Texans play-by-play voice Marc Vandermeer hosts the two-hour weekly radio show “Texans All Access,” which provides an exclusive look into the offseason activity of the Texans. The show airs Tuesdays during the offseason from 12-2 p.m. CST.
“The NFL season never truly ends. From the scouting combine to free agency to the draft and OTAs, there is always something happening,” Vandermeer said. “This show will be delivered with game day intensity and production value. Listeners will get all the latest Texans information in an audio atmosphere that extends the feel and flavor of the regular season all year long.”
This week’s guests are ILB Brian Cushing, who will be on air at 12:15 p.m., and defensive backs coach Vance Joseph at 1 p.m.
You can listen to the show live SportsRadio 610, HoustonTexans.com and also on the Houston Texans Mobile app, which you can download for FREE by texting TEXANS to 51288.
Tags: Brian Cushing, Marc Vandermeer, Vance Joseph
Posted in Drew Dougherty | 1 Comment »
Episode 16 of “Off the Turf with Scurf,” my semi-weekly podcast here on HoustonTexans.com, features Texans strong safety Danieal Manning.
Manning, in his second season with the Texans and seventh in the NFL, has 32 tackles, an interception returned for a touchdown and three passes defensed. In the podcast, he discusses being nicknamed “Superman” in high school in Corsicana, Texas, where he was a highly-touted defensive back and track star; being recruited by Texas, Oklahoma, Penn State, Purdue, Arkansas and Alabama and almost ending up at Texas A&M before signing with Nebraska in 2001; transferring to Division II Abilene Christian; playing for Gary Gaines, the former coach at Odessa Permian who was chronicled in the movie “Friday Night Lights”; his own experience of Texas high school football; playing scout team his first year at ACU and ruining the team’s offense in practice; being named to the all-century team at ACU as an active player; getting drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bears; going to the Super Bowl as a rookie in 2006; his disappointment over not receiving a long-term contract from Chicago after his rookie deal expired; leaving the Bears and joining the Texans as a free agent in 2011; playing for Wade Phillips and Vance Joseph; his increased comfort level in his second year in the defense; attending practice voluntarily during mini-camp this offseason just so he could watch; having 20-30 relatives in the Houston area and being able to have his family come to practices and games; his wife and kids; his faith; why Texans coach Gary Kubiak is a “players’ coach”; going back to Soldier Field to face the Bears; and whether Sunday night is a chance for the Texans defense to make a statement.
Thanks for listening. Link
Episode 1 (6/2): J.J. Watt, Wade Phillips
Episode 2 (6/9): Duane Brown, Paul Kuharsky
Episode 3 (6/18): Whitney Mercilus, Keith Gilmore
Episode 4 (6/23): Case Keenum, Jerrry Rhome
Episode 5 (6/30): Matt Schaub, Geoff Kaplan
Episode 6 (7/24): James Casey
Episode 7 (8/4): Connor Barwin, Marc Vandermeer
Episode 8 (8/10): Justin Forsett, Chick Harris
Episode 9 (8/17): Bradie James
Episode 10 (9/8): Andre Johnson
Episode 11 (9/15): T.J. Yates
Episode 12 (9/22): Derek Newton
Episode 13 (9/29): Antonio Smith (Video: Smith on start of career)
Episode 14 (10/20): Bryan Braman (Video: Braman on special teams)
Episode 15 (11/3): Owen Daniels (Video: Daniels on TD celebration)
Episode 16 (11/10): Danieal Manning
Tags: Danieal Manning, Gary Kubiak, Johnathan Joseph, OTWS, Podcasts, Vance Joseph, Wade Phillips
Posted in Nick Scurfield | 1 Comment »
TEXANS WITH CONNECTIONS TO COLORADO
OLB Jesse Nading (Highlands Ranch; Colorado State); Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison (Rocky Mountain H.S. in Fort Collins; CSU); OL Coach John Benton (Durango/Colorado State); Offensive Assistant Dan Hammerschmidt (played at CSU from 1982-85 and coached there in 1986, 1997-2006 and 2010-11); DB Coach Vance Joseph (played at Colorado from 1990-94 and coached there 1999-01 and 2002-03); Assistant WR Coach Marc Lubick (coached at CSU from 2000-02 and 2005-09).
