We're just about at the halfway point of the season, and there are plenty of reasons why the Houston Texans are sitting at 2-5 after the bye. Turnovers, lack of turnovers, lack of consistent pass rushing pressure, red zone inefficiencies... the list goes on. Today, I want to focus on special teams and the Perennial Pariah himself: Joe Marciano.
Back in February, I discussed Houston's field position ranking over the years using Football Outsiders' handy DVOA and LOS/DR metrics. The numbers confirmed what we've known all along. So far this year, it's been more of the same. Check it out:
Houston Texans NFL and DVOA Rankings: Weeks 1-7
|Performance||NFL Rank||DVOA%||DVOA Rank|
|Punt Returns||4.8 avg||29||-4.4||27|
|Kick Coverage||26.1 avg||26||0.3||16|
|Kick Returns||25.5 avg||10||-2.4||27|
Abysmal. No matter what kind of ranking system you use, the Houston Texans are fielding as bad a special teams unit as ever. Even Shane Lechler's iron leg isn't enough to help their net punting average, despite Lechler being stellar on just about every kick. Randy Bullock is dropping kickoffs deep into the end zone, but returners are fearlessly taking them out with positive results.
|2013 - Shane Lechler||7||32||1520||47.5 (5th)||61||17 (T-3rd)||3|
Overall, Football Outsiders has the Texans' special teams unit with a -9.7% DVOA, which is 30th overall. Sounds about right, huh?
What's it gonna take, Kubiak? Mr. McNair? How about this Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts? Thankfully, the team thought ahead and signed Deji Karim so they could decipher Indy's complex return schemes. Karim took a return to the house against the Texans last year by zigging, zagging and befuddling all of his would-be tacklers. Check it out:
Check out Football Outsiders' full rankings here. Also, I ran into our old pal Rivers McCown while browsing through the site; he scowled at me and uttered, "The dead do not suffer the living to pass" and then unsheathed his sword.
I backed away slowly.