Tag:Houston Texans
Posted on: November 20, 2011 1:18 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2011 1:21 pm
 

Casserly: Schaub to get 2nd opinion, could return

There's still a chance Schaub plays this season.  (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

CBS NFL Today insider and former NFL general manager Charley Casserly spoke Sunday about the possibility Texans' quarterback Matt Schaub will play again this season.


Charley Casserly sat down with James Brown to discuss the status of Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub after his recent injury.

"Not necessarily," Casserly told James Brown when asked if Schaub's done for 2011. "But on the injury, (Buccaneers DT) Albert Haynesworth caused the injury by falling on his foot. The irony of this is this is the second time he's knocked Schaub out. Two years ago, he dislocated his shoulder.

"Now in talking to the Texans they told me this: that Schaub is going to visit Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, NC this week to get a second opinion. If the opinion says he has to have surgery, he's out for the season. However, if he says rest and rehab, there's an outside chance that Schaub could come back and play in the playoffs."

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Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:15 pm
 

Five questions (or more) with Bum Phillips

Phillips

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Every Sunday, Bum Phillips watches with fatherly pride as his son, Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, helps his team to another standout performance. After Houston finished 30th in total defense last year, Wade Phillips, after switching the scheme from a 4-3 to a 3-4, has the Texans as the No. 1 defense in the NFL in his first year in the organization.

You might be surprised, considering Wade Phillips’ up and down head coaching career, but there’s no doubt he’s a strong defensive coordinator. He gets much of that from his father, Bum Phillips, who was the first coach to bring the 3-4 to the NFL in the mid-1970s and eventually became the popular Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints coach. Bum Phillips finished his career with an 82-77 mark, and he was rarely seen without his trusty cowboy hat. He was a character and a good coach, and apparently, Wade got many of those genes.

We caught up with 88-year-old Bum Phillips earlier this week, and we talked about the job Wade has done this year, how the Texans will survive without quarterback Matt Schaub, the 3-4 defense and if the Broncos can win with Tim Tebow.

Previous Five Questions (or more):

Sept. 16:
Actor/former Patriots DB Brian White

Sept. 30: Bills RB Fred Jackson

Oct. 7: Sweetness author Jeff Pearlman

Oct. 21: 49ers LB Aldon Smith

Nov. 4:
Chris Crocker


1. CBSSports.com: Considering how bad the Texans defense was last year, how did Wade come in this year and turn it all around? Even with the lockout and not having any time to install it in the offseason, how did it happen?

Bum Phillips: Good players. And a good system. And a bunch of good people around them on offense. They keep the ball on offense, which helps them a lot. If they went three-and-out all the time and didn’t keep the ball real long, it’d be hard to keep the defense from not getting tired. He’s had 35 years in the league, and he’s been defensive coordinator for a bunch of teams. They’ve had good teams with him coaching. It’d have to be the system.

CBS: But I think what surprised me is that the turnaround happened so quickly, even with the lockout and not having an offseason.

Phillips: The 3-4 evidently fits their personnel better. They’ve got better linebackers than they do defensive linemen. They don’t need but three defensive linemen line to play.

2. CBS: How did Wade get over what happened last year in Dallas with him being fired in the middle of the season and then having to take a step down and go back to being a coordinator again?

Phillips: I don’t know. It’s just football. It’s like a game. When it’s over, it’s over, and you get ready for the next one. He’s always had good teams. I think he’s a great football coach. Thirty five years is a long time to stay in the league, so he must be doing something right.

CBS: You coached with Wade for many years. He was your assistant in Houston and in New Orleans. What was it like to coach with your boy?

Phillips: It was like coaching with anybody else. He’s my own son, but he was a good football coach. He did exactly what we asked him to do. And he did it well. I was very close to all my coaches. One of them just happened to be my son. I never looked at it like that he was my son. He was always just a coach. He didn’t get any favors. He didn’t get any undo fussing out.

Bum Phillip's son,Wade, has turned around Houston's defense (US Presswire).3. CBS: Talk to me about bringing the 3-4 to the NFL.

