Found November 28, 2012 on State of the Texans:
The Houston Texans are dealing with an interesting two game stretch where the defense has been mortal against the pass and given up 983 total yards to the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars. This is quite the wake up call to a defense that has been solid since the start of the 2011 season and spoiling the fan base with something they had not seen in Houston. Despite a struggling defense, the offense has been putting together enough plays to put points up on the board and have actually carried the team the past two weeks. The Texans are showing they can win different ways and that could pay off huge in the long run. The team is developing their identity and having 10 wins at this point in the season proves they are a team on a mission for bigger things. With all of the positives coming in the Texans’ direction, the team still needs to look deep into their roster and figure out how they can put together the best roster for this stretch run.   What to Evaluate Outside Linebackers Bryan Braman, Outside Linebacker #50, 2012 Training Camp - The Texans should give the outside linebacker situation a close look. With the recent struggles of the pass rush, look no further than the lack of production from this position group. Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus have combined for 7.5 sacks, 17 quarterback hits and 22 hurries in 685 defensive snaps (both run and pass). With Reed on the shelf with a groin issue, the Texans will call upon special teams standout Bryan Braman to help Barwin and Mercilus on the outside. It is a serious question on what Braman brings to the defense, but be certain that Mercilus and Braman will be a liability in run support. Both youngsters have shown issues of losing contain on defense when they do get on the field, and that is what Barwin and Reed excel in is setting the edge. The team better keep an eye on this position because opposing offenses will be trying to put Mercilus and Braman in positions to over think on the field. If Reed’s recovery is slower than expected, the Texans will have to look for help soon to help this deep but not much production position.   Kicking Situation - We heard it in Kubiak’s voice at this Monday’s press conference, the kicking range and power of Shayne Graham is becoming an issue. We all know the organization is loyal to their players, but Graham’s short range consistency (39 yards or closer 13/13) doesn’t make up for his lack of long range accuracy (40+ yards 7/12). Throw in having only 17 touch backs in 67 kickoff attempts, teams are having a field day on returning kicks. Graham could help the special teams if he could get consistent touchbacks, but he just hasn’t. There are plenty of kickers on the free market and there is going to be a game where the Texans are going to need a field goal of 50 plus yards to win. Right now with Graham, the confidence for that to happen is not there.   Defensive Line Help - The Texans will get a much needed boost with nose tackle Shaun Cody returning from a rib and leg injury. Cody will come back and help at the nose tackle position, but more importantly it will allow Earl Mitchell help at defensive end too. J.J. Watt has been racking up defensive snaps the past four weeks missing only one snap out of 256, and for a 3-4 defensive end that is a high total. If Cody can prove to stay healthy, it will help take pressure off the entire defensive line. With recently signed Terrell McClain on the roster, he has only seen two defensive snaps since Cody was out. McClain’s roster spot could be valuable for more movement to make this roster better in the long run. The defensive front needs to find some pass rush besides J.J. Watt, and with Tim Jamison out for the season, it has been a sad season on the interior. Let’s hope Antonio Smith turns it up late in the season on passing downs.   Dead Roster Spots - It might be a non issue, but the Texans have two offensive lineman on the active roster who have not seen any time the entire season in Andrew Gardner (Tackle) and Cody White (Guard).  Gardner is 4th on the depth chart at tackle while White is the 5th guard in the pecking order. The Texans are stashing these two just in case, but in White’s case the rumor was he was promoted from the practice squad after the Carolina Panthers were trying to claim him off the practice squad after losing their center Ryan Kalil for the season. The Texans like playing it safe but it would seem if the Texans need to make a move, one of these players would be the one that would be waived for a roster spot. Depth is great but with no playing time for either Gardner or White, a spot for an extra kicker or pass rusher could be at a premium for making a push to the promise land.   You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans.    
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Schaub Has Jersey and Shoes Sent to Hall of Fame

Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub was honored when his jersey and cleats were flown to Canton, Ohio to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Schaub was being honored for his 527 yard passing day (43 completions on 55 attempts) with 5 touchdowns against the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 18th. The monumental day landed Schaub with the second best passing day in NFL history tying...