BRONCOS WITH CONNECTIONS TO TEXAS
G/C Philip Blake (Baylor); LB Von Miller (DeSoto, Texas A&M); G Manny Ramirez (Houston, Texas Tech); C J.D. Walton (Baylor); Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio (played for Dallas Cowboys 1989-91); Special Teams Coordinator Jeff Rodgers (Westlake H.S.; North Texas); TE Coach Clancy Barone (coached at Texas State, University of Houston and Texas A&M); Secondary Coach Ron Milus (coached at Texas A&M); DL Coach Jay Rodgers (Austin); WR Coach Tyke Tolbert (Conroe).
FORMER BRONCOS ON THE TEXANS
C Chris Myers (2005-07); T Ryan Harris (2007-11); Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith was an assistant defensive backs coach for the Broncos from 1996-99 before working in the personnel department from 2000-06; Head Coach Gary Kubiak (played for the Broncos, from 1983-91 and coached there from 1995-2005); Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison (played there from 1982-90 and coached there from 1995-09); Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips (head coach from 1989-1994); QB Coach Karl Dorrell (coached there 2000-02); WR Coach Larry Kirksey (coached there in 2004); TE Coach Brian Pariani (coached there from 1995-04); Assistant OL Coach Jim Ryan (played there from 1979-88 and coached there from 2004-08); Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Cedric Smith worked there from 2001-06; Director of Football Operations Doug West was the head equipment manager for the Broncos from 1993-2003.
FORMER TEXANS ON THE BRONCOS
TE Joel Dreessen (2007-11); NT Mitch Unrein went to training camp with the Texans in 2010; LB Coach Richard Smith (was Texans defensive coordinator from 2006-08).
TEXANS-BRONCOS COLLEGE CONNECTIONS
Texans RB Arian Foster (2004-08) played at Tennessee with Broncos DE Robert Ayers (2004-08) and P Britton Colquitt (2004-08); Texans CB Brice McCain (2005-2008) played for Utah with Broncos G Zane Beadles (2005-09); Texans ILB Mister Alexander (2006-10) played for Florida State with Broncos CB Tony Carter (2004-08); Texans OLB Jesse Nading (2004-07) played for Colorado State with Broncos TE Joel Dreessen (2001-04) and QB Caleb Hanie (2004-07); Texans CB Brandon Harris (2008-10) played for Miami with Broncos T Orlando Franklin (2007-10); Texans NT Earl Mitchell (2006-09) and OLB Brooks Reed (2007-10) played at Arizona with Broncos FB Chris Gronkowski (2007-09); Texans TE Owen Daniels (2002-05) played for Wisconsin with Broncos S Jim Leonhard (2001-04); Texans WR Andre Johnson (1999-02) played for Miami with Broncos RB Willis McGahee (2000-02); Texans C Ben Jones (2008-11) played for Georgia with Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno (2006-08); Texans G Andrew Gardner (2005-08) played for Georgia Tech with Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas (2006-08); Texans LS Jon Weeks (2004-06) played for Baylor with Broncos C J.D. Walton (2006-09); Broncos WR Matthew Willis (2005) played at UCLA when Texans QB Coach Karl Dorrell (2003-07) coached there; Texans ILB Bradie James (1999-02) and P Donnie Jones (2000-2003) played at LSU when Denver QB Coach Adam Gase (2000-02) coached there; Dorrell (1992-93) coached at Colorado State with Broncos OL Coach Dave Magazu (1992-94); Dreessen (2001-04) played for Colorado State when Texans OL Coach John Benton (1995-03) coached there; Broncos DT Mitch Unrein (2005-09) played at Wyoming when Texans Offensive Assistant Dan Hammerschmidt (2009) coached there; Hanie (2004-07) played at Colorado State when Hammerschmidt (2001-07) and Texans Assistant WR Coach Marc Lubick (2005-07) coached there; Broncos DT Justin Bannan (1997-01) played at Colorado when Texans DB Coach Vance Joseph (1999-01) coached there; Texans Assistant LB Coach Bobby King (2006-07) coached at Baylor when Walton (2006-09) played there.