Phillips: Pretty easy. I found about it when I was coaching in high school. We put it in here when I got in pro ball, because football is all about using the personnel you’ve got. You have to get the best 11 defensive players on the field. It’s up to you to put them in a situation where you can use them all. If you’re short on linemen like we were in San Diego  (in the late 1960s) and you had four really, really good linebackers where we couldn’t play all four of them, you utilized your best people. But after Chicago beat us bad in the preseason, Sid (Gillman) made me go back to the 4-3 defense. When I was at Oklahoma State (in 1973), Sid asked me to come to Houston as the defensive coordinator, and I said I would do it if he let me play the defense that fit the guys we had. He said sure, and we played the 3-4. I knew it would work. We were the first to do it down-in and down-out. Other people used it as a prevent defense if they were winning the game. You know, put eight back in the secondary and rush three. But I knew darn good and well it would work.

CBS: Did other coaches at the time think it was a gimmick? Is that why Sid Gillman didn’t want to stick with it in San Diego?

Phillips: No, it wasn’t a gimmick. Everybody thought it was. We put it in Houston in 1974, and by 1976, 19 times were using it. It had never been used in pro ball. They said you would have a hard time stopping people with three linemen and four linebackers. But those linebackers are like defensive ends, and it’s a great way to rush the passer.

They’ve changed it a lot (in the current NFL) since we started using it. But that’s what you have to do in football. Now, they offset the nose tackle. Now, some people drop into a 3 technique on the weak side. Pittsburgh plays a 3-4 defense but they do it differently. It’s just something that’s evolved. They’ve improved it.

4. CBS: How much do you follow the NFL these days? Are you watching games every week?

Phillips: Sure. I watch more now than I used to (laughs). Nah, not really. But I’ve got a TV where you can record them. I’ll record three or four, and I’ll watch one or two at the same time and then go back afterward and watch the others.

CBS: And you’re watching all the Texans game I guess, right?

Phillips: Oh hell yes.

5. CBS: What do the Texans do now that they don’t have Matt Schaub for the rest of the year?

Phillips: That’s going to hurt them quite a bit. One of the reasons the defense has been good was because Matt Schaub could move the ball down the field. It’s going to take a really, really good effort from everybody. It’s not just as easy to say we’re going to change the quarterback or just run the ball. If they put enough guys up there in the box, you can’t run the ball. It still goes back to the quarterback needing to complete passes. They might put seven, eight or nine guys in the box.

CBS: You know, with those running backs, they should just install the wishbone.

Phillips: I don’t think they’d do it.

CBS: Well, I’m just kidding, but Denver has been doing the read option with Tim Tebow.

Phillips: But here’s the problem. One of those options is the quarterback is going to have to keep it sometimes. If the defense takes the pitch man and the dive man away, the quarterback has to keep the ball. I just don’t think the quarterback can do that for 16 games. Having to run every now and then because you don’t have anybody open, you can get tackled by one guy. But when he’s running the option, there’s going to be three or four people hitting you at times.

They need to try to win ballgames. They’re talking about the kid not throwing but eight passes. Hell, he ran the ball. What do you need? You need to move the ball consistently. That’s what you’re supposed to do. You don’t have to throw 30 passes a game if you can win the ballgame running. If you take eight passes, who cares if you’re winning?

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Posted on: November 15, 2011 7:36 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Will Tebow option keep working?

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

We're less than 24 hours away from the -- surprisingly -- heavily-hyped matchup between the Jets and ... the Broncos? (Apparently the Jets are frustrated they lost to New England and now taking their smack-talking out on Denver.)

So we break down whether or not the option will continue to work for Tebow against Rex Ryan and the Gang Green.

Our good friend Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk also joins the show to discuss whether or not the Lions are in trouble when it comes to a playoff berth and how much we should read into the Patriots improvement on defense.

We also break down the injury-riddled Monday that just went down, debate whether or not Michael Vick should start this week, and discuss whether or not Matt Leinart and Tyler Palko can save the Texans and Chiefs, respectively.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



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Posted on: November 14, 2011 5:14 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 6:33 am
 

Texans' Matt Schaub done for the season

Leinart will be Houston's starter after their Week 11 bye. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

A source tells CBSSports.com's National NFL Insider Mike Freeman that Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is "done" for the season after suffering a foot injury in Houston's 37-9 victory over the Buccaneers Sunday. The source adds that "the team is devastated," and there's little chance Schaub would be available should the Texans make it to the Super Bowl.

On Monday morning's Pick-6 Podcast, we anointed the Texans the best team in the AFC. They lost receiver Andre Johnson in Week 4, lost their next two games, then went on to win four in a row, including Sunday's beatdown in Tampa Bay.

Week 10 recap, latest NFL news
There was plenty of credit to go around: Wade Phillips' work with the defense, Arian Foster's return to his 2010 form, and quarterback Matt Schaub playing the best football of his career.

