for the practice squad and gains 30 yards on a broken play? Will the director then cut to Clausen as he raises a fist to the sky in anger? And what happens if Clausen, um, actually outplays Newton?

Two other compelling reasons: 1) NFL.com’s Gil Brandt has mentioned in the past couple of days that Favre has offered to help mentor Newton. Can you imagine the video that could come from this, especially if the camera caught Favre alone in the locker room sending a text message? 2) WR Steve Smith: is he going to play for the Panthers or not?

Patriots


The big storyline: The same guy who makes sure this show would never feature his team on his watch. That would be coach Bill Belichick. How fascinating would it be to see how Belichick builds a team and how he relates to his players? Would we get to see Belichick’s team meeting in which he implicitly tells his team how to answer questions from the media (in the most uninteresting way possible)? Kidding aside, we want to see a future Hall of Fame coach behind the scenes and uncensored.

The foil: Rex Ryan. Is there any way to get a split screen of the Jets coach talking trash about Belichick -- hey, he’s not here to kiss anybody’s ring! – while Belichick coldly goes about finding a way to make Ryan pay for his words?

Two other compelling reasons: 1) Danny Woodhead: he was on Hard Knocks with the Jets last season, and though he’s not in danger of being cut with New England, I still want to know why Woodhead, all of a sudden, is so freaking good. 2) G Logan Mankins (and his agent) has said some not very complimentary things about the Patriots management, all in the name of landing a large contract. Will he be kinder and gentler this preseason?

Packers


The big storyline: Obviously, the Lombardi Trophy. Hard Knocks has never followed a team the preseason after it won the Super Bowl, so it’d be cool to see the ring ceremony the public wasn’t allowed to witness a few weeks back (I’m assuming Hard Knocks wasn’t actually there, but it’d be cool nonetheless) while watching the Packers attempt a repeat.

The foil: Charles Woodson vs. Tramon Williams. Woodson is the bigger name, but he’s older than Williams and there’s a pretty good chance Williams is the better CB these days. Maybe we’d really get to see if Woodson is close to the end, and if Williams can replace Woodson’s outrageous production.

Two other compelling reasons: 1) Would Aaron Rodgers sign autographs for the fans at training camp? Because, as we all know, he doesn’t like signing for cancer patients (I kid, I kid). 2) Last year, little-used cornerback Brandon Underwood had a sexual assault charge hanging over his head all season (he pleaded no contest to a lesser charge). Now, he’s been charged with disorderly conduct after an alleged physical altercation with his soon-to-be ex-wife. Underwood isn’t a great quote, but his story might make for an interesting change of pace on the show.

PhillipsTexans


The big storyline: The will-they-or-won’t-they-fire-him as it relates to coach Gary Kubiak. I’m kind of surprised he’s still coaching in Houston actually, and the last time Hard Knocks featured this kind of storyline, it was Wade Phillips with the Cowboys. Now, Phillips is Kubiak’s defensive coordinator. How hot can that boiler room get anyway?

The foil: The secondary. This is what I wrote in the Texans offseason checkup: “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.” I don’t disagree with that.

Two other compelling reasons: 1) Though he came off a bit bumbling in Season 4 with the Cowboys, Phillips is a sympathetic figure. And the man has proved he can coordinate a defense. I want to see how he transforms a 4-3 sieve-like defense into a 3-4 defense that potentially could save Kubiak’s job. 2) Will QB Matt Schaub ever get into the playoffs? He’s the best quarterback in the league who hasn’t gotten there.

Raiders


The big storyline: Obviously, Al Davis, and the one question I want to know. How hands-on is he these days?

The foil: Nnamdi Asomugha: Just like Darrelle Revis last season with the Jets, we’re not going to see too much of the talented free agent cornerback on the TV. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see any of Antonio Cromartie either (psst, see video below).

Two other compelling reasons: 1) New coach Hue Jackson finally gets his chance at running a team. Forget that Tom Cable went 6-0 in the AFC West last year without making the playoffs -- still a pretty damn impressive feat. Davis got rid of him, just like he gets rid of everybody after a couple years. Will Jackson be an exception? 2) Al Davis: Seriously, I want as much Al Davis as possible.



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Posted on: July 6, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 11:37 am
 

Texans chasing Nnamdi, 'long shot' to Cowboys?

Posted by Will Brinson

There's little question that, whenever the lockout finally ends, Nnamdi Asomugha will be the most sought-after player on the NFL's free-agent market.

And as more teams jump into the fray for help at the cornerback position, his price will only get higher. There'll likely be many teams chasing his services, but it appears that the Cowboys will not be one of them.

That's according to Matt Mosely of Fox Sports Southwest, who writes that he can "tell you with absolute certainty that Dallas sees Asomugha as a long shot."

Mosely says he's been told "only in our dreams" by folks in the Cowboys organization that such a signing and falls below signing Doug B. Free. (Not to mention it would require that Dallas release Terence Newman.)

