Expect to see more of this in 2012. .. Arian Foster is a beast.
Today in our continuing two-a-days coverage we focus our attention on the AFC South. For many years Peyton and the Colts had a strong hold on this division but #18 is now in the mile high city and it’s time for another team to stand up. The odds on favorite to win the division is the boys down in Houston but in football there are no guarantees. What’s going down in Jacksonville do their fans have any reason to smile this season?
Lets take a look. Up next, the Texans and the Jags. Let’s Go!!!!1
2011 – 10-6
Additions - QB John Beck, RB Justin Forsett, ILB Bradie James, CB Alan Ball, P Donnie Jones.
Subtractions - QB Matt Leinart, FB Lawrence Vickers, WR/KR Jacoby Jones, TE Joel Dreessen, OT Eric Winston, G Mike Brisiel, G Kasey Studdard, DE Mario Williams, ILB DeMeco Ryans, CB Jason Allen, K Neil Rackers.
Prospective – This Texans team will have a new look next year especially on defense without the services of Mario Williams. To their credit, Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips had this unit firing on all cylinders. I’d hardly say a guy like him was expendable but they seemed to manage to sneak into the playoffs without him. Last year the Texans had the #2 defense overall but the question is can the duplicate last years success?
Linebacker DeMeco Ryans is gone and he started all 16 games for them last year. Bradie James comes over from Dallas where he played under Phillips so that may actually be a upgrade. The Texans went defense in the draft as well drafting DE/LB Whitney Mercilus (Illinois) who is raw but has a tremendous upside. Jonathan Joseph has shut down ability in the secondary but after him there isn’t much to brag about. Overall this defense will be good again simply because Wade Phillips knows defense.
Offensively the Texans have the best 2 back system in the NFL. Last year it was pick was your poison as Arian Foster and Ben Tate ran for over 2,000 yards. The offensive line is good but Kubak is no dummy and knows that the more Foster and Tate touch the ball the better their chances are for winning. Andre Johnson is still a stud, just ask Courtland Finnegan. Johnson is coming off an injury but he should bounce back for another solid year.
Very rarely do we wait this long to talk about the QB, especially one as good as Matt Schaub. He is one of the better QB’s in the league and he had a QB rating of 96 last year.
The problem was that he only played 10 games. T.J Yates did good in his place but Schaub is the leader of this squad and he needs to stay healthy for them take this division again.
Projection: I really like this Texans team to do well again baring injuries and I think the division is their’s for the taking. This year they will be the hunted instead of the huntee and it will be interesting to see how they handle that. I looked at the schedule and I see 10-6 as very realistic.
“Show me the money”
Additions - QB Chad Henne, WR Laurent Robinson, WR Lee Evans, CB Aaron Ross.
Subtractions - DE Matt Roth, DE Aaron Kampman, DT Leger Douzable, CB Drew Coleman.
Prospective – When doing research for this team I saw that the Jags went 5-11 last year and I was relatively surprised. I was like ” oh, they won 5 games?” Secondly I scowered the web to see if Maurice Jones-Drew got his new contract yet.
If the Jags have to start this season without MJD they might have to pay their fans to come see this team play. Ok, maybe I’m over exaggerating just a little bit. Offensively this team is MJD so lets make that clear. Blaine Gabbert will most likely be the starter but outside of Jon Gruden there aren’t many who believe in his greatness. Hell, I think the Jags would settle for average from him. The facts are this is probably one of their worst offenses in the league and their best offensive player is not in camp. Last year they ranked dead last and even if MJD comes in expect some rust.
Their 1st round pick, Justin Blackmon made plenty of plays of college but we have all been there and done that with rookie wide receivers. Blackmon is more like a Anquan Boldin type who isn’t break away fast but is very physical and knows how to use his body. This kid has plenty of talent and hopefully he will help Gabbert because the rest of the receivers look like a XFL roster.
Bottom line … This offense will struggle.
Defensively the Jags weren’t that bad. Statisically they ranked 6th overall and you can expect Del Rio has his hands all in their defensive scheme. The Jags strength is their back seven and they are pretty weak up front. Last year they only had 31 sacks as a team and their inablity to get to the QB isn’t a good thing when you have to face guys like Luck and Schaub twice a year.
Rookie Andre Branch (Clemson) is a guy they are counting on to help their pass rush. Branch is a versatile speed rusher who could play end or linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He’s a big guy and should get plenty of chances to make plays.
Projection: This team will struggle again. Jones-Drew is missing camp and they still have to deal with a QB going through growing pains. Blackmon could be a bright a spot and the defense will be respectable but I have this team going 4-12
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