TEXANS-BRONCOS PRO CONNECTIONS
Texans RB Justin Forsett (2008) played for Indianapolis with Broncos RB Lance Ball (2008), TE Jacob Tamme (2008-11), and QB Peyton Manning (1998-2011); Texans P Donnie Jones (2007-11) played for St. Louis with Broncos DT Justin Bannan (2011); Texans QB John Beck (2009) played for Baltimore with Bannan (2006-09); Texans CB Alan Ball (2007-11) and ILB Bradie James (2003-11) played for Dallas with Broncos LB Keith Brooking (2009-11); Texans QB Matt Schaub (2004- 06) played for Atlanta with Brooking (1998-08); Texans CB Johnathan Joseph (2006-10), K Shayne Graham (2003-09), and T Andrew Gardner (2011) played for Cincinnati with Broncos WR Andre Caldwell (2008-11); Graham (2010) played for New England with Broncos CB Tony Carter (2010) and C Dan Koppen (2003-11); Ball (2007-11) and James (2003-11) played for Dallas with Broncos FB Chris Gronkowski (2010); Texans FS Danieal Manning (2006-10) played for Chicago with Broncos QB Caleb Hanie (2008-11); Texans FS Quintin Demps (2008-09) played for Philadelphia with Broncos LB Joe Mays (2008-09); Beck (2009) and Gardner (2010) played for Baltimore with Broncos RB Willis McGahee (2007-10); Texans NT Shaun Cody (2005-08) played for Detroit with Broncos G Manny Ramirez (2007-10); Forsett (2008-11) played for Seattle with Broncos WR Brandon Stokley (2010); Jones (2005-06) played for Miami with Broncos DT Kevin Vickerson (2006); Graham (2002) played for Carolina when Broncos Head Coach John Fox (2002-10), Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio (2002) and Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy (2000-08) coached there; Texans WR Coach Larry Kirksey (2003) coached at Jacksonville with Del Rio (2003-11); Texans ILB Tim Dobbins (2008-09) played for San Diego when Broncos Barone (2007-08) coached there; Schaub (2004-06) played for Atlanta when Barone (2004-06) coached there; Jones (2007-11) played for St. Louis when Milus (2006-08) coached there; Jones (2005-06) and LG Wade Smith (2003-05) played for Miami when Richard Smith (2005) coached there.
Tags: Brian Pariani, Cedric Smith, Chris Myers, Dan Hammerschmidt, Doug West, Gary Kubiak, Jesse Nading, Jim Ryan, John Benton, Karl Dorrell, Larry Kirksey, Marc Lubick, Rick Dennison, Rick Smith, Ryan Harris, Vance Joseph, Wade Phillips
Posted in Nick Scurfield | No Comments »
TEXANS WITH CONNECTIONS TO FLORIDA
ILB Mister Alexander (Florida State); RB Justin Forsett (Lakeland); CB Brandon Harris (Miami; Univ. of Miami); WR Lestar Jean (Miami; Florida Atlantic Univ.); WR Andre Johnson (Miami; Univ. of Miami); C Chris Myers (Miami; Univ. of Miami); WR Coach Larry Kirksey (coached at Univ. of Florida, 1984-88); LB Coach Reggie Herring (played at Florida State, 1978-80); Assistant Head Coach/DL Bill Kollar (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, played 1977-81, coached 1984); Special Teams Coordinator Joe Marciano (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coached 1996-01); QB Coach Karl Dorrell (Miami Dolphins, coached 2008-11; Univ. of Central Florida, coached 1989).
JAGUARS WITH CONNECTIONS TO TEXAS
CB Antwon Blake (Houston; UTEP); LB Kyle Bosworth (Plano); G Uche Nwaneri (Garland); CB Aaron Ross (Tyler; Univ. of Texas); CB Kevin Rutland (Houston); PK Josh Scobee (Longview); WR Mike Thomas (DeSoto); RB Keith Toston (Angleton); WR Coach Jerry Sullivan (coached at Texas Tech 1973-75); Offensive Coordinator Bob Bratkowski (San Angelo).
FORMER JAGUARS ON THE TEXANS
WR Coach Larry Kirksey (coached in 2003).