Free's going to be pretty pricey, even though the 'Boys will end up moving him to right tackle once Tyron Smith's ready to take over on the left side. And while Dallas could definitely use Asomugha's talent to shut down some of the dangerous NFC East wideouts they face several times a year, they've got plenty of other issues to address.

A team that will have no choice but to chase Asomugha? That would be the Texans, whose pass defense flirted with being historically bad in 2010.

Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network reported Tuesday that Houston is "indeed prepared to be aggressive in free agency … and will be among the teams pursuing" Asomugha.

The bad news for the Texans is that they'll now be chasing a player who will demand more than Dunta Robinson did when he left Houston for the Falcons in free agency a year ago.

The good news is that the new CBA, provided it plays out as everyone believes, should end up pushing several talented cornerbacks (namely Jonathan Joseph) into the free-agent market.

That won't make Asomugha too much cheaper, but it will give teams that don't have the bankroll to say in the hunt with the Dan Snyders of the world a shot at picking u pa viable option anyway.

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Posted on: June 19, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 5:35 pm
 

Leinart could reunite with Carroll in Seattle

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Nothing like a lockout to artificially inflate Matt Leinart's value. The former Cardinals first-round pick in the 2006 draft, Leinart has been underwhelming by any measure. After five starts as a rookie, he toiled mostly as a backup. Leinart was also occasionally characterized as disgruntled, and that eventually led to Arizona releasing him before the 2010 season.

"In fairness to Matt, I think that it would be a tough position for him to be in a backup role," coach Ken Whisenhunt said at the time. "Maybe a fresh start for him is what would be a good thing, for all of us."

Leinart signed with Houston, where he took exactly zero snaps.

Now, according to the Houston Chronicle's John McClain, "the Texans would love to have him back" but admits "Leinart wants to play for a team that'll give him a chance to start. I see him being reunited with Pete Carroll."

Which is the latest evidence that Matt Hasselbeck, who spent the previous 10 seasons in Seattle, will be hawking his wares elsewhere in 2011.

Dan Pompei, writing for NationalFootballPost.com, echoes McClain's thinking that, ultimately, Leinart could end up with Carroll. But just like Whisenhunt in Arizona and Gary Kubiak in Houston, Pompei doesn't think Leinart will be the starter in Seattle, either.
Chances are looking good that the Seahawks may have two new quarterbacks by the time camp opens. They tried to re-sign Matt Hasselbeck before the lockout started and couldn’t come to terms. Now they may move on if they can find a better alternative (hello, Kevin Kolb) as a starter. Getting hurt in each of the last three years has left Hasselbeck vulnerable in Seattle. And it would almost be an upset if the Seahawks didn’t sign Matt Leinart to come in as a backup. The Seahawks might not be crazy about what they have seen of Leinart on tape, but coach Pete Carroll has won a lot of games with him, and he thinks he can win some more.
With the Cardinals, the knock against Leinart wasn't his ability (although his inconsistent efforts in practice didn't help); it was that he wasn't considered a leader.

ESPN.com's NFC West blogger Mike Sando wrote last September that "Leinart could have made this work if he had played by Whisenhunt's rules. He wasn't willing (or possibly able) to do that under difficult circumstances. He complained and pouted and made it impossible for Whisenhunt to name Leinart the leader of a locker room filled with players more closely aligned with the Whisenhunt mindset."

As Whisenhunt said last fall, maybe a fresh start will be good for Leinart, even if he's destined to be a backup. A bit of advice, Matt: try to avoid burning bridges like your former college teammate, LenDale White.

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Posted on: June 12, 2011 4:12 pm
 

Wade Phillips handcuffed by lockout

PhillipsPosted by Josh Katzowitz

The other day, I caught legendary coach Bum Phillips on the phone for a 45-minute chat, and briefly, I asked about his son, Wade, and how he thought the Texans would adjust to running the 3-4 defense that Phillips will install.

Not surprisingly, Bum said he thought the adjustment would be smooth – even if DE Mario Williams, who’s been much more effective in a three-point stance than standing as an OLB, will have to get used to a new position.

Yet, Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune isn’t so sure.

As Kaufman writes, the lockout has played havoc because Phillips and head coach Gary Kubiak, just like every other coach and defensive coordinator in the league, can’t communicate with their players.

Considering Phillips basically was hired in order to send Houston to the playoffs for the first time, this doesn’t bode particularly well (of course, on the other hand, the Texans’ future opponents aren’t communicating with each other either).

As Kaufman writes:

Phillips has proven to be a pedestrian head coach in several NFL outposts, but he's also an effective assistant who can make a difference and save Kubiak's job.

Unfortunately, his timing is lousy.

This lockout is having a particularly debilitating effect on a Houston franchise that took a major step backwards last season.

It's in (owner Bob) McNair's interests to get this lockout lifted as quickly as possible so Houston coaches can get to work on a daunting turnaround project.

Tick tock, Wade.

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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