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08 Oct 2012

Film Room: Texans-Jets

by Andy Benoit

Texans offense vs. Jets defense

One of the best kept secrets in football is that the Jets do not have any good pass rushers. They have a bunch of solid front-seven players who have decent strength and decent speed, but no exceptionally explosive elements to their game. (Calvin Pace, anyone?) They were hoping the addition of Quinton Coples would change this, but so far, the first-round rookie has looked like the epitome of what was described two sentences ago. Rex Ryan’s fast, multidimensional blitz packages have camouflaged New York’s languid pass-rush. But will Ryan feel comfortable calling those blitzes now that he doesn’t have Darrelle Revis shutting down half the field?

It may not matter Monday night; defenses can’t seem to get to Matt Schaub anyway. The Texans are too fine-tuned in their rolling pockets and bootlegs for most pass-rushing concepts to work. Your best bet is to play coverage against this team. Keeping extra defenders on the back half of the field decreases the amount of ground players have to cover in running with Houston’s receivers and tight ends on misdirection crossing routes.

Zone-stretches and play-action off those zone stretches aren’t the only things Houston is doing well these days. This offense gets tremendous mileage out of tight-split bunches from trips formations. Houston usually puts two tight ends in these three-receiver bunches and has everyone run short hitch and hook routes in different directions. This lifts the second level of the defense, creating easy eight-yard completions for Schaub. All the more reason to play coverage-heavy concepts, as blitzes can’t work against this type of call.

Jets offense vs. Texans defense

Would it be that bad if the Jets just waved the white flag now? We’re talking about what might be the NFL’s worst offense facing what might be the NFL’s best defense. The Jets have no staple run game. Even their usually formidable front five, including center Nick Mangold, has been poor on the ground at times this season. With Santonio Holmes out for the year, they have no receivers who can beat man coverage. Overseeing all this is a quarterback with inconsistent accuracy and frequent bouts of pocket jitters. The immediate future couldn’t look more hopeless in New York. (Perhaps that means Tebow time? The Broncos put him in last year once they realized their receivers couldn’t beat man coverage. The Jets might as well say a prayer and hope they can win by being unconventional.)

Against the Titans last week, Houston’s secondary proved it is capable of winning with man-to-man coverage across the board. Star cornerback Johnathan Joseph wasn’t challenged, and former first-round corner Kareem Jackson had an outstanding pass breakup and a pick-six the two times he was challenged. Houston’s man coverage was played with just one safety roaming free over the top, which meant Wade Phillips had an extra pass-rusher at his disposal. Not that Phillips needed it. Edge rushers Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed have been just as energetic as they were last season, and J.J. Watt has come alive on passing downs, with 7.5 sacks through four games.

We could get more elaborate in the X and O breakdown of this matchup, but what’s the point? The talent discrepancy is so great that whatever Houston does should work.

Posted by: Andy Benoit on 08 Oct 2012

21 comments, Last at 10 Oct 2012, 6:31pm by Karl Cuba


by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 12:55pm


You could have just written:

Texans offense vs. Jets defense:

The Texans offense is a musclebound God that will treat the Jets defense like the little gravelly bits from FieldTurf.

Texans Defense vs. Jets Offense:

Mark Sanchez couldn't pass his way out of a paper bag, and the Texans' defense brings more than just a paper bag to the table.

I'd at least like to hear who Houston uses in the box from the safety position, etc., although I agree it doesn't matter to the outcome.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 8:23pm

Glover Quin and Danieal Manning are fairly interchangeable. They have both played CB in the pros and not entirely sucked there, and despite their comparative lack of size they both hit pretty hard. Neither will ever be a Polamalu or Reed, but both do their job really quite well with few mistakes.

by Eddo :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 9:11pm

In Chicago, Manning was a decent nickel back - which consists of quite a bit of blitzing in Lovie Smith's defense.

I haven't seen him much as a Texan. On the Bears, he was an OK safety who had a few too many complete breakdowns in coverage for my taste. Has he gotten better at playing a centerfield role?

That said, he was still one of the more reliable post-Mike-Brown safeties for the Bears.

by dk240t :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 1:30pm

This review hardly feels like film study - more like just piling it on...

Honestly, I'm scared. I wish someone, anyone, would pick the Jets to win. As long as someone does, the Texans should be fine. But if the predicted result is wholly unanimous throughout the universe, that's recipe for an upset.

There would have to be major special teams gaffes by the Texans and some serious ball security issues, combined with great Rex Ryan scheming to give the Jets a chance. Possible, but seems unlikely.

by FrontRunningPhinsFan :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 1:50pm

I will pick the Jets to win for you - mostly because I want to see them get pummeled.

Here's how it happens:

Matt Schaub is hypnotized into believing he is a chicken by a bad hypnotist.

Arian Foster is knocked out after a bar room argument with Barney over who is the greatest English Prime Minister of all time at Moe's Tavern.

Andre Johnson takes too much nerve tonic which results in gigantism of the head.

JJ Watt is arrested for every unsolved murder in New York City history.

Kevin Walter disappears into the "Springfield Mystery Spot" while touring the city.

Ben Tate is sidetracked while helping a woman rescue her possessions from a house fire.

Connor Barwin is kicked off the team by Gary Kubiak for not shaving sideburns only Kubiak can see.

