April 29, 2011
Oh How the 3-4 is Shaping Up...
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This time yesterday had me miffed to put it lightly. Rick Smith had been scooped on the player he wanted by the 49ers, and he had no solid backup plan. He picked the safest guy available on his board. JJ Watts.
Now I have watched Watts play at least 6 games last season. I wanted to watch the RB who I had thought was a good fit for what I thought was a big need on the Texans (he wasn't). I kept watching this DE that just was a beast, who keep making plays all over the field. A stud. JJ Watt.
Flash forward to January. In one of my mocks, I took Watt with my 1st round pick. But after really looking hard at this, I concluded DE was not our biggest need - A need - but not a starting player need, so a luxury when we needed OLBs and DBs that could start. So Watt kinda fell off my radar. I always figured he was a solid player, the best true 5 tech in the draft, but not the Texans 1st choice for round 1.
Well they took him. And after spending a night thinking about it, I have really come to a happy place.
Think of the options that Watt gives the Texans. Not only does he give them depth so Mario and Antonio can stay fresh, but think of the possibilities he allows a creative Wade to implement. I can see the Texans copying the Steelers defense, having Watt, Mario, Antonio in the game together. Watt has the ability to drop, Mario has the ability to drop, Antonio well not so much.
Third down we can have a 4-man front of Mario, JJ, Antonio, and Connor, with Reed and Cushing at LBs with some nickle package. Who is rushing and who is covering? Barwin could drop, and Reed come in with an overload on the strong side. Or the opposite side can do something. Or the middle guys. That would start to confuse the opposing OL and the QB. The mismatches that can be created are huge.
The 3 guys added so far in the draft all have high motors, they all work super hard, all have high football IQ. Things that have not been a driving factor in the past.
We now have high motor guys to add to the likes of Ryans, Cushing, and Smith.
With the 3 new guys drafted, we are going to be adding back a healthy Barwin and Ryans back to the mix. That is five guys should be getting a lot of the reps that are new or added back to the mix.
And we still have four more picks and free agency. As long as the lock out is over next week, this team really does have a chance to be a play off team.
Our early schedule is brutal, but our last half is kinda cream puff. Add in the fact that two teams in our division now could be starting rookies QBs....
How much will it take to make this defense presentable? A solid run defense to start, we now have better tools in place for that. A more consistent pressure and varied pass rush plan, I see the making of that now. A real NFL quality pass defensive scheme, time will tell us if that is now here.
But look at the secondary. I like Brandon Harris, had him as the 4th best CB in this draft. He has upside on paper. And I believe we still look for a free agent CB. Say we sign a veteran FA like Ike Taylor, and re-sign Jason Allen. Then our backfield could look like this: Jackson, Taylor as starting CBs, Harris as the nickle, McCain as the dime. Quin at one safety and Nolan or how about Jason Allen at the other safety.
Isn't that a better backfield than we had last season? At least in the pass coverage department? Last year our SS led our team in tackles. This season by design if the safeties are making plays in the run game, something is very wrong (not that they will not make any plays but they should not be the primary run stoppers).
I can really see Mario having a big year, Barwin having a solid year (if healthy), Cushing rebounding, Reed making an impact. Wow!!!
OK, so I have again sipped the tea.
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