Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2010 NFL Predictions: Top 10 Things Houston Texans Fans Can Expect

The Houston Texans have received a great amount of attention from around the league this offseason with contract disputes and a crucial suspension for steroid use.

But when it’s all said and done, it’s been a positive experience for Texans fans.

It’s helped pass the time, which has been a great way to cope with the offseason pain.

But with preseason just a few weeks away, we no longer have to cope. In no particular order, here are the top 10 things Texans fans can expect this season!

VOTP, My Radio Debut

For those of you who are unaware, I’m a 17-year-old freelance sportswriter from Tuscaloosa, AL, and two weeks ago I was honored as a requested featured guest on CBS Sports Radio (SportsRadio610 KILT Houston) to talk about my predictions for the upcoming season comprised in one of my articles titled, “Houston Texans: 2010 Game-By-Game Predictions…in Limericks!”

I would like to thank each and every one of you who read the piece, as without the increasing exposure I might have not been given the tremendous opportunity.

If you would like to hear the podcast, I would be more than happy to send you a tape via email as soon as I get it from the station.

Verse of this Piece

“My father taught me and said, “Hold on to my words with all your heart. Keep my commandments and you will live. Get wisdom and understanding. Don’t forget or ignore my words. Hold on to wisdom, and it will take care of you. Love it, and it will keep you safe.”—Proverbs 4:4-6 (Proverbs 4:1-3 in previous article and verses 7-27 are expected to follow.)

I have written a verse of my own choosing (unless one was requested) with every new article I’ve presented since I began with after my 50th piece on Bleacher Report.

This is just something small to glorify my Lord and Savior. I hope this will inspire someone to step out, to speak without fear, and perhaps one day start somewhat of a trend. If you’d like to request a verse, toss a message over via inbox. God Bless!

No. 10 UPSET ALERT: Brewing Upset in Week 1 in Reliant Stadium

The Texans play host to the Colts to kick off the 2010 season. Houston has only conquered Indianapolis once in their eight year history, but has always given the Colts everything they could handle.

With King Schaub and Andre Johnson at their best, the puzzle set in place, and an invigorating crowd atmosphere, the Texans pull off the win in thrilling upset fashion. (Prediction: Texans 27, Colts 23)

No. 9 A Weekly List of Marquee Game Predictions from Cowboys and Texans Fans

Beginning in either preseason or Week 1 of the regular season, I will be conducting a weekly column unveiling NFL marquee game predictions along with a trusted panel from Cowboys and Texans fans’ perspectives.

The idea was inspired via B/R Senior analyst Terrence Robinson and the NFL Fox Pregame Show. The series will be a mix of both, but producing entirely original work and analysis, of course.

No. 8 DeMeco Ryans and Zac Diles Pick up the Slack During Cushing’s Suspension

Brian Cushing had a phenomenal NFL debut, producing 133 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 4 sacks, and 4 interceptions, along with being crowned 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year.

However, Cushing faces a four-game suspension to begin the season due to steroid use. While this could mar the defense, DeMeco Ryans is prepared to lead and take charge.

Additionally, Zac Diles has recently turned heads and plans to up his game as well. Diles will remain on the weak side instead of moving to Cushing’s spot, preventing a second adjustment, as weak side and strong side linebackers have different responsibilities.

No. 7 Retribution: “The Bonecrusher” Will Take No Prisoners Against the Chiefs

Bernard Pollard, also known as “The Bonecrusher” and “Patriot Killer,” has racked up 300 tackles, 6 forced fumbles, and 7 interceptions in his four seasons in the league.

The infamous and extremely lethal free safety reportedly has revenge in mind when his club faces Kansas City, his former team, in Week 6. You can expect this game to get pretty ugly, as the entire secondary no longer relies solely on Pollard’s performance.

No. 6 Three-Headed Monster at RB Will Succeed and Create Balance on Offense

Houston led the league in passing last season, but ranked 30th in rushing. But with the O-Line more experienced, additional offensive versatile weapons, and a three-headed monster at running back, look for more balance from the Texans in 2010.