With Johnson set to return after the Week 11 bye, everything seemed to be falling into place for the Texans, who pretty much have the AFC South sewn up and are playing for homefield advantage. Now they'll have to build the offense around the running game, hope backup Matt Leinart can make plays when needed, and pray the defense continues to keep opponents in check.

Leinart, the 2006 first-round pick of the Cardinals, was cut by Arizona prior to the 2010 season.

One of the knocks on Leinart after he got his walking papers was that he he didn't have the disposition coaches look for in their franchise quarterback. In September 2010, after the Cardinals released him, ESPN.com's NFC West blogger Mike Sando wrote: "Leinart could have made this work if he had played by [Ken] 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." 

This summer, Leinart acknowledged that he hadn't proven anything in his six-year NFL career, but was working hard in preparation for 2011.

"I’m always ready," he said at the time. "I’m always prepared and like I said it’s just always about being a quarterback, but being in 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.” 

Leinart was re-signed by the Texans during free agency to back up Schaub, a role that didn't require him to get off the bench in 2010. In fact, he didn't sniff the field for 26 games, until Houston's final snap Sunday, a kneel-down to run out the clock.

Head coach Gary Kubiak was asked Monday just how ready Leinart was to step into the starting role. 

“Well that’s why he’s here. That’s why he came back. He liked his opportunity here. He liked this football team. He likes what we do offensively," said Kubiak. "You never know how an opportunity is going to occur, but here we go. It’s a big one for him and his career. He’s had a lot of reps. We’ve cut back on Matt [Schaub]’s reps the last month at practice so he [Leinart] has gotten a ton of reps. 

"[Leinart] has played in big football games in this league. He’s played a lot of football. He’s played in big football games in college. Matt has been around it, but the key is that the whole football team rally around him and playing well as a football team. Matt doesn’t have to go win a game. The team has to go win a game. We’ll rally around him and get him ready to go.”

The former USC star and Heisman Trophy winner last saw significant action in 2007, when he started five games for the Cardinals before a fractured collarbone paved the way for a Kurt Warner comeback. He completed 53.6 percent of his passes that season, throwing two touchdowns and four interceptions. Leinart started 11 games as a rookie in '06, where he had 11 TDs and 12 picks.

If Texans fans are looking for a silver lining, here ya go: it could be worse, Rex Grossman could still be Schaub's backup.


Matt Schaub threw for 242 yards with two touchdowns, which led the Houston Texans to a 37-9 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Marv Albert and Rich Gannon recap this game.

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Posted on: November 14, 2011 3:55 am
Edited on: November 14, 2011 10:18 am
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 10

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 10 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.


1. Houston We Don't Have a Problem

"Who's the best team in the AFC?" -- that's a question I got asked a couple of times on the radio this past week, and I pointed out each time that we shouldn't be sleeping on the Texans. Following their 37-9 pimp-slapping of the Bucs in Tampa, I doubt I'll be the only one saying that this week.

Yes, they play in one of the NFL's worst divisions and, yes, they have a ridiculously cake schedule this year. No, Matt Schaub is not "elite." Yes, the Ravens have beaten them this year.

I don't expect people to stop using those arguments to knock down the Texans. That's fine -- but people need to realize that Houston is as complete a team as there is in the NFL.

They can run: Arian Foster and Ben Tate are the most dangerous backfield combo in the NFL, Derrick Ward's a nice third option and their offensive line is criminally underrated. (All three guys scored Sunday against the Buccaneers.) They can pass: pan Matt Schaub all you want, but he's thrown just three picks in the six games since losing Andre Johnson, and when Johnson returns after the bye he'll only get better.  They play defense: after ranking 30th in total yards allowed in 2010, the Texans find themselves as the stingiest defensive team in football through 10 weeks of the 2011 season.

The Texans rank third in the NFL with 14 interceptions. That's one more than they had in all of 2010. And their point differential (107) currently tops the league.

Heading into Week 10 the Texans were the only team to rank in the top 10 of Football Outsiders efficiency metrics on offense, defense and special teams. The Steelers could join them in that distinction after this week, but thanks to an absolutely dominant game in Tampa Bay, there's zero chance the Texans will see their stock fall.

Look, it's perfectly OK to expect the Texans to figure out a way not to make the playoffs. It's what they do. But it's not like they're working on some fluky formula here. Their offense won't slow down, particularly with Johnson returning, and their defense, despite losing Mario Williams, really appears to be gelling.

