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Tag:Danieal Manning
Posted on: January 15, 2012 4:51 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2012 5:34 pm
 

Texans defense will lead them back to postseason

Houston's defense could be one of the NFL's best in the years to come (AP).

By Josh Katzowitz

No matter what happens with T.J. Yates -- and he most likely will return to backing up Matt Schaub next season -- the Texans have to be pleased (no, they have to be ecstatic) with the way the season ended.

Not with the final result today obviously, falling to Baltimore 20-13 in the AFC divisional playoffs. But with the successful introduction of Yates in the final seven games of the season, with the showing by Arian Foster that proved he wasn’t a one-year wonder, and, perhaps most impressively, with the young defense that dominated the Ravens offense for most of the afternoon.

On a third-and-inches late in the game, with Baltimore trying to seal the outcome, the defense stuffed Baltimore fullback Vonta Leach to give Yates one more chance to tie the game. Earlier in the half, with the Ravens trying to increase their lead on fourth-and-goal from the 1, Brooks Reed and Tim Dobbins met Ray Rice at the goal line for no gain. The Texans sacked Joe Flacco five times. They pressured him numerous other times.

They were nasty, they hit hard (as Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck made sure to point out on his Twitter feed after Houston stopped Rice), and they gave a preview of the future. As in, Houston could be the toughest defense in the league for the next several years.

Already, Houston received great news when defensive coordinator – and, in my mind, the assistant coach of the year -- Wade Phillips withdrew his name from consideration for the Buccaneers head coaching job. “My first priority is to be here,” Phillips said when he was still being considered for the Tampa Bay job. “I like it here. I love it here. You know we’ve had such a magical year and we’re going to keep it going so that’s my first choice.”

But on Saturday, look at who was making an impact. Reed had 2 ½ sacks. As did J.J. Watt. Connor Barwin was a beast, and Brian Cushing was all over the place. That’s a rookie, a rookie, a third-year player and a third-year player, respectively, in the Texans front-seven. Plus, with the vast improvement of the secondary with Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning, Houston’s defense will continue to be a special unit.

You know who wasn’t there, wasn’t around the last 13 games, in fact? That’d be former No. 1 pick Mario Williams, who tore his pectoral muscle in October. While Williams has been a standout defensive end during his career, he’s going to be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

Is it worth it to bring back a 4-3 defensive end into Phillips’ 3-4 scheme? Williams seemed to adjust pretty well in Phillips’ new defense (he had five sacks in five games, after all), but the Texans played damn well after he was lost for the season. The Texans will have to ask themselves if signing Williams to a big-money deal is absolutely necessary to continue their defensive domination.

On Sunday, the real problem was the Texans’ first-quarter jitters, Yates’ interceptions and Jacoby Jones’ disastrous punt-returning. But with Schaub, Foster and that nasty defense returning next season, Houston will be a scary team to face. And a definite Super Bowl contender.



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Posted on: November 21, 2011 3:37 pm
 

Andre Johnson expected to return this week

Johnson

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It sounds like the long-awaited return of Texans receiver Andre Johnson will come this week -- just in time for Matt Leinart to replace the injured Matt Schaub at quarterback for the rest of the season.

That’s what coach Gary Kubiak said today when he shared the news that Johnson practiced with no problems.

“He took all his reps with the team,” Kubiak told reporters. “All systems should be go this weekend."

If that’s the case, it’d be the first time since Johnson injured his hamstring in Week 4, and it’d be welcome news for a Texans squad trying to figure out how it’ll survive the rest of the season without Schaub.

In other Texans injury news, safety Danieal Manning, one of the reasons Houston’s defense has become such a strong unit this season, returned to practice for the first time since breaking his leg in Week 7.

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Posted on: September 22, 2011 11:04 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Biggest surprises

Wade Phillips has revitalized Houston's defense (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Every year, it’s easy to predict how some teams and players will perform. For instance, this year it was easy to see that the Patriots were going to be awesome, the Colts were going to struggle without Peyton Manning, and some unheralded running back somewhere would surprise everyone with his fantastic performances (Houston’s Ben Tate for example, playing in place of last year’s unheralded/awesome running back Arian Foster).