FORMER TEXANS ON THE JAGUARS
Secondary Coach Tony Oden (coached from 2004-05); Assistant Secondary Coach Marlon McCree (played 2003-04).
TEXANS-JAGUARS COLLEGE CONNECTIONS
Texans OLB Brooks Reed and NT Earl Mitchell and Jaguars OL Eben Britton and WR Mike Thomas (Arizona); Texans Offensive Assistant Jim Ryan (1974-78) played for William & Mary with Jaguars LB Coach Mark Duffner (1972-74); Dorrell coached at UCLA when RB Maurice Jones-Drew (2003-05), Bosworth (2005-09), and TE Marcedes Lewis (2002-05) played there; Texans RB Justin Forsett (2004-07) played at California with DT Tyson Alualu (2006-09); Alexander (2006-10) played at Florida State with Jaguars CB Mike Harris (2010-11); Texans DE Tim Jamison (2005-08) played at Michigan with Jaguars QB Chad Henne (2004-07); Texans WR DeVier Posey (2008-11) played at Ohio State with Jaguars C Mike Brewster (2008-11); LG Wade Smith (1999-2001) played at Memphis while DL Coach Joe Cullen (2001) coached there; Texans CB Alan Ball (2002-06) played at Illinois when Cullen (2005) coached there.
TEXANS-JAGUARS PRO CONNECTIONS
LG Wade Smith (2006-07) played for the New York Jets with Jaguars DL C.J. Mosley (2006-08); Texans NT Shaun Cody (2005-08) played for Detroit while Jaguars DL Coach Joe Cullen (2006-08) and Assistant Head Coach/QB Coach Greg Olson (2004-05) coached there; Texans SS Danieal Manning (2006-10) played for Chicago with Jaguars G/C Josh Beekman (2007-10); Texans QB John Beck (2007-08), ILB Tim Dobbins (2010), T Andrew Gardner (2009), and K Shayne Graham (2011) played for Miami with Jaguars QB Chad Henne (2008-11); Beck (2009) and Gardner (2010) played for Baltimore with Jaguars S Dawan Landry (2006-10) and with RB Jalen Parmele (2008-10); Texans Assistant Head Coach/DL Bill Kollar (2006-08) coached for Buffalo while Jaguars LB Paul Posluszny (2007-10) played there; Jones (2007-11) played for St. Louis with Jaguars WR Laurent Robinson (2009-10), DE George Selvie (2010) and RB Keith Toston (2010); Ball (2007-11) and ILB Bradie James (2003-11) played for Dallas with Robinson (2011); Graham (2010) played for N.Y. Giants with CB Aaron Ross (2007-11); Texans RB Coach Chick Harris (1983-91) coached for Seattle while Jaguars OL Coach Andy Heck (1989-93) played there; Texans WR Kevin Walter (2003-05), Graham (2003-09) and CB Johnathan Joseph (2006-10) played for Cincinnati when Offensive Coordinator Bob Bratkowski (2001-10) coached there; Beck (2007-08) and Jones (2005-06) played for Miami while Head Coach Mike Mularkey (2006-07) coached there; Beck (2007-08), Dobbins (2010)¸and Gardner (2009) played for Miami while Jaguars Special Teams Coordinator John Bonamego (2008-10) coached there; Jones (2007-11) played for St. Louis while Olson (2006-07) and RB Coach Sylvester Croom (2009-11) coached there; Smith (2003-05) played for Miami while Sullivan (2004) coached there; Dorrell (2008-11) coached for Miami with Bonamego (2008-10); Texans DB Coach Vance Joseph (2005-10) coached for San Francisco with Sullivan (2005-10).