And because the division's so terrible, there's a distinct chance the Texans clinch their first AFC South title before Christmas.


2. The Only Stat That Matters ...

If I told you that Tim Tebow would go two of eight passing on Sunday while Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno left the game early with an injury, you'd assume that a) the Chiefs rolled the Broncos and b) Tebow got benched. You would not assume what actually happened, which is that the Broncos beat Kansas City 17-9 to hand the Chiefs their second-straight inexplicable victory.

And what's weirder, that Tebow was 0-fer at halftime, missing on all five of his passing attempts? Or that he only attempted three more passes in the second half? Or that his second completion was a straight-up NFL throw that resulted in a 56-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker?

Or maybe that Broncos coach John Fox was clearly overjoyed to beat a division rival with an offensive gameplan that probably caused the NFL's marketing arm to set fire to the highlight reel within 15 minutes of the final whistle.

"It's just a mindset. It's a low-risk offense. It's not an indictment on Tim Tebow or whoever our quarterback is," Fox said. "It's just whatever is working for us. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. We tried to possess the ball and keep our defense fresh."

That sounds kind of ridiculous, and I guess it is. But we're talking about John Fox here -- he's not exactly an offensive innovator, much less someone who cares in the slightest how many passing attempts his quarterback has, particularly if the team wins.

But hey, there's a precedent for this kind of game -- it's the 27th quarterback time since the merger that a team's won a game despite having a quarterback who completed two or less passes on eight or more attempts. The parameters are weird, and the list is weirder, especially because several of the quarterbacks weren't the only guy to take snaps for their team. Most interesting (to me) are a pair of names on the list with Tebow: Kyle Orton ... and John Elway.

Tebow's not the same quarterback as the man in charge of his future, but he's now 3-1 since taking over as the Broncos starting quarterback. He's improving, Denver's figuring out how to design offensive schemes around his specific skillset, and they're turning what looked like a lost season into an interesting little run in a weak AFC West.

3. Texas Is Big Enough for Two Teams

It really is nuts how much the NFL playoff picture can change in a matter of weeks. Or days. Or hours -- the Cowboys entered Sunday morning two games back of the Giants for the NFC East lead with the potentially resurgent Eagles hot on their heels. Less than 12 hours later, after a 44-7 whipping of Buffalo? Dallas is one game back of the Giants, the Eagles look done, and it's like the Cowboys season was never in jeopardy.

"We needed a game like this," Jason Witten said. "This needs to be the foundation of what lies ahead for this team."

"A game like this" equates to what might be the best game of Tony Romo's career. The oft-maligned quarterback was 23 of 26 for 270 yards and three touchdowns, and the only reason his numbers were suppressed is Dallas 28-7 halftime lead. Romo attempted just seven passes in the second half and set the Cowboys franchise record for completion percentage, hitting 88.5 percent of his passes.

Could it be a coincidence that Romo got rid of his flak jacket for the first time since his broken ribs in Week 2? Maybe. But over the course of the next few weeks, it probably won't look like it, because the Cowboys go to Washington, play Miami and travel to Arizona before hosting the Giants on December 11.

Given that the Giants play the Eagles, the Saints and the Packers in that same time frame, don't be surprised if we're approaching that Week 14 matchup throwing out terms like "division-leading Cowboys" and "darkhorse MVP candidate Romo."

Things change, because this is the NFL. But watching the Cowboys bounce back over the past two weeks, and knowing that Romo's now 17-2 in November (his .895 winning percentage in the month is the highest of any quarterback in the Super Bowl era), it's hard not to think they're getting hot at the right time.

4. Bold But Bad

Mike Smith's decision to go for it on a fourth-and-inches on his own 29-yard line in overtime will be analyzed a lot over the next seven days, because it giftwrapped a 26-23 victory for New Orleans Sunday. And, most importantly, it put the Falcons way behind the eight ball for a shot at the NFC South title, as they're now two games back of the Saints.

Atlanta's still in decent position for a wild card berth, and I'm OK with the call Smith made, even if, like my man Pete Prisco, I probably wouldn't have made the call. (This is hindsight creeping in -- I hated it at the time.) The Saints are terrible against the run (a league-worst 5.2 yards per carry allowed), handing the ball to Drew Brees in overtime is the football equivalent of suicide, and Michael Turner is the perfect back for that situation.