But, as always, there have been some major surprises through the first two weeks that virtually nobody could see coming. Which is why we follow sports (and the NFL, in particular) in the first place. It’d be boring if we knew everything. But the fact we didn’t know just HOW terrible the Colts would be without Manning is what makes watching pro football a good time.

Therefore, this week, we introduce the Top 10 with a Twist list of the players and teams who have surprised us the most in the first two weeks of the season. No Tom Brady mentions in here. Instead, we give you Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jimmy Clausen's replacement.

10. Redskins: Remember how we all laughed at Rex Grossman when he proclaimed he thought that Washington would win the NFC East? Well, look at which squad is at the top of that division. That would be the Redskins at 2-0, ahead of the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys. It’s because Grossman has played well, running back Tim Hightower has had a resurgence and the Redskins rank No. 6 in points allowed (they were No. 21 last season). Hey, maybe, in addition to being a pretty decent quarterback, Grossman is quite the soothsayer. 

9. Dunta Robinson: I have to admit that I was shocked that the NFL fined the Falcons cornerback only $40,000 after his egregious case of head-hunting against Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin last Sunday night. You’ll recall Robinson was fined $50,000 the first time he was caught head-hunting last season (that figure was reduced to $25,000), and though the NFL will say this case was different and less severe, I don’t buy it. We called on the NFL to suspend Robinson, and I didn’t think we’d see that. But I didn’t think we’d see less of a punishment than the first time he went helmet to helmet. Though we live in a time when Roger Goodell’s disciplinary decisions oftentimes don’t make sense, this was a shocker.

8. Bills: It’s only been a few years since the Bills started a season 2-0, but could you tell me the last time Buffalo started the season 2-0 and then finished with a winning record? You’d have to go all the way back to 1996, so obviously, the Bills aren’t going to start celebrating anything quite yet. But the way quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to play (which, in itself, is a shocker) and the way running back Fred Jackson continues to pile up yards and the way coach Chan Gailey continues to turn around this team, it’s well … a little surprising. And it’s gotten them into first place in the AFC East (well, they’re tied with the Jets and the Patriots, but the Bills alphabetically are at the top of the division, so there’s that).

Johnson7. Kenny Britt: Yes, we knew Kenny Britt had talent, but we didn’t know he’d explode like this after his rather interesting offseason. So far, he’s recorded 14 catches for 271 yards and three touchdowns, and considering, in his best season before this one, he totaled 42 receptions and 775 yards, this is looking like a breakout year for him. Now if he only can stop getting arrested in the offseason …

6. Chris Johnson: You might find this selection strange, considering I placed Johnson in last week’s list -- the top-10 candidates for comeback player of the year. But after a Week 1 in which he was underused (only nine carries), Johnson ran for 53 yards on 24 chances last week. Which means that for a player whose stated goal is to break the 2,000-yard mark again hasn’t even cracked the 100-yard mark for the entire season. Considering he just signed a $54 million contract, his output has been rather disappointing. Maybe we shouldn’t have been so surprised. Johnson did, after all, hold out from training camp. But Johnson has been so good in his career, the fact he’s been so underwhelming is a little off-putting.

5. Chiefs: How do you go from winning the AFC West crown to being absolutely horrible the next year? How do you go from being pretty decent last year to being absolutely atrocious now? Some injuries (Tony Moeaki, Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry), some in-fighting between general manager Scott Pioli and coach Todd Haley (supposedly) and some brutal defense. Whatever the cause, Kansas City has been outscored 89-10 combined by the Bills and the Lions. Considering the Packers, the Steelers, the Chargers (twice), the Patriots, the Bears and the Jets still are on the schedule, the Chiefs might be in for a colonoscopy of a year.

