BOY-O. We are getting closer. We’re a week away from crawling out of a Fourth of July hangover, alone, tired, so alone, thinking about growing up, adopting a dog and getting married. We are also a week away from being able to pre-order the 2018 Football Outsiders’ Almanac. During the drag of the offseason, Football Outsiders will publish statistic sets as they write the book. Recently they came out with some personnel analysis.
On offense, they discussed how 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end, three wide receiver) dropped in DVOA and usage for the first time since 2010 and then published team specific numbers. Houston used 11 personnel 52% of the time, which ranked 24th, averaged 6.1 yards a play, and had a DVOA of 2.4%, which ranked 19th. In every other personnel grouping, the Texans had a DVOA of -13.7%, which ranked 26th. The difference between 11 personnel and non 11 personnel of 16.2% for the Texans was the 11th highest difference in the league. I guess this is what happens when Tom Savage becomes the quarterback again and you try to hide him by running the ball but can’t really run the ball at all. Houston didn’t use 22 personnel (two running backs, two tight ends, one wide receiver) at all last year. They used 13 personnel (one running back, three tight ends, one wide receiver) on less than five plays last year.
Defensively, I never knew that the nickel formation was the predominant defense in the NFL. I guess watching Houston every week for so long warped my brain and turned me off from certain things. The Texans were one of the few teams to play their base defense more often than their nickel or dime defenses last year. Houston played their base defense 38% of the time (7th), nickel defense 34% of the time (28th), and their dime defense 24% of the time (8th). This allotment was similar to how the Texans played under Romeo Crennel in 2016; that season, Houston played base 37% of the time (11th), nickel 32% of the time (30th), and dime 30% of the time (4th). It’ll be interesting to see if Crennel continues to maintain a fluid defense and whether he has better results than Mike Vrabel did.
That’s everything regarding Houston from FO at the moment. Regardless of the fact that this is a team specific site, you should check out both articles and read up on the league-wide trends entering the 2018 season.