My beef is with the playcall, which was precisely the same play that Atlanta used on fourth and one with six minutes left in the third quarter. Witness what the Saints defense looked like then:



Obviously New Orleans is playing to stop the run, but they're not selling out. They got no penetration, and they're certainly wary of the possibility that Matt Ryan could roll out, or that Turner could cut outside to try and pick up the first down.

The second time around, in overtime, that wasn't the case.



As you'll recall, Gregg Williams called a timeout right before Atlanta broke the huddle not in punt formation for this second try. Do you think he might have pointed several Saints defenders in the direction of where Michael Turner might be running with the ball?

Judging by the relative positions of said Saints defenders in the two pictures above, that seems like a pretty reasonable assumption.

And I understand that Turner's a bowling ball and that the Falcons have Smith's back on this and they appreciate his confidence in them picking up a half-yard or less in such a situation.

But knowing that you showed Williams this exact same play less than an hour ago, you have to be more creative with the playcall, especially when there's a division title on the line.

5. Deja Vu All Over Again

After the Patriots lost to the Giants in Week 9, there was a weird feeling of deja vu. You should have that same feeling right now, because after New England pummeled the Jets 37-16 in New York, every single "the Patriots are dead" column from the past week is totally pointless.

Making the premature eulogizing of the Patriots even more irritating is the similarity between 2010 and 2011.

Last year, the Patriots lost their second game of the season when the Browns shocked them 34-14 in Week 9 in Cleveland. The loss of Randy Moss meant that the Patriots couldn't get vertical and ergo/therefore/henceforth the Pats were dead men walking. Naturally, Tom Brady waltzed into Pittsburgh on November 14, went 30 for 43 for 350 yards and hit Rob Gronkowski for three touchdowns.

On Sunday (Week 10! November 13!) Brady waltzed into the New Meadowlands and carved up Rex Ryan's defense, going 26 of 39 for 329 yards and hitting Gronkowski for two touchdowns.

In case you forgot, Brady closed out last year in pretty good fashion -- he didn't throw an interception for the rest of the year, the Pats didn't lose another game and finished 14-2, and Brady became the first-ever unanimous MVP winner in NFL history.

My point is this: though the Patriots defense might stink, Tom Brady is still on the roster. It's not as if the defense in 2010 was all that good; they finished 25th overall in the NFL last year. But the Pats went 14-2 because Brady played at an unholy level with essentially the same offensive personnel he's got now.

In other words, Expecting the Patriots to lose three-straight games -- they haven't since 2002! -- was about as smart as writing off Belichick and Brady after what went down last season.


6. Run This Man!

I planned on taking screenshots of all the commenters who ripped me for picking Seattle to upset Baltimore and posting them here. But there were too many of them. And they were all too vulgar.

Plus, I'm sure everyone who called me names will be back to apologize later anyway.

But really, should we be surprised at this point when the Ravens fail to win after refusing to utilize Ray Rice, clearly the best offensive weapon on their team?

No, no we should not.

Week - Opponent
Rice Carries
Rice Rushing Yards
Points Scored
Result
1 - Steelers
19 107 35 W
2 - Titans
13 43 13 L
3 - Rams
9 81 37 W
4 - Jets
25 66 34 W
6 - Texans
23 101 29 W
7 - Jaguars
8 28 7 L
8 - Cardinals
18 63 30 W
9 - Steelers
18 43 23 W
10 - Seahawks
5 27 17 L

Rice's usage and subsequent success (or lack thereof) isn't a direct correlation with the win-loss record of the Ravens. He's had nine carries in a game (against the Rams) where the Ravens absolutely rolled.

But two games above really stand out in terms of similarity -- the loss to the Seahawks and Jaguars. Both were on the road, both were against teams that aren't even remotely considered on the Ravens level and both featured Rice inexplicably getting less than 10 rushing attempts.

The Ravens were behind for much of each game, but never were they in full-on blowout territory, and the downside of running the ball is really only losing a couple of seconds of game time and actually getting the defense to respect the natural balance that the Ravens offense should feature.

It's doesn't seem that hard to figure out that the Ravens are 1-3 when their best player on offense rushes the ball less than 15 times in a game. And yet somehow Cam Cameron can't do it.

7. Red Rocket

Alright, I give up: Andy Dalton, despite losing to Pittsburgh 24-17 on Sunday, deserves to be the leader for Rookie of the Year right now.