Tags: Alan Ball, Andre Gardner, Andre Johnson, Bill Kollar, Bradie James, Brandon Harris, Brooks Reed, Chick Harris, Chris Myers, Connections, Danieal Manning, DeVier Posey, Donnie Jones, Earl Mitchell, Jim Ryan, Joe Marciano, John Bekc, Johnathan Joseph, Justin Forsett, Karl Dorrell, Kevin Walter, Larry Kirksey, Lestar Jean, Mister Alexander, Reggie Herring, Shaun Cody, Shayne Graham, Texans-Jaguars Week 2, Tim Dobbins, Tim Jamison, Vance Joseph, Wade Smith
Posted in Nick Scurfield | No Comments »
Earlier today, our position-by-position preview of the 2012 Texans continued with a look at the defensive backs. Here’s what Texans defensive backs coach Vance Joseph, who joined the team in 2011 from the San Francisco 49ers, has to say about the Texans’ projected starters at each position:
On CB Johnathan Joseph: “For us last year, he was the ultimate professional. He came in as a big-money free agent guy who practiced every day. Set a great example for our young guys. He was a great leader on the field, especially. I was proud of him. Sometimes, you sign guys who come in and don’t want to practice, don’t want to go the extra mile. But he worked every day, went the extra mile, studied and improved his game and made his first Pro Bowl. I’m assuming this year he’s going to be even better for us. He’s the ultimate key to our pass defense. Every week, he matches the best receiver from our opponents, man or zone. That gives us a great disguise. It also gets our best on their best each week. Some guys, you give them that assignment and sometimes they kind of want to relax and not play up to their level each week, but he embraces that challenge. He lives for playing the best guy each week. He has great long speed and great ball skills, and we’re expecting great things from him this year.”
On FS Danieal Manning: “Danieal Manning had a great spring. He’s gonna be a Pro Bowl player. I mean, that’s what he is. Last year, he missed almost four games and came back and played really well, but he had a great, great offseason here in the spring. He finally knows what to do and how to do it. Last year, we didn’t have any OTAs, so those guys came in, went right to camp, right to the season. The offseason has made him a better player in all aspects, especially knowing what to do. Physically, he’s off the charts as far as running, hitting, catching the football. Even his return skills are excellent. Mentally last year, he wasn’t where he should’ve been, but now he is. And he’s a leader. He’s a leader by example. He’s a guy every day who’s going to give you 100 percent. He’s going to give you energy every day. If guys follow his lead a little bit, it’s contagious, so I’m excited about Danieal.”
On SS Glover Quin: “He’s the model of consistency. G.Q. shows up every day and he’s the same person, mentally and physically, and that’s a skill that everyone doesn’t have. I mean, that’s hard to do in life, to show up every day and be the same or be better every day. That’s what he gives us, so we know going into Sundays he’s going to give us a solid day of play, mentally and physically. This offseason, he’s worked on his pass coverage stuff, being more rangy in high zones and all those things and in coverage on tight ends. I thought it was an excellent transition for him last year. Going from corner to safety and taking on the physical battles that a safety does, he’s really good at that. He’s going to get better. That was his first year playing safety in the NFL and he was almost there, but this year, he’s going to take great, great steps.”
On CB Kareem Jackson: “Jackson’s a guy I’m very, very proud of. Coming into last season, he had a rough rookie season, so confidence-wise, he wasn’t where he should’ve been. But he worked so hard on his technique and playing the game the right way. He was already a tough, smart player, but his technique wasn’t up to par. But after a long camp and spending hours of working technique, he became a really solid football player. The criticism he takes off the field, man, it’s almost impossible for a guy to play with confidence, but he has. He’s been very, very resilient. That’s a quality that most corners don’t have that he has. He’s a resilient player, he’s a tough player and he believes he can. I believe he can. He had a great spring. When we came in last year, he looked like a young corner. Now, watching the guy all spring, he looks like a professional corner, so I’m looking forward to great days from Kareem Jackson.”
The position-by-position season preview articles and Coach’s Commentary quotes for each projected starter will be featured in the 2012 Houston Texans Yearbook, which goes on sale at the Go Texan Store at Reliant Stadium and online on Saturday, July 28.
Tags: 2012 Texans Yearbook, Coach's Commentary, Danieal Manning, Glover Quin, Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson, Vance Joseph
Posted in Nick Scurfield | 3 Comments »
On Wednesday, Texans coach Gary Kubiak mentioned four young players who have stood out to him so far during organized team activities (OTAs).
One of those players was Torri Williams, an undrafted free agent out of Purdue in 2010. Williams (6-2, 210) is playing cornerback after being listed at safety in his first two seasons with the Texans.
