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Titans 23, Texans 22: Postgame Notes

Posted by Nick Scurfield on January 1, 2012 – 8:07 pm

Courtesy of the Texans’ communications staff, postgame notes from the Texans’ 23-22 loss to the Titans at Reliant Stadium in Week 17:

THE TEXANS…

  • Finished the season with a franchise-best record of 10-6. With the loss today, Houston finished the season 5-3 at home, 4-2 against AFC South opponents and 1-1 against Tennessee. Houston’s 4-2 intra-division record matches the best in team history.
  • Outrushed the Titans, gaining 152 yards on the ground to Tennessee’s 60. It was the 11th time this season that the Texans outrushed their opponents, and the Texans fell to 8-3 in those games.
  • Won the time of possession battle for the 12th time this season, holding the ball for 34:38. Houston fell to 9-3 in those games
  • Scored on their opening possession of the game for the ninth time this season and the second game in a row.
  • Led after the first quarter for the 12th time this season.
  • Trailed at halftime for the fourth time this season.
  • Scored on their opening possession of the second half for the 10thtime this season and the fourth consecutive game.
  • Were tied after three quarters for the second time this season.
  • Sold out their 100th consecutive home game, including regular season and preseason contests, with a crowd of 71,512. Houston has sold out every home game in franchise history.
  • Team captains were WR Andre Johnson and C Chris Myers on offense, ILBs Brian Cushing and DeMeco Ryans and DE Antonio Smith on defense and K Neil Rackers representing the special teams.
  • The Titans won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff.

TEAM RECORDS SET IN 2011…

  • Wins (10) – Previous record was 9 in 2009
  • Consecutive wins (7) – Previous record was 6 from 12/13/09-9/19/10
  • Fewest touchdowns allowed (27) – Previous record was 39 in 2004 and 2009
  • Fewest points allowed (278) – Previous record was 333 in 2009
  • Fewest yards allowed (4,571) – Previous record was 5,198 in 2009
  • Rushing yards gained (2,448) – Previous record was 2,042 in 2010
  • Fewest rushing yards allowed (1,536) – Previous record was 1,711 in 2009
  • Fewest net passing yards allowed (3,035) – Previous record was 3,141 in 2002
  • Fewest first downs allowed (270) – Previous record was 291 in 2002
  • Fewest interceptions thrown (9) – Previous record was 12 in 2010
  • Sacks (44.0) – Previous record was 37 in 2005
  • Home attendance (Season avg. 71, 496) – Previous high was 71,081 in 2010

HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK

  • Saw his record drop to 47-49 with the loss.
  • Lost the final game of the regular season for the first time in his six seasons as head coach.

CB JASON ALLEN

  • Made his first start since Week 5 vs. Oakland (10/9), starting in place of an inactive Johnathan Joseph. Allen finished the game with two solo tackles.

G THOMAS AUSTIN

  • Saw action for the second time this season and got his most extensive playing time when he subbed for starting C Chris Myers in the second half.

OLB BRYAN BRAMAN

  • Teamed with OLB Jesse Nading to sack Tennessee QB Matt Hasselbeck for a 7-yard loss in the third quarter. It was the first sack of his career.

FB JAMES CASEY

  • Caught his career-high sixth pass of the season when he hauled in a 15-yard throw in the third quarter. His previous high was five receptions in Week 3 at New Orleans (9/25). He finished the game with seven catches for 91 yards with a long of 21.

QB JAKE DELHOMME

  • Made his Texans debut when he stepped in for starter T.J. Yates in the first quarter. Delhomme completed 18-of-28 pass attempts for 211 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions, giving him a passer rating of 99.0.

FS QUINTIN DEMPS

  • Led the team with a career-high six tackles, all of which were solo stops.

ILB TIM DOBBINS

  • Forced a fumble in the fourth quarter. It was his first forced fumble of the season and the sixth of his career.

T ANDREW GARDNER

  • Made his NFL debut when he came on for a field goal attempt in the third quarter.

TE GARRETT GRAHAM

  • Caught his first career pass, a 24-yard gain in the third quarter.