This might sound weird considering he's coming of a loss, he threw a game-ending interception (his second in the fourth quarter Sunday) and my blatant homerism deep respect for Cam Newton.

But it was ridiculously impressive that Cincy took the Steelers best shot early in the game and then rallied back to get within a touchdown, despite losing their other studly rookie A.J. Green after he hyperextended his knee.

Oh, it also doesn't help that Newton absolutely laid an egg on Sunday, failing to score a touchdown in a football game for what he said might be the first time in his life. I haven't seen any confirmation of this, but I also have no trouble believing it.

Back to Dalton and the Bengals though: if Green's injury is substantial, I don't think the Bengals make the playoffs (they currently project as the sixth seed) because not only are the Ravens and the Steelers better, but the Ravens might actually try against Cincy.

And if Newton bounces back over the next few weeks, and the Bengals lose their last three games against the Steelers and Ravens, it's going to be tough for voters to hit Dalton up.

But if he improves from the growing pains he suffered against the Steelers, he might end up stealing the award after all. And, you know, a playoff berth.

8. Andy Reid's Hot Pants

Before the season, we penciled in the Week 10 Cardinals-Eagles matchup with the idea that Kevin Kolb would lead a revived Arizona squad into Philly with a chance for redemption against the team that cast him off for Michael Vick. Instead, Kolb couldn't play Sunday, so John Skelton started and ... the Eagles still lost, 21-17.

With that L, let's just go ahead and bury the Eagles 2011 season. Instead of debating whether 9-7 is possible, let's discuss whether or not Andy Reid should be fired if the Eagles miss the playoffs.

I, unequivocally, say he should not be fired. He's got issues with his roster construction, his clock management and his balance on offense, but there's a reason why he's the longest-tenured coach in the NFL.

Additionally, this is a lockout year, and teams were supposed to struggle to adapt under circumstances. "Bringing in a bunch of new faces" is one such circumstance where there's a built-in excuse.

And perhaps the best reason to hold onto Reid: he's Michael Vick's guy, and Michael Vick just got paid $100 million. That's not to say Vick couldn't play for another coach and succeed, but Reid's mentored him on and -- perhaps more importantly -- off the field. He's turned Vick from an ex-con into a franchise quarterback.

Vick's taken a step back this season, but if Philly can beef up its offensive line and address some of the defensive issues, there's no reason why Reid can't just can Juan Castillo in sacrificial lamb fashion and come back next year, regardless of how this season plays out.

9. What the Helu?

Would the Redskins beat the Colts if they played today? Wilson and I talked about that on the podcast (I assume you hit play above and are listening now but just haven't gotten that far yet), and, um, I'm not sure?

Indy's terrible, but Washington is just depressing -- the latest feather in Mike Shanahan's cap is a 20-9 loss to Miami that not only gave Shanny his first-ever five-game losing streak, but also handed the Dolphins their first win at Sun Life Stadium in 364 days.

The saddest part of the Redskins failure on Sunday isn't even that Rex Grossman gives them a better chance to win than John Beck. That's just the truth, even if it's cringe-worthy. Although apparently Shanahan doesn't know that? Or he does? Or ... you tell me:

"We’re going to make decisions that we think gives us the best chance to win," Shanahan said about the decision to go with Grossman. "Then before the game we decided to go in another direction."

I know what he's saying (I think), but it's kind of awesome that this quote, taken out of context, sounds like "Beck gives us the best chance to win, that's why we started him. But on Sunday we changed our minds."

Anyway, the saddest part is that Roy Helu broke Art Monk's single-game receptions record last week and he was inexplicably benched Sunday in favor of Ryan Torain.

"Well, I wanted to give Ryan a chance, see what he can do," Shanahan said of the decision. "[The Dolphins] are a very good defensive team."

Again, I don't know what that means or how it's sound logic for benching Helu.

Whatever, an obviously motivated Torain carried the ball 10 times for 20 yards. Helu still managed to end the day as Washington's leading rusher, though, as he carried the ball six times for 41 yards in the second half.

This logical result would have stemmed from an illogical decision, but there's nothing justifiably rational about the Redskins right now.

10. Bear With Me Here

First of all, allow me to congratulate my colleague Matt Norlander, who not only got engaged Sunday, but got a win for his precious Bears (an awkward 37-13 slaughtering of Detroit) and a Devin Hester touchdown return.