“For a guy who’s only played corner for a little bit of time, he’s showed great movement stuff, great awareness,” Texans defensive backs coach Vance Joseph said on Thursday. “He’s got some size, so I’m excited about Torri getting more reps in OTAs and coming into camp ready to compete.
“I think his best chance of making the team is at corner, in my opinion. And a big guy with movement skills like that, why waste him playing safety? I think his natural position is corner, so it’s the best thing for Torri, and for us, obviously.”
Williams’ football career has been full of twists and turns. He missed his sophomore season at Purdue in 2005 after breaking his right leg in spring practice. He started Purdue’s 2006 season opener but dislocated his right knee in the third quarter, ending yet another season. He battled some legal issues in 2007 and spent six seasons at Purdue because of his medical hardships.
The Texans signed Williams as an undrafted free agent in 2010. He wound up on the practice squad and was called up to the active roster in November, then suffered a season-ending hamstring injury in his first game.
In 2011, the Texans tried Williams at corner in their preseason finale. They released him a few days later but signed him back to the practice squad in October.
“Really, I’m just blessed, man, to even still be here, to even go through the things I’ve been through in college and my first couple years here,” Williams said Thursday. “I’m blessed to still have an opportunity to continue playing and do something that I love and enjoy, so I’m happy.”
When the Texans signed Williams to the practice squad last year, they told him they wanted to give him a shot at corner. So that’s where they put him, giving him a year to develop at the position.
“I’m getting adjusted to it, just watching the other veterans, watching how they work, watching how they cover, watching more film and seeing route recognition,” Williams said. “It’s exciting.”
Williams played safety and corner at Purdue, which he said has helped his transition at the NFL level. But the Cedar Park, Texas, native is still learning.
“For him, it’s footwork and alignment, just those things that he hasn’t done in a long time,” Joseph said. “He’s got natural route recognition. He’s a smart player. It’s just footwork and alignments, and that’s what he’s lacking right now, which comes with experience.”
Williams has unconventional size for a corner at 6-2, but he doesn’t see it as a hindrance.
“With the game now, you’re getting a lot of bigger receivers, so I guess on some of those deep balls they expect me to be in position to be able to play those better,” he said. “Being a big corner is definitely a plus for me.”
“He’s got great movement skills,” Joseph said. “For a big guy, he can really move and he can really bend. He’s awful quick and he’s got some long speed. He’s surprisingly one of our better movement guys doing drills, so with more time and experience, he should be fine at corner. I’m excited to see him grow and come into camp competing.”
The Texans did not sign a veteran corner this offseason despite the departure of veteran Jason Allen in free agency. Joseph acknowledged that there could be an opportunity for Williams to push for a roster spot.
“Sure,” he said. “We didn’t draft any corners, and we signed one (undrafted) free agent guy (Toledo’s Desmond Marrow), so there’s always room for good players. If he’s a good player coming out of camp, he’s gonna be here.”
Tags: Desmond Marrow, Organized Team Activities, Torri Williams, Vance Joseph
Posted in Nick Scurfield | 2 Comments »
After the Texans re-signed safety Quintin Demps on Thursday, Texans defensive backs coach Vance Joseph discussed the move with HoustonTexans.com:
Your thoughts on getting Quintin back in the mix?
“Very excited. Demps is a young player with a huge upside. He played for us half the season, had great production on third downs. He’s tough. He’s smart. He’s our kind of guy.”
Can you explain what exactly his role was last year as the fourth safety?
“Actually, when we signed him back, he was actually the third safety starting on third downs. When D-Man (Danieal Manning) got hurt for a month, he played the third down safety for a month. He had five PBUs, two interceptions, a couple tackles, so he did a good job for us.”
What did you think about the way he responded after getting cut in the preseason, to come back at midseason and have two interceptions in three weeks?
“He had a great preseason for us last year. He had a couple snafus in dime coverage and Dom Barber was paying really well in our camp, so he didn’t make our team, but bringing him back, he came back with a great attitude. Great energy. It was great timing to bring him back because he worked so hard in practice, so it was good for both parties.”
How excited are you to get to work with him for a full offseason this year?