WR ANDRE JOHNSON

  • Extended his franchise-record streak of consecutive games played with a sack to 82 when he caught a 5-yard pass in the first quarter.

WR BRYANT JOHNSON

  • Caught a season-long 40-yard pass in the fourth quarter. The catch was his longest since 11/16/08 when he caught 42-yard pass for San Francisco against St. Louis.
  • Caught his first touchdown of the season and the 16th of his career when QB Jake Delhomme hit him in the back of the end zone from 5 yards out late in the fourth quarter. It was Johnson’s first touchdown catch since 1/3/10 when he caught a 12-yard touchdown for Detroit against Chicago.

WR JACOBY JONES

  • Caught three passes for 35 yards, which put him over 500 receiving yards for the second consecutive season. He entered the game needing 23 yards to reach the milestone.

FS SHILOH KEO

  • Saw his first career action as a punt returner. He fair caught the first punt that came his way and finished the game with one return for 11 yards.

NT EARL MITCHELL

  • Finished the game with a career-high six tackles, including five solo stops, and one pass defensed. His previous high was five tackles vs. Carolina (12/18).

OLB JESSE NADING

  • Registered his first partial sack of the season when he teamed with OLB Bryan Braman to sack Tennessee QB Matt Hasselbeck for a 7-yard loss in the third quarter. The sack gave Nading 4.0 for his career.
  • Recovered the first fumble of his career in the fourth quarter.

K NEIL RACKERS

  • Made all three field goal attempts, hitting from 72, 37 and 22 yards, to give him a franchise-record 32 field goals on the season. The previous mark was 29 field goals by Kris Brown in 2008.

DE ANTONIO SMITH

  • Sacked Tennessee QB Matt Hasselbeck for a 7-yard loss in the first quarter. The sack gave him 5.5 on the season, which matches his career high set in 2007 with Arizona. It also moved him past Jason Babin into third on the franchise’s all-time sack list with 14.0.
  • Notched his second sack of the game when he tackled Hasselbeck for an 8-yard loss in the second quarter. The sack gave him a career-high 6.5 on the season. His 2.0 sacks also tied a career single-game high, matching his performance at Oakland on 10/3/10.

RB BEN TATE

  • Made his second career start and his first since Week 3 at New Orleans (9/25), finishing with 97 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
  • Scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the season on a 4-yard run to cap the Texans’ opening drive. His last touchdown was in Week 11 at Tampa Bay (11/13).
  • Ran for a 56-yard gain on the first play of the second half. It was the longest run of the season for the Texans and the longest of his career. The previous long was a 44-yard run by Tate at Cincinnati (12/11).
  • Had a career-high 24 receiving yards and tied a career high with four receptions. His previous bests were four catches and 13 receiving yards, both at Miami in Week 2 (9/18).

RB DERRICK WARD

  • Finished the game with season highs in rushing attempts and rushing yards, carrying 12 times for 50 yards. His previous highs were 11 attempts and 39 yards, both against Indianapolis in Week 1 (9/11).

QB T.J. YATES

  • Started for the fifth time and completed all four of his pass attempts for 47 yards before leaving the game early in the first quarter.

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Panthers 28, Texans 13: Postgame notes

Posted by Nick Scurfield on December 18, 2011 – 5:34 pm

Courtesy of the Texans’ communications staff, postgame notes from the team’s 28-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers at Reliant Stadium in Week 15:

THE TEXANS…
•         Set the franchise single-season sack record with the 38th of the year when NT Earl Mitchell tackled Carolina QB Cam Newton for no gain in the first quarter, breaking the previous mark of 37 set in 2005. The Texans entered the game with 36 sacks on the year.

•         Trailed at the end of the first quarter, at halftime and through three quarters for the second consecutive week and the third time this season in each instance. Houston fell to 1-2 in all three instances.

•         Were shut out in the first half for the first time this season.

•         Scored on their opening drive of the second half for the eighth time this season and for the second consecutive week when K Neil Rackers booted a 26-yard field goal.

•         Team captains were C Chris Myers on offense; ILB Brian Cushing, ILB DeMeco Ryans and DE Antonio Smith on defense; and K Neil Rackers representing the special teams.