Danieal Manning is hospitalized due to radiation poisoning from working at the nuclear power plant.

Fire Jeff Ireland.

by tuluse :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 1:51pm

Well played.

by Rivers McCown :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 2:06pm

The fact that you can make this list without putting on Glover Quin, Johnathan Joseph, Antonio Smith, Brian Cushing, or Owen Daniels is pretty mind-boggling.

by FrontRunningPhinsFan :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 2:14pm

Is Shayne Graham left footed?

If so, we could also add that Gary Kubiak benches him on a last second field goal attempt for a right-footed kicker because the ball is on the left hashmark and the percentages are better.

But then the Texans would still win. Nevermind. Scratch that.

Fire Jeff Ireland.

by Eddo :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 4:11pm

Pitt. The. Elder.

by Jimmy :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 9:10am

Atlee and it isn't close (although I would give props to Cromwell who whilst never actually prime minister did chop the king's head off which is always a good thing in my book, don't much like kings).

by Eddo :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 2:43pm

That sounds interesting, but I must admit I know next to nothing about British Prime Ministers. I was just quoting Wade Boggs from the Simpsons episode that was referenced.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 10/10/2012 - 6:31pm


by dk240t :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 8:40am

Thanks for that prediction. Wish I would have seen it before the game so I could be less nervous.

by Insancipitory :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 1:56pm

The ball bounces funny. Any team can beat any other team, on any given Sunday. But magic, Providence, and dumb luck by their very nature resist prediction.

I will say this, if the Texans didn't take the Jets seriously in the week they had to prepare, they might well get a new hole stomped in them for at least the first half. If the Texans come out a half second slow against an angry Jets team that cares less about losing than letting the guys across from them know they've been in a fight, they could definately lose. But then that's telling us about a hidden variable intrinsic to the Texans, their players and staff are lacking in professionalism.

The other thing could be like what happened with the 9ers and the Vikings. The Vikings knew, KNEW, the 9ers like to keep their best players in for as many defensive snaps as possible, believing that good things would happen. The Vikings believed that this tendancy to avoid relieving their D-linemen could be exploited, if the Vikings could challenge them directly, and still convert enough to force them to play enough snaps to wear them out. But the Vikings are substantially more talented than the Jets on offense. In theory the Jets do have enough invested in their O-line to be pretty effective at mauling people, though this year hasn't born that out. But perhaps, the Jets could through a combination of careful study and preperation find enough that Watt, Cody or Smith hate having to deal with, and beat them up, off the field, or out of their game. If they control their own mistakes and force a close game, that advantage in 4th might spill into points.

But if the Jets could do that, would they be the basketcase we've come to enjoy? The Jets have less to work with than the Vikings and may well be facing a more complete and dangerous team than the 9ers. This article is just a reflection of that understanding.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 8:29pm

The Texans have at best average run defense and below average special teams, but they throw the ball so inordinately much better than the 49ers that there's really no comparison. If the Texans' defense disappeared off the face of the earth, they'd still have a chance against anyone in a shootout, and in reality their defense is really quite good.

by bravehoptoad :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 1:55pm

Texans commit 5 fumbles, 3 in their own territory, all recovered by the Jets. Schaub throws a pick 6 and an interception in the Jets endzone. The Jets themselves have 6 fumbles, but recover all of them.

Jets return both a kick-off return and a punt return for TDs.

Andre Johnson gets turned around and mistakenly runs the ball into his own endzone.

Jets win by 2.

edit: or what YesIUsedToBeADo said in a much funnier way.

by PirateFreedom :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 3:21pm

My favorite NFL experience is watching the Pats win.
My second favorite is watching the Jets lose.
A distant third is a close match between elite teams filled with brilliant plays ;)

Unlike, I'm assuming, most fans I'm really looking forward to tonight's game.

by greybeard :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 3:25pm

This was great film room analysis. All the all-22 images were described well. The description of the play calls and the explanation of how they were executed was exceptionally well done. It was nothing like a layman explaining the match-up to us.

by AdamCM (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 5:47pm


by Crazy Steve (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 7:29pm

This article was extremely disappointing.

If Houston is so great, show us! If the Jets are so awful, show us! "The Texans are too fine-tuned in their rolling pockets and bootlegs for most pass-rushing concepts to work" - show us! "Houston’s man coverage was played with just one safety roaming free over the top, which meant Wade Phillips had an extra pass-rusher at his disposal" - how did he use the extra pass rusher and what might the Jets do to counter it - show us! How do the Jets adjust their defense with Revis out - show us!

"We could get more elaborate in the X and O breakdown of this matchup, but what’s the point?" The point is that's what the "Film Room" section of this site is for, or so I thought. There were good tidbits of information in this article, but the elaborate X's and O's and in depth analysis is why I love the Film Room. I hope the Jets win tonight. Maybe then full effort will be given towards these articles in the future.

by Jeff88 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 4:00pm

Is it safe to say that the Texans were lucky to come out with a win? only way they won was because of JJ Watt playing out of this world! I was amazed the game was so close considering the Jets were playing without their starting 2 receivers, tight end, nose tackle, and best corner in the game. If Sanchez was able to throw the ball better to Cromartie, and if Hill didn't drop that pass from Tebow or Watt tip that pass, the outcome would have been way different!