“That’s a great question, because most of his flaws came through not knowing the system, and we all had problems with that being a new system. But having an offseason, having OTAs, he’s going to be a much better player for us.”
Tags: Danieal Manning, Quintin Demps, Vance Joseph
Posted in Nick Scurfield | 1 Comment »
This time last year, Texans defensive backs coach Vance Joseph had no idea what he had in a secondary full of young players. With no OTAs and no mini-camp because of the lockout, he had no offseason in which to work with the players who comprised the league’s 32nd-ranked pass defense in 2010.
Bolstered by the signings of Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning and a greatly-improved pass rush in Wade Phillips’ new 3-4, that pass defense ranked third in 2011. On SportsRadio 610’s “Texans All Access” on Tuesday afternoon, Vance Joseph answered some of the key questions about the secondary going forward:
On No. 2 CB Kareem Jackson’s 2011 season: “God, he made wonderful strides. I mean, his first year, as a rookie coming into the league, most guys play too soon at corner anyway. You draft ’em first round and you expect ‘em to play instantly, and most guys, they develop bad scars. But from his first to second year, he changed his body, first of all. His first year, he played about 195, almost 200 pounds. Came back this year at 185. So that helped his long speed to at least be up to par where he can stay with NFL receivers. Then, his technique every week got better and better. He’s always been a tough, smart football player, but he was lacking the long speed and lacking the technique stuff, and that got better. Now, he’s in the spots to make the plays. He’s got to make the plays now. So from his first year to his second year, we’ve got him in A-plus position, we call it. Now, he has to make those plays more consistently.”
On what he told Jackson after his much-maligned 2010 rookie season: “I told him, ‘Just trust me, first of all. I’m going to help your technique, I’m going to help your body change.’ And pass defense, just like run defense, it’s a team thing. So as the pass rush got better, he got better. Because for 15-20 yards, he was a lockdown corner this year. His issues came when the fade ball came with large receivers. He didn’t finish the plays. But if you watch this kid on cut-ups in the offseason right now, for 15 yards, man, he was a lockdown guy. Comebacks, out routes, curl routes, he’s all over the receiver. OK, now he has to get better at finishing deep balls. But he’s so resilient, guys. He’s a tough kid. He’s gone through so much, but you wouldn’t know it being with the kid. He’s not bitter at all. He worked hard every day. He has no ill will towards anyone. He’s positive. He’s confident again. So it was a fun thing to watch him grow as a pro.”
On CB Brice McCain: “This kid, last year, he was probably one of the best nickels in the league last year from a man-to-man perspective. We watched the cut-ups here last week, and out of all the third downs, he may have only lost probably two or three man to man coverage reps the entire season. He’s got great quickness and great cover ability.”
On 2011 rookie CBs Brandon Harris [a second-round pick who played sparingly] and Roc Carmichael [a fourth-round pick who was injured in training camp]: “Brandon Harris is going to be in the same boat as Kareem. He’s got to change his body. He was probably almost 200 pounds all season this year. He’s got to get down about 185 again, so he can have consistent long speed. But Brandon Harris is a bright, bright football player. He’s got a high football IQ. He’s got ball skills. He’s got great quickness. When he played last year in the slot versus Oakland when Brice got hurt, he did a hell of a job. So, I’m expecting great strides from him. Now Roc Carmichael, he’s a kid that got hurt in camp, but when he did practice with us, he showed great explosion. He’s a tough kid. He’s got ball skills. So, those two kids should make great strides to help us. We lost Jason Allen in free agency, so those two kids should step up and help us and win some games this year.”
On CB Sherrick McManis: “Sherrick is a good young player. He’s a tough guy. He’s got great speed. He was probably one of our best special teams players last year for Joe [Marciano], but he has to get better technique and has to become a better cover guy if he’s gonna play for us, because our defense is really based on guys playing man-to-man coverage. Even if it’s quarters coverage, that’s your guy when he runs vertical. But he’s got a bright future because he can run and he’s tough, so I’m excited about him.”