•         The Texans won the toss and elected to receive.

•         Total paid attendance was 71,540, which was the third-largest crowd this season and third-largest in team history. The Houston Texans have sold out all 99 home games, including preseason and regular-season contests, in franchise history.

G THOMAS AUSTIN
•         Made his professional debut, taking the field with the kickoff return unit on the opening kickoff.

OLB CONNOR BARWIN
•         Sacked Carolina QB Cam Newton for a 10-yard loss on the Panthers’ opening drive, giving him 10.5 for the year. Barwin became the second Texan to notch double-digit sacks in a season, joining Mario Williams, who did so in 2007 and 2008.

G ANTOINE CALDWELL
•         Made his first start of the season at RG. He started seven games in 2010, including the last three games of the season.

ILB BRIAN CUSHING
•         Led the team with 12 tackles, including nine solos and one tackle for loss. It was the 10th game this season in which Cushing led the team or tied for the team lead in tackles.

TE OWEN DANIELS
•         Extended his streak of consecutive games played with a reception to 67 on a 17-yard reception in the third quarter.

FS QUINTIN DEMPS
•         Returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 50 yards. It was his longest kick return as a Texan and his longest since 11/23/08 when he had a 100-yard return for a touchdown at Baltimore as a Philadelphia Eagle.

RB ARIAN FOSTER
•         Surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the second consecutive season on is seventh carry of the game, a gain of 18. The run gave him 1,010 yards on the year, making him the second player in team history to top 1,000 rushing yards in consecutive season along with Domanick Williams in 2003-04.

•         Became the fifth player in NFL history to surpass 1,000 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards in consecutive seasons. He topped 600 receiving yards on the year with his fifth catch of the day, a 22-yard gain in the fourth quarter, which gave him 601 yards on the season.

•         Went over 100 yards for the sixth time this season and the 14th time in his career. He topped the century mark on a 6-yard gain in the fourth quarter, his 13th rush of the game, and finished with 109 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.

•         Scored his ninth rushing touchdown of the season and the 28th of his career when he dove into the end zone from 2 yards out. Foster has scored a rushing touchdown in eight of Houston’s last nine games.

WR BRYANT JOHNSON
•         Doubled his season reception total with a pair of catches on Houston’s second drive. He entered the game with two receptions for 22 yards on the year and caught two passes for 23 yards on that drive.

WR JACOBY JONES
•         Returned a third-quarter punt 42 yards. It was his fifth return of 40 or more yards this season.

WR JEFF MAEHL
•         Made his NFL debut after being signed off of the Texans’ practice squad on Wednesday. Maehl saw his first action on the punt return unit in the first quarter.

NT EARL MITCHELL
•         Registered his first sack of the season when he tackled Carolina QB Cam Newton for no gain in the first quarter. It was his second career sack.

K NEIL RACKERS
•         Scored seven points in the game to increase his season total to 115, tying Kris Brown’s 2007 point total for the third-most in franchise history.

FB LAWRENCE VICKERS
•         Caught his fourth pass of the game, a four-yarder in the third quarter, to set a career single-game high. Vickers’ previous high was three receptions on 11/4/07 vs. Seattle as a member of the Cleveland Browns.

DE J.J. WATT
•         Tied a career high with seven tackles, including five solos, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit. He also made seven tackles in Week 12 at Jacksonville (11/27).

QB T.J. YATES
•         Completed his first eight pass attempts, gaining 60 yards on those throws. His ninth pass of the game was tipped at the line of scrimmage and fell incomplete.

•         Finished the game 19-of-30 for 212 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, giving him a passer rating of 56.5.