Arian Foster performed extremely well at the end of his rookie debut and expects to resonate in an effective 1-2 punch with bouncing-back Steve Slaton to start the season.

Ben Tate will then shortly join the crew, pushing the pile, and breaking for big runs. Look for 900-1,200 yards from the tough trio.

No. 5 Fortified Pass Rush Will Improve the Look of the Secondary

Mario Williams has started every game in his four seasons in the NFL, producing over 200 tackles, 39.5 sacks, and 9 forced fumbles.

But to the surprise of most, Williams was outperformed by the death-defying duo in Antonio Smith and rookie Connor Barwin in the first year in Houston on the other side.

Moreover, Amobi Okoye will have aided help from rookie Earl Mitchell in the middle of the defensive front. Additional pass rush will come from Xavier Adibi and Zac Diles.

Bottom line—the added depth, talent and experience will ameliorate the overall success of the run defense and pass rush.

This will take away less of the pressure on second-year corner Glover Quinn, rookie Kareem Jackson, who I know will exceed expectations, and Bernard Pollard, who will rip your head off, if you’re not careful.

No. 4 Seven Texans Players to 2010 Pro Bowl

On offense, one of two exterior linemen will join Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. The competition is between the very athletic and dependable Eric Winston and Duane Brown, who has provided excellent protection on the blind side of Matt Schaub.

On defense, Mario Williams and Demeco Ryans are perpetual favorites and easily make their way into the Pro Bowl. Brian Cushing falls short due to the four-game suspension.

Bernard Pollard has a record year and takes the place for Cushing. Either rookie Kareem Jackson or tight end Owen Daniels finishes out the fierce tribe.

No. 3 Dominique Barber to Replace Eugene Wilson by Season’s End

Eighth-year veteran and injury-prone free safety Eugene Wilson is a solid mentor, but hasn’t brought much to the field since his days in New England.

Wilson accrued 29 tackles, 2 interceptions, and one forced fumble in eight starts last season. Filling in for the injured Wilson, Dominique Barber produced 33 tackles and 1 interception in six starts in his sophomore season.

Wilson is the projected starter, but regardless of another injury, you can expect Dominique Barber to be the new frontrunner by the end of the season, at the latest.

No. 2 .500 or Better Winning Percentage Against Divisional Opponents

Finishing second in its division didn’t come by beating its divisional opponents last season, as the Texans crashed into unchartered waters with a 1-5 record.

But this season their division tests aren’t all lined up beside each other, avoiding the bad four-game losing streak. The Texans accomplish the must-win against the Colts in Week 1, pounce on the Jaguars in the middle of November, and hold onto a 4th quarter lead to get past the Titans in Week 12.

This grants the Texans a solid as pudding 3-3 record against their division opponents.

No. 1 First Ever Playoff Birth

The Texans joined the league in 2002, and like a persistent drunk, they’ve continuously been knocking on the door, without acknowledging that it was unlocked the entire time.

This season the Texans have all the pieces in place, and proceed into the postseason door for the first time in franchise history.

Albeit there’s some arduous competition against the NFC East, along with the Jets and Ravens, the AFC West will provide some relief.

Many pundits will be in shock with the amount of success to come, as Houston takes the fifth seed with a record from between 10-6 to 12-4, with 11-5 the most likely outcome.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

2010 NFL Preview: Top 10 AFC South Impact Rookies in 2010

Last month I conducted a directory on the top 10 NFL rookies who I felt had the most simultaneous potential to become legendary superstars and derailing draft busts.
Now, despite the fact that another writer covered this same story, I’m back via a much-needed youth trip to the Gulf, inspired, completely invigorated, and ready to take on the task with a refreshing twist.

While it’s no secret it that often takes more than one season for a star to rise to fame and a failure to plummet to shame, rookies have been known to make an early impact.

Even the lesser impact frequently becomes influential. So without further adieu, I present the top 10 rookies from the AFC South division who are most ready to resonate.