Tags: Brandon Harris, Brice McCain, Kareem Jackson, Roc Carmichael, Sherrick McManis, Vance Joseph
Posted in Nick Scurfield | 6 Comments »
Aside from an injury update on wide receiver Andre Johnson and defensive end Antonio Smith, here are the highlights
- The Texans ranked 30th in defense last season. As of Monday, they rank No. 1 in 2011 under new coordinator Wade Phillips. “It’s just been fun to watch,” Kubiak said. “I didn’t know it until this morning until I walked in and saw the league stats, but there’s a long way to go and a lot of big football games to play. But the job that he’s done and (linebackers coach) Reggie (Herring) and (assistant head coach/defensive line) Bill (Kollar), (defensive backs coach) Vance (Joseph), (defensive assistant) Bobby (King), (assistant defensive backs coach) Perry (Carter), they’ve done a tremendous job. The players have just bought into what we’re doing and they’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
- Kubiak said the defense has gotten better each week since opening day. “The reason we’re getting better is to watch these young players get better — watch J.J. Watt get better; watch Brooks Reed get better,” Kubiak said. “Troy Nolan comes in and plays well. (Brian) Cushing, we know the level he’s playing at. DeMeco (Ryans) is getting back to full health. DeMeco played really good yesterday. The key is toward the back end of the season you want to win every week, but are you getting better as a football team? Right now, we’re doing that.”
- The secret to the defense’s turnaround under Phillips? Pressure. “Going against Wade for years as an offensive coach, he does a hell of a job of busting protections,” Kubiak said. “Being able to bust people’s protection schemes and get heat on the quarterback is the key in this league… He does a lot of things, and our guys have responded and done a good job of learning it at a very quick pace.” Kubiak also said that the acquisition of cornerback Johnathan Joseph has been key to the Texans’ success so far this season.
- As fullback James Casey works back toward 100 percent from a chest injury, fullback Lawrence Vickers continues to carve out a role in the Texans’ offense. “Lawrence has come in and boy, has he played well,” Kubiak said. “That’s the third week he’s started and that’s the best he’s played. You guys see how we run the ball here lately, so you got to give him a lot of credit along with our guys up front. Lawrence has taken to what we’re trying to teach and do. We ask our fullback to do a lot in our offense and it takes some time, and he’s really starting to take to it. He’s playing very well. James is OK… He needs to continue to get a week or two under his belt where he continues to come out of the game healthy… We’ll need them both before we’re all said and done, but Lawrence has taken advantage of an opportunity. That’s probably the best way for me to put it.”
Tags: Bill Kollar, Bobby King, Brian Cushing, Brooks Reed, DeMeco Ryans, Gary Kubiak, J.J. Watt, James Casey, Johnathan Joseph, Kubiak day-after pressers, Lawrence Vickers, Perry Carter, Reggie Herring, Troy Nolan, Vance Joseph, Wade Phillips
Posted in Nick Scurfield | 4 Comments »
Earlier today we got a chance to huddle with Vance Joseph. The Texans new defensive backs coach gave us a few moments in his office, and we conducted this 1-on-1 interview. (We also shot an X’s and O’s segment, like the ones we did with Bill Kollar, Reggie Herring and John Benton, and we’ll have it on the site tomorrow.)
Joseph covered a few different topics, including the move of Glover Quin from cornerback to safety. Joseph, who spent the past six seasons as an assistant with the 49ers, thinks Quin is a good cornerback who can be a great safety.
After reviewing the 2010 game tapes, he also saw a lot of positives in the play of Kareem Jackson, who struggled as a rookie. Specifically, Joseph said Jackson “played his zones” well, and has “great feet, great movement, great eyes and is a tough tackler.” According to Joseph, Jackson’s problems came a few times in man coverage. But he thinks that when Jackson’s technique is down, “he’ll be fine.”
Rookie safety Shiloh Keo impresses Joseph because of his “football speed”, as the Idaho product recorded the second fastest 20-yard shuttle time at the 2011 Combine.
Ultimately, Joseph said he’s excited to work under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and that he can’t wait for training camp.
Tags: Bill Kollar, Glover Quin, John Benton, Kareem Jackson, Reggie Herring, Shiloh Keo, Vance Joseph, Wade Phillips
Posted in Drew Dougherty | 1 Comment »