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Texans-Panthers halftime by the numbers

Posted by Nick Scurfield on December 18, 2011 – 1:38 pm

We’re at halftime of the Texans’ Week 15 game against the Carolina Panthers at Reliant Stadium. The Panthers will receive to start the third quarter. Here’s a look at halftime by the numbers:

21-0: The score, in favor of the Panthers
145-125:
Total yards, in favor of the Panthers
87-69: Passing yards, in favor of the Panthers
58-56: Rushing yards, in favor of the Panthers
15:33-14:27:
Time of possession, in favor of the Panthers
53.0: Passer rating for Texans QB T.J. Yates (10-of-14, 1 INT)
127.3: Passer rating for Panthers QB Cam Newton (7-of-11, 2 TDs)
14: Points for the Panthers off two Texans turnovers
1: Fumble lost by Texans RB Arian Foster
1: Missed FG by Texans K Neil Rackers, from 49 yards out
45: Average yards on the Panthers’ three scoring drives (26, 61, 48)
6.0: Yards per carry for Texans RB Arian Foster on five attempts (30 yards)
3.7:
Yards per carry for Texans RB Ben Tate on seven attempts (26 yards)
5.4:
Yards per carry for Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart on five attempts (27 yards)
60: Receiving yards for Panthers WR Steve Smith on four catches
3: Catches for Texans FB Lawrence Vickers for 25 yards, both season-highs
2: Sacks by the Texans’ defense (Connor Barwin, Earl Mitchell)
10: Tackles for Panthers LB Jordan Senn


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Texans 20, Bengals 19: Postgame notes

Posted by Nick Scurfield on December 11, 2011 – 10:42 pm

Courtesy of the Texans’ communications staff, postgame notes from the team’s 20-19 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Week 14:

THE DIVISION TITLE PICTURE…

  • The Texans clinched their first AFC South championship with the win and Tennessee’s loss to New Orleans.

THE TEXANS…

  • Clinched their first AFC South championship with the win and Tennessee’s loss to New Orleans.
  • Held Cincinnati to 19 points, extending their streak to seven consecutive games holding an opponent under 20 points. It was the 10th time overall the Texans have an opponent under 20 points.
  • Won time of possession for the 11th time this season, holding the ball for 31:44. Houston is 9-2 in those games.
  • Outrushed the Bengals, 144-101. It marked the ninth time this season that the Texans have outrushed their opponent. Houston is 8-1 in those games.
  • Scored first for the 11th time this season.
  • Trailed at the end of the first quarter and at halftime for the second time this season in each instance. The only other game in which Houston was behind after the first period or at halftime was in Week 6 at Baltimore (11/16), when the team trailed 7-0 after the first quarter and 10-7 at halftime.
  • Scored a touchdown following a forced fumble in the third quarter, giving the team 103 points off turnovers this season. The Texans have scored following 17 of their 24 takeaways this season.
  • Team captains were C Chris Myers on offense; ILB Brian Cushing, ILB DeMeco Ryans and DE Antonio Smith on defense; and K Neil Rackers representing the special teams.
  • The Bengals won the toss and deferred their choice until the second half. The Texans elected to receive the opening kickoff.

THE WIN…

  • Extended Houston’s winning streak to a franchise-record seven games.
  • Improved Houston’s record to 10-3, which set a franchise record for wins in a season (9, in 2009).
  • Improved head coach Gary Kubiak’s career record to 47-46 overall and 3-0 against Cincinnati.
  • Improved Houston’s record against Cincinnati to 3-3 in the all-time series.
  • Improved Houston’s record to 5-2 on the road this season, which ties the team record for a season (2009).
  • Extended Houston’s road winning streak to four consecutive games, tying a franchise record.

HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK

  • Improved his record as head coach to 47-46 with the win. It marks the first time in his career that his record moved above .500.
  • Unsuccessfully challenged a call on the field of a fumble in the fourth quarter. The lost challenge drops Kubiak’s record to 2-5 this season and 12-27 in his career.

OLB CONNOR BARWIN

  • Forced a fumble for the first time in his career when he sacked Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton for a 9-yard loss in the third quarter. The sack gave him 9.5 for the season and 14.0 for his career.