VOTP, Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mentions

RB LeGarrette Blount, Titans

OLB Rennie Curran, Titans

WR/PR/KR Trindon Holiday, Texans

TE Garrett Graham, Texans

CB Kevin Thomas, CB, Colts

Verse of this Piece

“Happy is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gets understanding. Wisdom is worth more than silver; it brings more profit than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you could want is equal to it. With her right hand wisdom offers you a long life, and with her left hand she gives you riches and honor.” —Proverbs 3:13-16

I have written a verse of my own choosing (unless one was requested) with every new article I’ve presented since I began with after my 50th piece on Bleacher Report.

This is just something small to glorify my Lord and Savior. I hope this will inspire someone to step out, to speak without fear, and perhaps one day start somewhat of a trend. If you’d like to request a verse, send me a message via B/R.

No. 10 Dorin Dickerson (WR, Texans)

The Houston Texans found a completely earth-shattering steal in the seventh round of last April’s draft with the extremely versatile and athletic Dorin Dickerson.

Having played in several positions on both sides of the football, Dickerson will have a loose chain and very few limitations.

Albeit it’s likely he’ll breakout later on in his career, his charismatic versatile abilities could launch him down the same path as Julian Edelman, who was also a 7th-round pick.

No. 9 Myron Rolle (SS, Titans)

Rhode scholar Myron Rolle rolls into the National Football League with heavy doubts.

Like many, I don’t expect the seventh-round-pick to start right away, but he’s in good hands, groomed by an additional former Seminole in safety Chris Hope.

The sky is the limit for Rolle and he should have his opportunity to shine by season’s end.

“This is the perfect example of how brains mixed with athletic ability are the best combination in sports.”—AFC Team Leader, Assignment Desk Editor and Bleacher Report Senior Writer Daniel Wolf

No. 8 D’Anthony Smith (DT, Jaguars)

D’Anthony Smith wasn’t a great selection at first glance, but beneath the surface, he was a perfect third-round snag for the Jags.

He’s quick, explosive, and very disruptive. Moreover, he pushes the pocket well, has a high motor, good character, and is a team leader.

He won’t start immediately, but should have a promising impact in an effective rotation in the revamped defensive front.

No. 7 Damian Williams, WR, Titans

In an effort to help prevent Kenny Britt from being trapped in double coverage and one-dimensional attack, the Titans brought in third-round-pick Damian Williams.

While Williams won’t breakout with 70 catches, he should reel in around 35, all the while illustrating supreme route running and solid playmaking ability.

This should further diversify the offensive gameplan and force the opposition to respect the pass.

No. 6 Pat Angerer, LB, Colts

Pat Angerer: The name implies high levels of intensity, anger and aggression, all of which Pat Angerer possesses. Some analysts say Angerer is slightly undersized to play middle linebacker.

“What Angerer might not have in size, he makes up for with great instincts. He is a good run defender and very effective in pass coverage…”—Bleacher Report’s Bret Feddern

“A lot of good defensive players in the history of the game that weren’t quite good enough or fast enough ended up having ten or 12-year careers and Pat [Angerer] could end up being one of those guys,” said NFL Network’s Paul Burmeister.

No. 5 Jerry Hughes, DE, Colts

Jerry Hughes is expected to make an immediate impact with the Colts.

Though Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are still elite defenders and provide one of the top defensive line tandems in the league today, injuries hit without warning.

In addition, nothing hurts an opposing offensive line and signal caller more than a deft, fluctuating alternation, continuously bringing in phenomenal players with fresh legs.

No. 4 Derrick Morgan, DE, Titans

A major abyss has to be filled with the loss of Jevon Kearse and Kyle Vanden Bosch. Derrick Morgan is the man for the job, as he brings toughness, elusiveness, aggression, and so much more to the equation.

Morgan has a very promising future and I only suspect an instant impact with an abounding career for years to come.

No. 3 Ben Tate, RB, Texans

The Texans led the league in passing last season, and yet the receiving corps is even stronger.

