Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 Dec 2011

ESPN: Houston's Defense

A look at how much Houston's defense has improved this season, and in what ways it has improved most.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 01 Dec 2011

5 comments, Last at 02 Dec 2011, 2:57pm by Comonman


by Mr. Guest to you (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2011 - 9:24pm

Meh. It hasn't been improved, it's been "gimmicked" by Phillips. Not unlike prior years, Houston does fine against the league's flotsam but will not beat a credible team at a consistent enough rate to threaten any playoff team.

The team is moving in the right direction but it's not there yet, regardless of what various rankings indicate.

by zuludown (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 1:43am

Cool theory, broseph.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 10:03am

Strength of schedule is unquestionably a factor (especially in the conventional rankings - there's no way the Texans defense is the best in the league) and it's probably true that this unit is better at annihilating bad offenses than slowing down elite ones, but at the same time it's insane to pretend that this isn't the best defense the Texans have ever put on the field by orders of magnitude. Could it stop Green Bay, New England or New Orleans, or win a Superbowl on its own in the style of the 2000 Ravens or 2002 Bucs? Absolutely not. But it's more than good enough to make the Texans a Superbowl contender when paired with the borderline elite offense they would have if Schaub, Johnson and Foster were ever on the field at the same time.

If you don't think the vast personnel upgrades in the secondary (Joseph has probably been the second best corner in football this year, and Quin and Manning are light years better than Pollard and Wilson) have made a real and substantial difference, or that Cushing's rediscovery of his best form and the emergence of Watt are significant factors, then I have to say I think you're crazy.

by Comonman (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 2:57pm

So speaks the probable Steelers or Cowboys fan...

If you read the article before you post, you would know that they aren't saying that the defense is number one. They are saying that adjusting for weakness of schedule they are around number seven. Now it's been a while since I graduated from college but I still think 7 is better than 32. And we would typically call that "improvement", at least in my language.

The tagline of this website includes the words "intelligent analysis". If this is all you have, please take your trolling ways over to Deadspin or some other shreiking, mindless site.

by Nashmeister :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 2:49am

Right... Because handling the run without a safety in the box, covering well, and getting to opposing QBs with four- and five-man rushes is "gimmicky".