TE OWEN DANIELS

  • Started the 75th game of his career.
  • Extended his streak of consecutive games played with a reception to 66 with a 5-yard catch in the first quarter.
  • Surpassed 600 receiving yards for the third time in his career and the first time since 2008. He reached the milestone on his third catch of the day, a gain of 24 yards in the second quarter. He entered the game with 544 yards on the season.
  • Reached the 100-yard plateau for the fourth time in his career and the first time this season. He finished with a game-high 100 yards on seven receptions. His last 100-yard game was on 10/25/09 vs. San Francisco when he caught seven passes for 125 yards and a touchdown.
  • His 74 receiving yards in the first half tied for the second-most in the first half in his career. He also had 74 yards on 11/18/07 vs. New Orleans. His career high before halftime is 100 yards on 10/25/09 vs. San Francisco.

FS QUINTIN DEMPS

  • Returned his first kickoff of the season when he brought a kick back 20 yards in the third quarter. It was his first kickoff return since 12/20/09 vs. San Francisco as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.

TE JOEL DREESSEN

  • Caught a touchdown pass for the third consecutive game and the sixth time overall this season when he hauled in a 6-yard scoring toss from QB T.J. Yates in the third quarter. His three-game touchdown reception streak is tied for the second-longest in team history, trailing WR Andre Johnson’s four-game streak in 2007. The last Texan to catch a touchdown in three consecutive games was WR Kevin Walter from 9/12/10-9/26/10.
  • Caught his 100th career pass on a 6-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. He entered the game with 98 career catches.

RB ARIAN FOSTER

  • Surpassed 4,000 career yards from scrimmage on his second carry of the game, a gain of 5 yards. He entered the game 3,996 career yards from scrimmage (2,789 rushing, 1,207 receiving). Foster became the third Texan to surpass 4,000 total scrimmage yards, joining WR Andre Johnson (9,689) and RB Domanick Williams (4,471).

WR JACOBY JONES

  • Surpassed 400 receiving yards for the third consecutive season. He entered the game with 387 yards on the year and topped the milestone with a 16-yard catch in the third quarter.

FS DANIEAL MANNING

  • Led the team with 11 tackles, including eight solo stops. The 11 tackles matched his season high from Week 6 at Baltimore (10/16).

NT EARL MITCHELL

  • Recovered his second career fumble in the first quarter when he fell on a fumbled kickoff return to retain possession for the Texans. His previous fumble recovery came earlier this year vs. Pittsburgh (10/2).

K NEIL RACKERS

  • Made a 46-yard field goal in the first quarter and a 33-yarder in the fourth quarter. The kicks, along with an extra point in the third quarter, gave him 107 points on the year, which is the fifth-highest point total in team history.

OLB BROOKS REED

  • Recovered a fumble for the first time in his career when he dove on a loose ball in the third quarter.

ILB DEMECO RYANS

  • Matched his season high with six tackles, including four solos.

RB BEN TATE

  • Broke free for a 44-yard run in the first quarter, the longest of his career. His previous long was a 27-yard gain vs. Cleveland (11/6).
  • Caught a career-long 14-yard pass in the fourth quarter, bettering his previous long of 13 yards in Week 2 at Miami (9/18).

P MATT TURK

  • Boomed punts of 50 yards or more on each of his first two attempts. His first was a 53-yarder in the first quarter and his second, a 50-yard effort, was downed on the Cincinnati 2-yard line in the third quarter.

WR KEVIN WALTER

  • Caught the game-winning touchdown pass, a 6-yarder from QB T.J. Yates, with :02 remaining on the clock. The touchdown was Walter’s third of the season and the 23rd of his career. He finished the game with six catches for 76 yards and the touchdown.

QB T.J. YATES

  • Led his second career fourth quarter game-winning drive and second in as many weeks, guiding the Texans 80 yards in 13 plays to score the game-winning touchdown with :02 remaining in the game on his 6-yard throw to WR Kevin Walter.
  • Threw for a career-high 300 yards, bettering his 188-yard outing last week vs. Atlanta. Yates became the first Texans rookie quarterback to throw for 300 yards in a game.
  • Made the first start of his career on the road.
  • Threw his second career touchdown pass when he hit TE Joel Dreessen from 6 yards out in the third quarter. Yates has connected with Dreessen on both of his touchdown passes this season.
  • Became the first Texans rookie quarterback to win his first start on the road.