However, Head Coach Gary Kubiak’s top priority this offseason was upgrading the running game, and he believes Ben Tate could have an immediate impact.

While Tate had some injuries, he comes off a stellar senior year at Auburn, accumulating 1,362 yards on 263 carries for a 5.2 average, with 10 touchdowns.

“The Texans are optimistic Steve Slaton will have a nice bounce-back season and they like everything they’ve seen from Arian Foster. And then there’s Tate, who could make a position of weakness one of strength,” according to Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice.

Expect to be blown away by a successful three-headed monster in second-year pro Arian Foster, the new and improved, no longer fumble and injury-prone Steve Slaton, and the very complimentary bell cow rookie Ben Tate.

No. 2 Tyson Alualu, DT, Jaguars

Questions still remain on what went through the minds in the Jaguars’ organization when they made the immense reach for Tyson Alualu with the 10th pick overall, as well as which system will be run on defense.

This will determine whether Alualu lines on the outside in a 3-4 or inside in a 4-3.

However, his excellent mindset and outstanding skills set will impede the bleeding that took place on the Jaguars’ defensive front in ’09, and I can tell he’ll quickly become a star.

And that to me is as clear as the Mediterranean Ocean.

No. 1 Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama

First-round corner Kareem Jackson comes in as Dunta Robinson’s replacement and now joins forces with another former Tide defender and NFL superstar in the making in DeMeco Ryans.

Jackson possesses excellent leadership, toughness, quickness, a winner mentality, and the experience in a resembling pro system to be an ample influence in Week One.

While Jackson won’t be winning battles with Larry Fitzgerald in his first season, don’t count out the possibility soon enough, as he duels it out with Andre Johnson in practice.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010 NFL Predictions: Houston Texans Game-By-Game Limerick Edition

The Houston Texans come off their first winning season in their eight-year franchise history and are poised for a playoff run in 2010.

In fact, many have projected the Texans as a 2010 dark horse Super Bowl contender, and for good reason.

You may be surprised to know that despite analysts’ perennial projections suggesting Houston would make the postseason I never caved, until now.

The following list uncovers my charismatic 2010 game-by-game predictions for the Houston Texans in a creative limerick formation.

Adamant Track Record, VOTP

Albeit I don’t hold a magic eight ball, I have a great track record with football predictions.

While I’ll be the first to admit I’ve missed many games, as all savvy bold risk takers do, there’s a much longer list of ground-breaking upsets and earth-shattering blowouts I predicted that everyone else doubted that inevitably came to pass.

Verse of this Piece

“When you are arrested, don’t worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given the things to say. It will not really be you speaking but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”—Matthew 10:19-20

I have written a verse of my own choosing (unless one was requested) with every new article I’ve presented since I began with after my 50th piece.  This is just something small to glorify my Lord and Savior.

I hope this will inspire someone to step out, to speak without fear, and perhaps one day start somewhat of a trend. If you’d like to request a verse, send me a message.

Last Segment Before Predictions: The Assiduous Fortifications That Will Lead to Playoff Birth

King Matt Schaub had great protection in front of him as he led the league with a passing frenzy in ’10, and yet, the receiving corps is even stronger.

In addition, the running game has seen repairs with Steve Slaton returning healthy and receiving aid with second-year veteran Arian Foster and complimentary rookie Ben Tate.

On defense, albeit Brian Cushing serves a four-game suspension, DeMeco Ryans and Zac Diles are more than capable of picking up the pace during the absence.

At corner, Kareem Jackson is in for a breakout rookie season opposite the very promising second-year cornerback Glover Quinn, with the infamous safety Bernard Pollard, also known as “The Bonecrusher” and “Patriot Killer” ready to annihilate the opposition.

And despite superstar status, Mario Williams was outperformed last season by the terrific tandem that aligned adjacent in teammates Connor Barwin and Antonio Smith.