4. Cam Newton: People were split about how Newton would affect the Panthers this season. Some thought he’d be terrible (I’m guilty, as charged). Some thought he would excite the masses in Charlotte with his on-field play and his off-field charisma. But nobody really knew for sure. Remember, about a month ago, we thought Jimmy Clausen might beat out Newton for the starting job (gosh, we were so naïve back then, eh?). But even those who thought he’d be a solid quarterback have to be taken aback by these numbers: a 62.7 completion percentage, 854 passing yards, three scores (we’ll ignore the four interceptions so far) and the record for most passing yards in a pro debut and most passing yards by a rookie. Sure, the Panthers are 0-2, but Newton has been pretty incredible.

3. Bill Belichick: Who would have guessed the Patriots coach would ever allow anybody to film his life for a documentary? The first episode of A Football Life: Bill Belichick on NFL Network was an interesting look at the best coach in the league and what he’s like in the meeting room, the locker room and, interestingly enough, on a boat in Nantucket. Belichick comes off like a cold-blooded SOB around the media, but in this documentary -- the second part of which will air Thursday, and supposedly, he really shows his emotions in that episode -- you can see the guy is actually human. And considering Belichick would be the 32nd NFL coach who I ever believed would agree to something like this, it’s a pleasant surprise.

2. Faking injuries: Did anybody think this stuff wasn’t happening before? Just because Deon Grant might have been faking an injury to slow down the Rams’ no-huddle, hurry-up offense  last Sunday (Grant, by the way, takes GREAT offense that you’d even think so), that’s not to say this tactic hasn’t been used for many, many years. It has; it’s usually just not so obvious. In fact, you can read this brief article from the NY Times in which the Bengals ask the league to look at players faking injuries. That article, by the way, is from 1989.

1. Wade Phillips: He wasn’t the most-respected head coach (I think the second season of Hard Knocks with the Cowboys gave the impression he was kind of a bumbling Texan who let people walk all over him), but as a defensive coordinator, he’s done a wonderful job in Houston. Since changing Gary Kubiak’s defense to a 3-4 and since the team signed Danieal Manning and Johnathan Joseph in the secondary, Phillips has helped Houston become the top defense in the league, allowing 10 points and 271 yards per game (both rank No. 1 in the NFL). Who would have thought that after last season when the Texans secondary was burned in just about every game they played? Phillips, though he might never get another head coaching job, is saving somebody else’s job right now. We knew Phillips would be good. We didn’t think he’d be this good, this soon.

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 12:05 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 7:13 pm
 

Andre Johnson dislocates finger, leaves practice

Posted by Will Brinson

UPDATE via the AP (6:15 p.m.): Houston Texans All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson will miss "a day or two" of practice after dislocating his left index finger in a morning workout, according to coach Gary Kubiak.

Johnson wore a bandage on his finger as he watched the Tuesday afternoon walk-through from the sideline. Kubiak said Johnson went to the hospital, but "is going to be OK."

Things have been going pretty, pretty, pre-tah well for the Houston Texans. They grabbed Wade Phillips to revamp their defense in the offseason and then shored up their secondary with free agents Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning. They look poised to make the leap into the playoffs. Perhaps things were going too well.

Fortunately, we have the solution: an Andre Johnson dislocated finger!

Per our own Pete Prisco (currently at Texans training camp), Johnson left the field on a cart -- Steph Stradley of the Houston Chronicle also points out that Johnson wasn't "carted off" per se, in as much that it means "suffered a devastating injury" -- and the Texans have since informed folks that Johnson dislocated his finger.

"He dislocated his finger in a one-on-one drill this morning and we’re getting it looked at, so hopefully he’s back here this afternoon," head coach Gary Kubiak said at the post-practice press conference. "We’ll have to wait and see.  I wasn’t at the drill so I just got the information. 

"I have a big lump in my throat like everybody else, but hopefully he’ll be fine."

Said finger has also been popped back in, which not only inspires "ew" but also a Googling of a classic "Lethal Weapon" scene.

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Posted on: May 3, 2011 7:37 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2011 7:38 pm
 

NFC North draft truths revealed

Posted by Andy Benoit

One of the best things about the draft is that from it we can find out what teams really think about their current players. Excluding examples of teams filling obvious needs, here are some of the more revealing draft picks from 2011, with a quick blurb of what the team was really saying by making this pick.