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Texans-Buccaneers Friday injury report

Posted by Nick Scurfield on November 11, 2011 – 3:46 pm

Here’s the Friday (final) injury report for the Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Texans

Out
WR Andre Johnson (Hamstring/DNP), FS Danieal Manning (Ankle/DNP)

Doubtful
None

Questionable
CB Sherrick McManis (Groin/Limited), NT Earl Mitchell (Ankle/Limited), DE Antonio Smith (Shoulder/Limited), T Eric Winston (Back/Limited)

Probable
LB Mister Alexander (Shoulder/Full), CB Jason Allen (Knee/Full), G Thomas Austin (Knee/Full), LB Connor Barwin (Achilles/Full), LB Bryan Braman (Thigh/Full), G Mike Brisiel (Back/Full), T Duane Brown (Shoulder/Full), G Antoine Caldwell (Ankle/Full), FB James Casey (Pectoral/Full), NT Shaun Cody (Back/Full), LB Brian Cushing (Knee/Hamstring/Full), LB Tim Dobbins (Hip/Full), CB Johnathan Joseph (Hamstring/Abdomen/Full), LB Jesse Nading (Shoulder/Full), G Wade Smith (Ankle/Full), RB Ben Tate (Foot/Ankle/Full), WR Kevin Walter (Knee/Ankle/Full)

Buccaneers

Out
None

Doubtful
DT Frank Okam (Calf/DNP)

Questionable
LB Dekoda Watson (Groin/DNP)

Probable
QB Josh Freeman (R. Thumb/Full), S Tanard Jackson (Hamstring/Full), WR Mike Williams (Thigh/Full), G Jeremy Zuttah (Knee/Full)


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Texans-Buccaneers Thursday injury report

Posted by Nick Scurfield on November 10, 2011 – 5:12 pm

Here’s the Thursday injury report for the Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Texans

Did Not Participate in Practice
WR Andre Johnson (Hamstring), FS Danieal Manning (Ankle), NT Earl Mitchell (Ankle), DE Antonio Smith (Shoulder), T Eric Winston (Back)

Limited Participation in Practice
LB Mister Alexander (Shoulder), FB James Casey (Pectoral), CB Sherrick McManis (Groin)

Full Participation in Practice
CB Jason Allen (Knee), G Thomas Austin (Knee), LB Connor Barwin (Achilles), LB Bryan Braman (Thigh), G Mike Brisiel (Back), T Duane Brown (Shoulder), G Antoine Caldwell (Ankle), LB Brian Cushing (Knee/Hamstring), CB Johnathan Joseph (Hamstring/Abdomen), LB Jesse Nading (Shoulder), G Wade Smith (Ankle), RB Ben Tate (Foot/Ankle), WR Kevin Walter (Knee/Ankle)

Buccaneers

Did Not Participate in Practice
DT Frank Okam (Calf)

Limited Participation in Practice
LB Dekoda Watson (Groin)

Full Participation in Practice
QB Josh Freeman (R. Thumb), S Tanard Jackson (Hamstring), WR Mike Williams (Thigh), G Jeremy Zuttah (Knee)


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Texans-Buccaneers Wedneday injury report

Posted by Nick Scurfield on November 9, 2011 – 4:49 pm

Here’s the Wednesday injury report for the Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Texans

Did Not Participate in Practice
LB Connor Barwin (Achilles), LB Brian Cushing (Knee/Hamstring), WR Andre Johnson (Hamstring), FS Danieal Manning (Ankle), NT Earl Mitchell (Ankle), DE Antonio Smith (Shoulder), T Eric Winston (Back)

Limited Participation in Practice
LB Mister Alexander (Shoulder), LB Bryan Braman (Thigh), FB James Casey (Pectoral), G Wade Smith (Ankle)

Full Participation in Practice
CB Jason Allen (Knee), G Thomas Austin (Knee), G Mike Brisiel (Back), T Duane Brown (Shoulder), G Antoine Caldwell (Ankle), LB Jesse Nading (Shoulder), RB Ben Tate (Foot/Ankle), WR Kevin Walter (Knee/Ankle)