Losing five games by seven points or less in ’09 was very costly, but with the improvements in every phase listed above, as well as the fortifications not mentioned in special teams, it appears the issue will vanish by the seems. Here we go…

Week 1, Sept 12—vs. Indianapolis, 1:00pm

The Colts are a perpetual division leader,

A team Houston has only once conquered

But where there’s a will, there’s a way

And in Week One, the Texans find their say

Utilizing the invigorating crowd and great teamwork to shake-up their predecessor

Prediction: Houston 27, Indianapolis 23

Week 2, Sept 19—at Washington, 4:15pm

The Redskins have vastly progressed since last December

And look to be on the rise, come September

However, the Texans enter in boiling

While Washington, after a loss to Dallas, begins deteriorating, before improving

The Texans are more talented top-to-bottom and win in a painstaking manner

Prediction: Houston 27, Washington 17

Week 3, Sept 26—vs. Dallas, 1:00pm

The annual Dallas-Houston clash in 2010 is sure to be interesting

This, especially considering…

They face off undefeated, both as explosive powerhouses

While I’d love to say Houston will come out victorious,

Dallas has the stronger arsenal at the time of this faceoff….I’m thinking

Prediction: Dallas 24, Houston 21

Week 4, Oct 3—at Oakland, 4:05pm

Last season Houston blew Oakland apart, 29-6

But the Raiders seemed to have finally found their niche

However, one good offseason isn’t enough

To suddenly turn a weak team all that tough

The Texans take the wheel, and advance comfortably

Prediction: Houston 28, Oakland 13

Week 5, Oct 10—vs. N.Y. Giants, 1:00pm

The Giants were perceived as on top of the world

With a 5-0 start, but had only beaten cinnamon twirls (new reference to cupcake teams)

Then self-destructed suddenly

Suffering a downhill eradication, falling aimlessly

And in ’10 are faced with even a tougher schedule

Now, with Brian Cushing’s return

The Texans put up (until the final seconds) a surprising massacre

Prediction: Houston 35, N.Y. Giants 20

Week 6, Oct 17—vs. Kansas City, 1:00pm

A snoozer on the surface, this game could become exhilarating

Kansas City has a lethal backfield with great versatility

While Houston uses more than its fair share of frequent flyer miles

This looks to be the game annual NFL game I visit, and I’ll be all smiles

Albeit the Giants are a better team, the Chiefs will show more hostility

Prediction: Houston 31, Kansas City 16

Week 8, Nov 1—at Indianapolis—Monday Night, 8:30pm

After a bolt from the blue in Week 1

The Colts come back with fire

As Manning defeats his successor

Under the lights, on the first night in November

In a passing frenzy and crowd-pleasing overtime thriller

Prediction: Indianapolis 31, Houston 28

Week 9, Nov 7—vs. San Diego, 1:00pm

Coming in 5-2, after the loss to the Colts

The Texans face an intriguing test (on my 18th b-day) against the Bolts

Still presumably without OT McNeil and WR Vincent Jackson

The Chargers don’t look so super, losing in upset fashion

But still at the end of the wire, giving Houston a sure mouthful

Prediction: Houston 26, San Diego 16

Week 10, Nov 14—at Jacksonville, 1:00pm

Jacksonville comes off a bye week 3-5,

While Houston prepares to thrive…

With revenge from losing twice in ’09 to the Jags

David Garrard begins to feel the pressure, losing his swag

Allowing mass destruction, as the team takes a dive

Prediction: Houston 23, Jacksonville 10

Week 11, Nov 21—at N.Y. Jets, 1:00pm

The Jets are fierce and climbing the ladder

Houston’s pass-heavy offense takes on a defense that might actually be superior

This re-match from last year is sure to go down to the wire

Leading up to the final possession, with the Jets producing fire

As they pull it out in slugfest barn-burner

Prediction: N.Y. Jets 17, Houston 14

Week 12, Nov 28—vs. Tennessee, 1:00pm

On a weekly basis, Chris Johnson and Vince Young tend to play very well

In Reliant Stadium, they tend to excel

However, this is where Houston picks up the pace

Beginning to find their grace and postseason face

Holding off a solid lead in the 4th quarter to prevail

Prediction: Houston 28, Tennessee 21

Week 13, Dec 2—at Philadelphia—Thursday Night, 8:20pm

A cold December night with probable snow

On a short week, with possible blizzard implications to show

This is the weather the Eagles bestow

And the type the Texans loathe

But somehow pull out with a final kick at the close

Prediction: Texans 20, Eagles 17

Week 14, Dec 13—vs. Baltimore—Monday Night, 8:30pm
Another tough Bird battle for Houston under the lights