And second of all, allow me to say I'm sorry for thinking the Bears stink. Because they don't. I can't justify saying that if I'm going to tout the Texans as the top team in the AFC; after all, the Bears play a complete brand of football. They're great on defense, they generate turnovers, they can run the ball on offense and, needless to say, their special teams are pretty good.

Now there's still room for an implosion here. Lord knows they were 2-3, couldn't protect Jay Cutler and looked like a lost team only a few weeks ago. But just like 2010, Mike Martz realized just how true the old equation of "seven-step drops + passing every down = quarterback injuries" really is and Chicago currently projects as the final NFC wild card.

The Bears getting ready to run the not-so-scary AFC West gauntlet, playing San Diego, Oakland, Kansas City and Denver over their next four games. No, that portion of the schedule could not come at a better time, and if you think that running a cover-2 against a read-option offense and having Brian Urlacher shadow Tebow depending on what side of the line he runs off won't be fun, well, you clearly don't enjoy pain.

With Seattle and Minnesota also on the sked -- only Green Bay is really scary -- and Detroit having to play the Packers twice over the rest of the schedule, Chicago could somehow easily weasel their way to 11-5. Again.

Muffed Punts

Leftovers from Sunday's action...
... For the third time in his career, Reggie Bush scored multiple rushing touchdowns.
... The NFL West went undefeated on Sunday for the first time since division realignment. According to my buddy RJ Bell of PreGame.com, a $100 bet on that happening would've paid out $8,400. So, yeah, everyone saw it coming.
... Tebow's the only quarterback in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass and rush for 25 yards in each of his first seven starts.
... Drew Brees passed Brett Favre for the second-longest streak of consecutive games (37) with a touchdown pass.

Worth 1,000 Words


GIF O' THE WEEK

This is unfortunate for Ray Lewis:

Hot Seat Tracker

  • Todd Haley -- Welcome back, sir! We missed you. How can one manage to not prepare for the read-option after watching another division opponent look totally unprepared for it and lose?
  • Mike Shanahan -- He's the one who thought Grossman and Beck were a winning combination.
  • Juan Castillo -- It's either him or Andy Reid right?
  • Jim Caldwell -- If Caldwell doesn't get canned, I'm convinced no one does.

Chasing Andrew Luck

Colts (1/4): Everyone else in the NFL has two wins, and the only game Indy might even reasonably come close to winning is their Week 16 matchup against the Jaguars. We can almost call this off.
Redskins (3/1): My darkhorse! I think they'll lose out, but I just don't buy the idea of Indy winning one game, much less three.
Vikings (4/1): They play the Packers Monday and get the Lions and Bears again.
Dolphins (5/1): That whole Stephen Ross in a leopard-skin bikini thing is working out well.
Panthers (6/1): Tough schedule coming down the pipe ... and they play the Colts!
Rams (7/1): NFC West schedule and they're starting to fight a little.

MVP Watch

Aaron Rodgers will most likely extend his season-long virtuoso performance on Monday night and further give us reason to pick him as MVP. But just in case he falters, I've got my eye on a few guys who could get hot and supplant him in the second half, via what we talked about above: Brady, Foster and Romo. Brady, well, duh, he's good. And he sure wasn't a unanimous MVP winner after Week 9 (or Week 10) in 2010. So it could happen. Foster's playing as well as any running back in the NFL right now; if the Texans win out and clinch the top spot in the AFC, people will talk about it. And if Romo can blow up over the next two months and get the Cowboys a division title, well, weirder things have happened.
Posted on: November 8, 2011 1:37 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 8:59 pm
 

Redskins release Stallworth, sign Anderson

CB Rodgers-Cromartie arrived in Philly with a reputation for shying away from tackles. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Former Texans wide receiver David Anderson might be one of our favorite players and it has nothing to do with his ability to catch a football. His Conan O'Brien-inspired end zone celebration from the 2008 season (see below), as well as his Power Alleys movement in Houston (specifically: Episode No. 34) are two of the reasons we love him.

Now, after six years with the Texans, where he played under then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in 2008-09, Anderson has been signed by the Washington Redskins. To make room for him on the roster, the team released Donte' Stallworth.

With Santana Moss sidelined with a broken hand, Washington is in desperate need of playmakers. (Not having a legitimate starting quarterback hurts, too.) They were shutout by the Bills in Week 8, and against the 49ers Sunday managed just a 59-yard field goal before a late garbage touchdown.

Despite lack of depth at wide receiver, Stallworth, who is one of the fastest players in the league, struggled to get on the field. He played in just four games this season, registering five catches for 46 yards.

