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Tape Study: Buccaneers 24, Texans 17 -- Litmus Test For Backups, My Patience With Organized Football

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Once again, like with the Cardinals game, not much of a point to creating a game flow here. Too many sloppy plays, too many bad players, too few conclusions to draw from. So there wasn't much of a point of picking out players for good work. Take for instance, the case of James Casey. He caught 8 balls for 81 yards. Great performance, right? 

Well, not really, no. For one thing, he was the slot wide receiver for quite a few snaps, meaning he got clean breaks against a very (TexansDC's favorite word) vanilla Buccaneers defense. For another, catching eight balls is great, but getting eight balls out of eleven really isn't. Especially when you're not really piling up the yards after catch. Was it nice to see him break some tackles and make the slowest spin move in the history of the NFL? Yeah. Did it mean anything? Not really.

Like I said after I talked about the Cardinals game, I believe the best you can glean out of these backup v. backup matchups is whether someone deserves a chance against the ones (or twos, if they're really deep) or if someone looks ugly. Due to the nature of this game (cuts and keeps), I'll separate our individual kudos and thumbs downs into the players we kept and the players we let go. You might be surprised by who gets good reviews and who doesn't.

Don't look for anything about Mike Brisiel or Antoine Caldwell; they both played well (as they should have) against the backups. This is a post purely dedicated to our end of the roster guys that stood out to me. Which is exactly why it's going up at 3:30 PM on a Friday. And why there are no .gifs. Okay, no, that's just because I'm lazy.


QB Dan Orlovsky - There's no need to convince the eight of you who thought he was good coming into this game that he's really not, right? Good. Because I don't like wasting my time. Orlovsky makes some terrible decisions and only really has success in the passing game when crossing routes or wide open receivers are involved. Great physical specimen for the bootleg, but not a guy you can run even half of the playbook with. Good gamble by Rick Smith, but it's clear that this ship has sunk.

WR Dorin Dickerson - Dorin Dickerson, despite his stat line, played a very poor game and showed himself as quite raw. Yes, he can do absolutely anything on the field, and yes, he has the raw talent to play in the league. On a play-by-play basis, he's just not there yet. Five catches for 45 yards sounds good, yeah? Try five catches out of sixteen targets. This one reminds me a lot more of early Jacoby Jones then he does early Andre Johnson. We can only hope he starts tweeting just as well. 

WR Bobby Williams - Not a bad showing, and certainly one that proved he was worthy of the practice squad, but he seems to have problems getting open. Or at least that's my indication when someone has five targets compared to sixteen to his wide receiver partner in crime.

TE James Casey - Already addressed his work in the passing game. He's really worked hard on his cut blocks, and it shows. He can still get pushed around a bit by the beefier linebackers, but he shouldn't be playing in the fourth preseason game next year. 

TE Garrett Graham - I'd say he's coming along nicely. The Texans ran him in a lot of two tight-end sets, and he managed to create a lot of separation and get some good yards after the catch. I dunno if I'd want him on the field on an every-play basis yet, but he's certainly ready for goal-line work already. 

DEs Jesse Nading and Tim Jamison - Despite how much Nading has played in comparison to Jamison in the preseason, I thought Tim looked like the better player last Thursday.  Nading had a few egregious missed tackles, notably the one on a zone blitz when he whiffed on a dumpoff pass to the running back. 

DT Earl Mitchell - I still don't think the production has caught up to the hype, but he did make a nice comeback tackle on an RB screen, so the coaches aren't lying when they tell you he never quits on a play. The question with him is going to be if his moves are enough to get constant penetration. So far, that's a no, but defenders can sometimes take awhile to develop.

LB Xavier Adibi - Had a run-in with overpursuit, so he'll fit right in with the starting defense. Seriously though, delivered some big hits when he was out there. I thought he looked better run stopping then he did in coverage. Had a great stop on an RB Screen, but had a wide open lane to make the tackle because Tampa's offensive line was slow to get there.

LB Darryl Sharpton - Finally was making some plays up at the line of scrimmage. Defended just one pass, an incomplete one. Thought he generally had his best game of the preseason.

DB Sherrick McManis - Terribly inconsistent. He again looks much better in run pursuit then he does in coverage, which means he will be the 800th* Texans defensive back that I think would look better at safety than at corner. If he starts a game, we're in trouble.

*-rough estimate

S Troy Nolan - Showed terrific coverage skills on an end zone slant pattern breakup; otherwise was quiet, but that was nice to see because I have had my doubts about him being more than just an instincts guy back there.

S Dominique Barber - Missed three tackles in the first ten minutes of game action. That's all I really need to say about that.


QB John David Booty - Clearly can deliver better throws over the top than Orlovsky can. He was short-handed a bit being stuck with the third string offensive line, but I don't think he necessarily played well. He had the amazing touchdown pass to Bobby Williams where he was hit IN MOTION (which usually means that ball is more likely to be picked off) and still got it there.

However, when you go 17 for 37 on throws, there are problems that go beyond whether you can throw a good deep ball. Booty was hurt by four dropped passes, but the majority of his throws were off because he simply put them in the wrong spot. The accuracy was not there for an NFL quarterback. That's a more important attribute than the poor decision making, so I think the Texans made the right move cutting him. 

RB Chris Henry - Indecisive on several cuts, and despite great speed, very poor agility. Henry is the textbook case of why running a great time in a straight line at the combine isn't indicative of your actual playing speed. This is a guy who cannot go outside to save his life. They sent him to the left end on three separate runs, one of them a pitch, and he came out of that with -14 yards. That's, uh...good luck with that, Seattle. 

OL Adam Stenavich - He went out with a bang. By that, I mean, he allowed a bang, blowing two separate blocks in the fourth quarter. 

OL Steve Maneri - I can see why the Texans were high on him as an athletic developmental tackle. He barely looks like a tackle yet (I thought he was a tight end for quite a few plays), but he gets great push holding someone away from the line of scrimmage and opening up holes. He could use some work getting to the second level, and he did allow a sack, but you can see the talent here. Savvy snatch up by the Pats, but I think the Texans were right to try to sign him to the practice squad.

NT DelJuan Robinson - Dominated the line of scrimmage when he was in the game, and hasn't looked half-bad any time the Texans have brought him into the game in the last couple of years. However, he weighs over 300 pounds, and he knows Bill Kollar's rules. So long sucker! 

DB Jacques Reeves - A terrible cut. 

I'm not arguing that he looked good in this game. I did think he got a bit unlucky in that two of his big gains were allowed when Rudy Carpenter pump-faked the entire Texans team out of position, and then when Arrelious Benn basically took the ball off of his person despite being blanketed. That said, you can only be unlucky so many times before skill (and an inability to turn your damn head around) is an issue. 

But the real problem here is that this left McManis and newly claimed Jamar Wall, who probably won't have the system down yet, as our #4 and #5 corners on game day, because Antwaun Molden made the team and Antwaun Molden is healthy about as often as MDC runs into a male he can say he is taller than. Who exactly was going to claim Antwaun Molden on waivers? Good looking player, never healthy. Not somebody worth cutting a steadily mediocre corner over.

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