As I mentioned earlier I've traded five questions with the Houston Texans blogger for SB Nation over at Battle Red Blog. The following are my questions and his answers. He should have the answers to the questions he asked me posted over on his site later tonight. Let me know what you think.
Question 1: Matt Schaub lead the Texans to victory over the Chiefs in his debut last week. Beyond the score and the statistics what did you like and/or dislike about Schaub's performance?
BRB: These are the kind of things that don't show up on the stat sheet, but what stood out to me the most was Schaub's poise in the pocket and nearly flawless decision-making (with the exception of the one INT in the endzone, which was not the prettiest thing in the world). Really, the interception was the one glaring negative, and that was probably more a product of trying to force something in his first foray into the red zone. In other words, I doubt he makes that throw again. But back to the positives--far more often than not, The Schaub stands upright in the pocket, gets rid of the ball quickly, and gets it to the right man. He doesn't dance around and hold on to the ball. Nor does he take off for the sideline at the first sign of trouble, unlike a certain recently deposed QB. Hey, speaking of...
We'll keep an eye on this during the game.
Question 2: With David Carr coming over to Carolina as a free agent much has been made of the number of sacks he endured in his five years in Houston. Have the Texans improved their O-line and how will they try to counter the Panthers pass-rush?
BRB:I think that's the biggest misconception about the Texans--the offensive line is not nearly the disaster everyone makes it out to be. Is it a top-five line? No, not yet. But it doesn't deserve the laughingstock reputation it currently enjoys. Houston fans realize that Carr was responsible for many, if not most, of his own sacks (particularly the last couple of years). I mean, if you're still getting sacked on three-step drops (which the Texans actually incorporated last year to help Carr have more time to make decisions)...that's not on the OL. That said, the line currently features Ephraim Salaam at LT, Chester Pitts at LG, Steve McKinney at C, Fred Weary at RG, and Eric Winston at RT. Against the Chiefs, the right side of the line played pretty well; the interior and left side left a bit to be desired. I'd bet that Houston chips the TE and RB at a fairly regular clip to keep Peppers & Co. as occupied as possible.
I don't know about that, I think the OL had a lot to do with it. But I know how the QB gets the blame for everything. Just ask Jake.
Question 3:Andre Johnson had a big day against the Chiefs (7 rec, 142 yds) including a 77-yd TD pass. What must the Panther defense do to keep Johnson under control and limit the big plays?
BRB: You can't cover 'Dre with one DB. He pretty much demands double coverage, and even then it's not easy, given his size, strength, and overall skills. If I was trying to stop him, I'd have my safety cheating as much as possible. Make the other Texan wideouts beat you. A word of warning, though--Jacoby Jones could hurt you. Badly. He's only a rookie, but he looks to be the first legitimate second option in the passing game in franchise history. The kid is scary fast.
We know about fast, but can Jones get open and catch the ball? aka...Drew Carter. Let's hope Jones takes more time to develop. Johnson does worry me though.
Question 4:With your last two #1 picks bolstering the defensive line the Texans held LJ to 48 yds last week. What do you think will be the primary objective of the Texans defense against the Panthers, stopping the run or stopping the pass? (On a side note, are you happy with the Mario over Bush pick now?)
BRB: Second part first--I am definitely happy with the selection of Mario over Eric Metcalf, Jr (Reggie Bush). It was a shocker at the time, but Super Mario should be more of a difference-maker over the course of his career than Bush. The jury is, admittedly, still out though, notwithstanding Mario's promising start last week.
While I'm sure Kubes is intent on neutralizing all facets of the Carolina offense, I feel confident saying that the Texans are going to make Jake Delhomme beat them. As you noted, the run defense last week was awfully stout, and as the old adage goes...you win in the NFL by running the football and stopping the run. While I feel good about how the Texans will fare against Foster and Williams, the injuries and overall coverage skills of the secondary worry me, particulary with Steve Smith out there. If there's a glaring Achilles' Heel on the Texans, it's the secondary for sure.
I'm not sure about the Melcalf comparison. I think Bush will do much better than Metcalf.
Question 5: Purely hypothetical, but if this game was being played in Houston and David Carr got in the game, how do you think the Houston fans would greet him?
BRB: Hmmmm...we'd buy him flowers, take him out for a nice seafood dinner, and then never call him again. Seriously? We'd boo him. Lustily. Truth is, though, that most Texans don't really HATE Zoolander; during his time in Houston, he was a stand-up, family man who never embarrassed the franchise off the field. On the field, however...well, let's just say it was time for both parties to go their separate ways. It didn't work out, but I wish him luck. Except on Sunday.
That's what I thought. I must admit the "Zoolander" nickname is pretty funny.
Thanks to Tim over at Battle Red Blog for his answers and giving us a heads up on what to expect from the Houston Texans as they play our Panthers this Sunday at 1:00pm.