Houston Texans on the road to face the Tennessee Titans

Coming off 2 straight overtime games and fighting some injuries the Houston Texans now head to Tennessee to face off against a division rival in the Titans on Sunday at 1:00 ET on CBS. When these 2 teams matched up earlier in the season the Texans were able to leave out of that game with the win. Even with the offense struggling to get it going and the defense giving up it’s season...

Goodell: difficult to say if Suh groin kick was intentional

Either Ndamukong Suh just got away with murder (ok, just a little kick), or his leg went mysteriously up in the air in an akward manner as Matt Schaub's acorn sack collided with his foot; just a simple misunderstanding. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at a Lions charity event Tuesday night that it's very difficult for the league to know exactly if DT Suh's intent...

Texans look to young LBs as injuries mount

Injuries have left the Houston Texans linebacking corps very thin. With star Brian Cushing (knee) out for the season and starter Brooks Reed out indefinitely with a groin injury, young players Whitney Mercilus and Darryl Sharpton will have to step up to keep the defense rolling as the Texans (10-1) play for postseason positioning. Coach Gary Kubiak says of the group: ''...

Would Rolando Be Welcomed to Houston?

It’s not often we talk about other players not associated with the Houston Texans, but the name of Oakland Raiders inside linebacker Rolando McClain has come up. According to multiple sources, the former 8th overall pick (2010 NFL Draft) is set to “no longer” be a Raider.   These tweets came out about McClain and his recent comments.   Former Bama LB Rolando McClain no...

Johnathan Joseph To Be Game-Time Decision

Houston cornerback Johnathan Joseph (hamstring) will be a game-time decision in Week 13.Fantasy Spin:Joseph makes the entire Houston defense stronger when he's covering the opponent's top receiver. Joseph missed last week and Matthews Stafford put up 441 yards.

VIDEO: Unlike Matt Schaub, Arian Foster can’t say that Ndamukong Suh isn’t “Houston Texan worthy”

Earlier in the week, Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub told Houston radio station SportsRadio 610 that he wouldn’t want Ndamukong Suh as a teammate and that Suh wasn’t “Houston Texan” worthy… whatever that means. Of course the question came after the now much publicized Thanksgiving Game between the Lions and Texans where not only one of the most egregious NFL rules was unearthed...

Titans fans, what are your questions about the Texans?

With the Titans facing off against the Houston Texans once again this week, this time in the hopefully friendlier confines of LP Field, I'll once again be doing a Q&A with Texans blogger Steph Stradley. If you have any questions for Steph about how the Texans have changed since late September or what the rest of the year looks like for them, post them in the comments section.

Texans-Titans Preview

The Houston Texans are trying to overcome mounting absences as they near another playoff appearance and a franchise milestone, while the Tennessee Titans have made a coordinator change while attempting to keep their slim postseason hopes alive. The Texans can clinch their second straight playoff berth with a win or tie Sunday when they visit Tennessee, where they've won two...

Matt Schaub understandably says the dirty Ndamukong Suh is not ‘Houston Texan-worthy’

The NFL announced earlier today that Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will not be suspended for booting Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the ballsack during the first quarter of Houston’s 34-31 overtime victory on Thanksgiving at Ford Field in Detroit. … Continue reading →

NFL Power Rankings Going Into Week 13

Athlon Sports' weekly rankings of NFL teams — from the best, one-loss Houston Texans, to the worst, the autograph-seeking one-win Kansas City...

Second-ranked Niners now five votes from top

The Texans and Falcons keep winning, but the 49ers keep moving closer to the top of the AP Pro32 power rankings after another impressive performance. The Niners remain second in this week’s poll, but picked up three first-place votes as their performance as an elite team becomes just too difficult for voters to ignore.
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.