Chicago Bears

1st round, Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Come on, it’s obvious: our offensive tackles stink and former first-round pick Chris Williams will be at guard for the long haul.
 
3rd round, Chris Conte, FS, California
What can we say? For some reason we’ve never totally trusted Danieal Manning.
 
5th round, Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho
Decent play off the bench in the NFC Championship isn’t enough to completely sell us on Caleb Hanie. We at least want some options at backup quarterback for now.
 C. Ponder (US Presswire)
Detroit Lions

2nd round, Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
If he pans out, Jahvid Best will become like Jamaal Charles, not Chris Johnson. (i.e. he needs someone to share the load.)
 
Green Bay Packers

2nd Round, Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
We want to sign RFA James Jones long-term but have a feeling he’ll ask for too much money. And even if we can sign Jones, Donald Driver is closer to the end than you think.

Minnesota Vikings

1st round, Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
We like this quarterback (and no team picking in the twenties would trade with us).
 
2nd round, Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
Visanthe Shiancoe is a nice player, but ultimately we consider him part of the “Favre era”.

Check back throughout the week for other division’s Draft Truths Revealed. To see all Draft Truths Revealed, click the “Draft Truths” tag.

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RSS Feed.

Posted on: March 24, 2011 10:17 am
 

Hot Routes 3.24.11 lockout side effects

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Posted on: February 28, 2011 11:58 am
 

Hot Routes 2.28.11: The Wonder(lic) years



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • How about some more NFL combine news? According to two sources for the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Alabama QB Greg McElroy scored a 48 on the Wonderlic test. That’s out of 50, which, if my math is correct, means he scored a 96 out of 100.
  • The Jaguars feel like Luke McCown is one of the best backup QBs in the league, which is why, according to the Florida Times Union , Jacksonville is close to re-signing him to a one-year deal.
  • Last season, the Bears offered S Danieal Manning a contract extension worth $6 million over three years ($2 million of it was guaranteed), but he rejected it. Sounds like he thinks he can get more on the open market if he’s ruled an unrestricted free agent.

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Posted on: December 27, 2010 3:56 pm
 

We don't the Bears fully maximize Hester?

Posted by Andy Benoit

Something that has become downright impossible to understand is why the Chicago Bears occasionally leave Devin Hester on the bench for kickoff returns. They actually kept Hester out of the kick return role for essentially all of last season, but midway through this year, they wised up and re-inserted him.
D. Hester (US Presswire)
Still, about once or twice a game this season, including Sunday against the Jets, the Bears will replace Hester on kick returns with Danieal Manning. To be fair, Manning’s swift speed makes him one of the most lethal return weapons in the game. He has more 40-plus-yard kickoff returns than any player in football since 20-08.

But to be fairer, Hester is the greatest return weapon of all-time. His mere presence on the field makes opposing coaches tremble and gladly sacrifice field position for security. This is why the Bears have the best average starting field position in the NFL.

Hester was only able to get his hands on one kickoff against the Jets Sunday; he took it back 40 yards, even though, initially, a return of 20 yards seemed impossible. Hester’s lone punt return went for 38 yards.

Hester has essentially settled into a No. 3 receiver role, so it’s not like the return duties are overly taxing anymore. And his contributions as a receiver are almost moot in this discussion anyway, because Hester’s primary value to the Bears is – or should be – as a returner. So what’s up with limiting his kick returns?

“Once the game is going, we go with the hot hand,” special teams coordinator Dave Toub told the team’s website earlier this month. “Also, we’ll see if Danieal is fresh or not. Sometimes Danieal is due to go, but they’ve had a long drive on defense and he’s tired, so we go to Devin. Sometimes we’ll start a game with a particular returner just because of the game plan situation.

“We want to see sometimes how they’re going to react to Danieal or react to Devin, so we’ll start with different guys. We don’t want to get into a specific pattern where we do the same thing over and over.”

Toub’s logic certainly makes sense. But the reality is, there is not much to see for how teams will react to Hester: they’ll either kick it to the most dangerous special teams player in the game or they’ll shy away and automatically give the Bears good field position.

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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