Buccaneers

Did Not Participate in Practice
S Tanard Jackson (Hamstring), DT Frank Okam (Calf), WR Mike Williams (Thigh), TE Kellen Winslow (Non-Injury)

Limited Participation in Practice
None

Full Participation in Practice
QB Josh Freeman (R. Thumb), G Jeremy Zuttah (Knee)


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Non-dressers, lineup changes for tonight’s game

Posted by Nick Scurfield on August 27, 2011 – 4:39 pm

SAN FRANCISCO — Here are the inactives and lineup changes for tonight’s Texans-49ers preseason game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco:

TEXANS CHANGES: 

Players not dressing for tonight’s game are:

16 WR Trindon Holliday
17 WR Paul Williams
18 WR Lestar Jean
20 RB Steve Slaton
36 CB Roc Carmichael
46 LS Jon Weeks
54 ILB Mister Alexander
57 ILB Cheta Ozougwu
59 ILB DeMeco Ryans
62 G Antoine Caldwell
64 G Kasey Studdard
71 G Shelley Smith
78 T Rashad Butler
92 NT Earl Mitchell

Starting lineup changes for the Texans are:

51 Darryl Sharpton will start at ILB for DeMeco Ryans

49ERS CHANGES: 

Players not dressing for tonight’s game are:

30 S Reggie Smith
36 CB Shawntae Spencer

Starting lineup changes for the 49ers are:

35 Tarell Brown will start at CB for Shawntae Spencer


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On nose tackles, Phillips’ history backs up words

Posted by Nick Scurfield on May 20, 2011 – 11:42 am

At the Texans’ Vision Dinner last week at Reliant Stadium, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips explained to suite holders why his nose tackles “don’t have to be the size of a vending machine.”

“There’s all kinds of players,” Phillips said. “I think I’ve had six Pro Bowl nose guards since I’ve coached in the league – all different sizes. Ted Washington at Buffalo was 400 pounds, I know. And Greg Kragen (in Denver), he was 250-260. And even Jay Ratliff, who was in the Pro Bowl with us at the Cowboys, is about 280. He’s not as big as the guys we have here, and everybody’s saying, ‘Wow, these guys can’t play it.’ It’s all the techniques involved and how you play the position.

“It seems simple, but if you’ve got a great big guy that can’t penetrate, like some of the guys I’ve had, then you let him play right in the middle of the (center). If you’ve got a guy that’s quick, you let him stunt. If you’ve got a guy that’s strong, you let him power one side or the other of the center. That’s just the way you coach football. We can take a guy that has good ability – and I think both the guys we have have real good ability – and get him to play well.”

The reason that topic came up, of course, is that the guys that the Texans have at nose tackle are widely viewed as being too small. Shaun Cody is listed at 6-4, 304, and Earl Mitchell is listed at 6-3, 291.

For comparison’s sake, here’s a list of all the starting 3-4 nose tackles – and their heights and weights – that Phillips has coached in his 35 years in the NFL (info from ProFootballReference.com):

Nose tackles under Wade Phillips
Jay Ratliff, Dallas Cowboys, 2007-10 (6-4, 293)*
Jamal Williams, San Diego Chargers, 2004-06 (6-3, 348)*
Ed Jasper, Atlanta Falcons, 2002-03 (6-2, 293)
Ted Washington, Buffalo Bills, 1995-2000 (6-5, 365)*
Greg Kragen, Denver Broncos, 1989-91 (6-3, 263)*
Tony Elliott, New Orleans Saints, 1985 (6-2, 282)
Derland Moore, Saints, 1982-84 (6-4, 250)
Jerry Boyarsky, Saints, 1981 (6-3, 290)
Monte Bennett, Saints, 1981 (6-3, 265)
Curley Culp, Houston Oilers, 1976-80 (6-2, 265)*
*Indicates Pro Bowler

Players obviously are bigger now than they were in the ‘70s and ‘80s, so that skews the numbers a bit, but the fact is that Phillips’ history backs up his words. He has coached nose tackles of all shapes and sizes, and he actually has had more “undersized” noses like Ratliff and Kragen than giant space-eaters like Washington and Williams. It works because he fits his defense to the players’ skills, not the other way around. And he doesn’t think he’ll have any problem doing just that with Cody and Mitchell.