The Ravens signed Stallworth before the 2010 season in the hopes that he would give Joe Flacco a much-needed deep threat. But just like his tenure in Washington, he barely contributed, appearing in eight games and made two catches.

More evidence for how dire the Redskins' offensive situation is, via the Washington Post's Mike Jones: Tight end Fred Davis leads the team with 40 catches for 559 yards and two touchdowns and Jabar Gaffney is the most productive wide receiver with 31 catches for 441 yards and two touchdowns. Mike Shanahan on Sunday promoted rookie Leonard Hankerson to the starting lineup.

Anderson, whose Twitter bio describes him as "Getting paid to do what I did in (high school) and Im not talking about getting B's and losing my virginity," tweeted Tuesday that he was traded to the Skins "by the Manhattan Beach Soccer Moms."

Anderson arrives in DC with 82 career receptions, 895 receiving yards and three touchdowns.



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Posted on: November 4, 2011 6:49 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 8:06 pm
 

Andre Johnson won't play -- once again

JohnsonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

For the fifth straight week, Texans receiver Andre Johnson won’t play, but according to coach Gary Kubiak, he’s getting ever so much closer. Which is basically what we’ve been hearing the past couple weeks (about a month ago, Johnson said he wanted to return in two weeks).

“He’s very close,” Kubiak said in quotes released by the team. “I know ya’ll are tired of hearing that, but he is very close, but he will not go this week.”

Asked if Johnson had a setback this week with his hamstring, Kubiak said, “No, I wouldn’t say that at all. I just think that was as hard as we’ve pushed him and there’s obviously levels you have to reach to get back on the field and when he got pushed Monday, the response was, ‘No, not yet.’ So, we backed off him, but today he was excellent. The spirits are back up and he’s in a great mood, felt good about what happened today. We’ll get there.”

Kubiak wouldn’t say if Johnson would be ready for next week, but Johnson's reaction to Monday's workout wasn't very encouraging.

“We kind of had a little setback from our Monday workout,” Johnson said. “I have been sore for a couple days. I went out and ran today, so it felt pretty good.  … It was more of just soreness. It had got pretty sore, probably a little sorer than it’s ever been, so they gave me a couple days rest. Went back out there today, did some running, did some things on the bungee cord, felt pretty good, so we’re just going to keep working. Just like everybody else, I wish this process could be a lot faster than what it’s been, but like I said, I’m going to just keep working through it and just try and stay positive.”

In other news about injured standout offensive weapons for AFC teams who are west of the Mississippi, Raiders running back Darren McFadden will miss Oakland’s game Sunday, Hue Jackson said today. Michael Bush will start in his place.

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Posted on: November 1, 2011 7:49 pm
 

Knighton's opinon doesn't bother Kubiak

KnightonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

We’ve chronicled how much Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton absolutely HATES the Texans. He told us that in the lead-up to Houston’s win last Sunday, and he said it again after the Jaguars loss was complete. It’s because, he said, the Texans are dirty.

"It was just the dirty stuff they were doing,” Knighton said. “I don't want to get into specifics; I just don't like them. … I'm not going to get into names or anything like that, but we play them again.”

Jacksonville defensive end Jeremy Mincey also accused the Texans of stepping on his head when he lay on the ground.

All of which led Houston coach Gary Kubiak to say: Yeah? And so what?

“It doesn't bother me," Kubiak said Monday, via the Houston Chronicle. "We're going to put 46 guys out there and play as hard as we can play. Other than that, I've got no comment on it."

This is the second-straight week, a Texans opponent has accused them of dirty play, but when Tennessee defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks complained about Houston offensive linemen Eric Winston and Wade Smith, Marks also said their cut-blocks were legal.

PFT
has a good explanation of what constitutes a legal cut block from an illegal cut blog: “Cut blocks are legal. It’s even legal for an offensive lineman on a running play to engage a defensive lineman and then have a second offensive lineman come in and hit the defensive lineman low. It only becomes illegal if the two offensive players engaged in the high-low blocks weren’t lined up next to each other on the offensive line. So it’s legal with a center and a guard, but illegal with a center and a tackle.”

Future Texans opponents should expect the same kind of stunts from the Texans. Namely, plenty of (legal) cut blocking.

“It's just part of what we do," Kubiak said. "We think to be good at running the football, you've got to do the little things in the run game, especially on the back side that create space for your players.

"It's just something that we think is important to being successful.”

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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