Reading Between The Lines:  BigBlueShoe

On the morning of May 5th, I wrote a post concerning the popular notion that Texans head coach Gary Kubiak should be fired if the team doesn’t make the playoffs this coming season.  BigBlueShoe, who writes for the Colts Blog Stampede Blue, posted a long comment in response to my argument.

BigBlueShoe didn’t say anything offending or rude; he merely stated what many people outside of our fan base think.  I really like when fans with differing opinions state those views on BRB because it keeps the conversation from getting stagnant and one-dimensional.  It just so happens that I disagree with some of the things that BBS stated, so I decided to continue the debate that he started.

(Authors Note:  I think that BigBlueShoe is a great writer who commonly produces great work at Stampede Blue.  If some of my responses seem caddy or confrontational, it’s not intentional.  I was just trying to keep the debate going, and we welcome BBS back here any time he feels like it.)

 

Gary Kubiak did not draft Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, or Owen Daniels in 2006.  That was the work of Charlie Casserly. Casserly’s last draft before leaving the Texans was the 2006 one, and he took a ton of heat for it. The NFL exposing the frauds that are Vince Young and Reggie Bush has vindicated Casserly some.

Ok, I’m, officially sick of this debate.  In their first four years of existence, which happened to be Casserly’s four years as general manager, the Texans were atrocious in the draft.  Let me extrapolate--what do David Carr, Jabar Gaffney, Chester Pitts, Andre Johnson, Bennie Joppru, Dunta Robinson, Jasin Babin and Travis Johnson all have in common?  They were first or second round picks in 2002 through 2005.  I only included those two rounds because they are considered the easiest to produce quality starters in the NFL.  I count three quality picks--Pitts, Robinson and Johnson.  Robinson and Pitts have had better than average careers to this point, and I’ll get to Johnson in a second.

Granted, we’ll probably never know for sure how much of the 2006 draft decisions can be attributed to either Kubiak or Casserly.  Having said that though, you really believe that the same man that set the aforementioned precedent of awfulness suddenly produced one of the best draft classes in the last ten years without any influence from the new head coach who probably knew that Casserly was heading out the door?

Casserly also drafted Andre Johnson.

This is true, but how much of a genius do you have to be to pull the trigger on a 230 pound wide receiver that runs a 4.32 40 yard dash and has a vertical of 41 inches?  This is not vindication of Casserly’s draft savvy, it’s just proof that he’s one step above Detroit, who selected Charles Rogers instead. 

The one big deal Kubiak has had a hand in is thechucking of David Carr and th trade for Matt Schaub.  However, those moves have done little to help Houston to get into the playoffs

Ok.  Schaub has had two years as a starter.  He’s had problems with turnovers and staying healthy, but the Texans have had much better problems than the third best yardage offense in the NFL last year.  Let’s calm down with saying that because Schaub hasn’t taken an expansion team to the playoffs in two years that he wasn’t worth it.  

Also, the 2007 and 2008 drafts (run by Rick Smith and Kubiak) have done little to help Houston. Amobi Okoye needs to have a breakout year in 2009, or he will be labled a bust. First round selected DTs need to start producng by years 3. Otherwise, they're garbage.

Whoa.  First of all, Fred Bennett was amazing his rookie year, Zach Diles and Xavier Adibi both played extremely well in the LB corps, Slaton was a steal in the third as shown by his play, and Dominique Barber was a rare starter found in the fifth.

Secondly, I’ll be the first to admit that Amobi regressed last year, and he does need to have a good year in order for the Texans’ defense to progress.  Here’s the problem with the "bust" label; Amobi had 5.5 sacks in 2007, which was more than all other DTs in the league besides six.  2007 was his rookie year by the way, and he was 20 years old.  Yes, he regressed in 2008, but after the potential he showed his rookie year, the bust label is a little harsh for a player who will be 22 years old in the beginning of the 2009 season.

Duane Brown was a reach last year, and this year the Texans continue to NOT ADDRESS THEIR CRAPPY O-LINE in the first two rounds of the draft. In fact, in the entire draft, they only took one offesive lineman (a guard).

Ok, it depends on how you judge a line.  If you’re assessing a line’s performance by sacks allowed, you got me.  The Texans gave up 32 sacks, which was 14th among teams in the league.  Indianapolis was much better with 14 sacks.  If you’re talking about rushing yards though, that’s a different story.  The Texans were 13th in the league running the ball with 115.4 yards rushing per game, as opposed to the Colts’ 79.6, which was worse than every other team in the league besides one.  That probably accounted for the Colts’ 3.4 yards per rush, as opposed to the Texans’ 4.3.

 

While guys like Steve Slaton were good next day picks, the fact the Houston still has not addressed their o-line is a major reason why this team continues to hover at or below .500. They play in a division with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis for God’s sake. How can they not find guys to protect their QBs?

Kubiak and Smith have shown an amazing ability to pick up quality players on day two of the draft, and this year is no different.  The Texans drafted TE Anthony Hill, who is considered the best blocking TE in the draft, and Antoine Caldwell, who can play both Guard and Center.  Coincidentally, Freeney and Mathis are great DEs, but they aren’t the best in the division.  That guy plays in a Steel Blue jersey with the name Williams on the back.

I agree with the sentiment that this is a make or break year for Kubiak. It’s playoffs or he’s fired. The same for Rick Smith. The Texans have a lot of talent at several skill positions, but most of that talent was drafted and brought in by Charlie Casserly, not Kubiak.

I was actually trying to say that Kubiak shouldn’t be fired unless the team implodes.  As for the notion that Casserly brought in all of our talent, the only current starters that he drafted or signed without the input of Kubiak (which was the original point of the post) are Andre Johnson, Chester Pitts, Travis Johnson and Dunta Robinson. 

In another comment responding to the original post, BBS stated the following:

32 sacks allowed is terrible, new system or not. For comparison, Tennessee surrendered only 12 sacks last year and Indy only 14. Their combined records were 25-7.

I covered this partially above, but I thought I would add something.  Among the 18 teams that gave up more sacks than us were Baltimore (33), Pittsburgh (49), New England (48) and Minnesota (43).  Their combined record was 46-18. 

 

 

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