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Posted in Nick Scurfield | 4 Comments »

Senior Bowl, Day 1

Posted by drewdougherty on January 24, 2011 – 8:48 pm

MOBILE — The first day of the Senior Bowl is in the books. There’s a short article up on the site right now, but we wanted to add a few more observations and notes from the day that was.

  • Alabama head coach Nick Saban was in attendance at the South practice. Three of his players–QB Greg McElroy, OL James Carpenter and TE Preston Dial–are taking part in the Senior Bowl.
  • Arizona defensive lineman Brooks Reed, who was mentioned in the article linked above, lit up when he was asked about former teammate and current Texans defensive lineman Earl Mitchell.
  • Reed also drew comparisons to Mitchell, as he was explosive and elusive in 1-on-1 blocking drills, gliding past Mississippi State offensive lineman Derek Sherrod. On one play, he used a swim move to easily get to the quarterback, and his quickness was glaring in comparison to some of his fellow linemen. On a second play versus Sherrod, he faked to the outside and then spun inside effortlessly and was in the backfield in an instant.
  • Reed said the day flew by and that the practice is “very up-tempo and pads were popping. It’s been an honor playing with all the top guys in the country.”
  • Texas defensive lineman Sam Acho had little trouble getting around Florida offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert during a 1-on-1 in which he utilized his speed to around the Gator.
  • Phil Taylor, a 337-pound defensive tackle from Baylor, showed quick burst and good use of his hands to penetrate in the 1-on-1 drills.
  • Taylor stayed humble in the interviews afterwards and described his day by saying “I think I did good. Just gotta work on the small things and I’ll be alright. Just work hard, every play.”
  • Mississippi State’s Pernell McPhee is a big load to handle, and he took down Florida offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert when the two lost their footing in a blocking drill.
  • Defensive lineman Cedric Thornton of Central Arkansas was the most talkative defender of the day, reminiscent of last year’s performance by then Missouri/current Falcon Sean Weatherspoon. Thornton had trouble getting penetration against a variety of South offensive linemen.
  • Miami Hurricane Allen Bailey got upfield fairly quickly and was able to penetrate.
  • Baylor offensive lineman Danny Watkins battled Clemson defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins to a standstill in 1-on-1′s, and showed a fair amount of nastiness/spunk/scrappiness, etc.
  • Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller was isolated against Georgia Tech running back Anthony Allen in a pass coverage drill, and Miller was able to pick off a high pass that Miller tipped.
  • Miller, when asked to describe whether or not he’s nasty on the field, lit up and said “It just depends. I do whatever it takes to win. I’ll do a crocodile roll on somebody’s leg if I have to. You know how when you watch the Discovery Channel and you see a crocodile bite down and roll out? Well I’m in it to win it and do whatever.”
  • Mississippi State linebacker K.J. Wright got beat in the pass coverage drills by Tulsa running back Charles Clay, but Wright earned praise from the Buffalo Bills coach by stripping Wright from behind.
  • LSU linebacker Kelvin Sheppard was able to disrupt Allen’s route in the coverage drill, and the timing was thrown off to the point that Allen was unable to get to the ball. Sheppard drew hoots and praise from the coaches.
  • Sheppard said he picked up a lot from the coaching today. He got tips on a variety of things, and said that the coaches told him he’ll put his hand in the dirt on passing situations. He’ll play mainly in the middle, but will sometimes come off the edge when the South goes into the nickel defense.
  • Sheppard said he’s absorbing the information “pretty fast”, and that his “knowledge of the game” is his best attribute.
  • Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes is in the linebacker crowd that said they’ll play in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, and he also perked up when asked about whether or not he keeps in touch with former Auburn tailback and current Texans running back Ben Tate. “I talked to Ben Tate a few times, and Antonio Coleman who plays for the Bills, just to get a good start to hear what it’s like playing in the NFL,” Bynes said.

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Posted in Drew Dougherty | 2 Comments »