As Baltimore comes in red hot with a ton of fight

Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Anquan Boldin

Versus Schaub, Mario Williams, Demeco Ryans, a RB trio, and Andre Johnson

Makes for a duel that’s sure to turn thriller and emit dynamite

Prediction: Houston 34, Baltimore 30

Week 15, Dec 19—at Tennessee, 1:00pm

After concluding the night game tour on national television

The Texans return to a normal schedule, ready for another test in their division

The Titans come in 7-6, not completely dead

Still alive, but hanging on by just a needle on a thread

With the season on the line, buoyant Young and Johnson temporarily prolong the expedition

Prediction: Tennessee 27, Houston 20

Week 16, Dec 26—at Denver, 4:05pm

If any team in the NFL is a dark horse, it’s the Broncos

They’re a conundrum and their season works like a stack of dominos

Without Brandon Marshall, Houston should dominate through the air

But both teams will force you out of your chair

On both sides of the ball with a fanatical versatile combo

Prediction: Houston 37, Denver 28

Week 17, Jan 2—vs. Jacksonville, 1:00pm

“If they had overcome the Jags just once last season…

They would have made the playoffs”

A common reference and this time it was a great payoff

But Jacksonville comes in having choked all season

But with the first Wildcard spot secure

The Texans rest most of their starters

As, in Week 17, they feel only a slight meaningless cough

Prediction: Jaguars 24, Texans 17


There you have it, entering in as the fifth seed

The Texans end the regular season 11-5, that’s the deed

How the playoffs go is to be determined

But I wouldn’t put anything past them

Sure, some of the limerick rules were bent, but what’s the need (to follow exactly)?

After all, Hank Aaron held his bat amiss

But I got down the fundamentals, so don’t dis’

Anyways, performed by the very inspiring Phillip Chbeeb (below)

A Houston native, writer, and dancer (is a recent video)

That helped initiate the idea to produce the article in this poetic instance

So thanks for reading; let me know your thoughts!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Houston Texans 2010 Projected Offensive Depth Chart

The series in conducting the offensive, defensive and special teams projected depth charts on the four teams in the AFC South division continues with the Houston Texans.

After revealing the defensive upgrades, it’s time to unveil the Texans’ fortifications on the already high-powered offense that happened to lead the league in passing in ’09.

If Matt Schaub thought he had a copiousness of weapons in his arsenal last year, he should be thrilled with the remarkable talent that now surrounds his offense in ’10.

QB: Matt Schaub

But an exclusive interview with the Texans’ star quarterback that took place last week (which you can see here: http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=jc-schaubqa060110) uncovered that Schaub isn’t really thrilled.

As it turns out, he likes to not only keep things calm in his interviews, but also on the offense as well.

However, after watching Schaub perform in every game, putting up 4,770 yards and 29 touchdowns in ‘09, I have come to the conclusion that Matt Schaub is far from boring.

Backups: Dan Orlovsky, John David Booty

RB: Arian Foster, Steve Slaton, Ben Tate (Trio)

Albeit Steve Slaton witnessed a sophomore slump last season, he’s proven to be a very solid back, picking up 1,700-plus yards on 399 attempts for 4.3 average yards per carry with 12 TDs, and the best is yet to come.

Slaton will split time in an alternation with second-year pro Arian Foster and rookie power back Ben Tate, who is a terrific compliment to Slaton and Foster.

TE: Owen Daniels

Owen Daniels is just the pinnacle of Houston’s extraordinary depth at the tight end position.

Despite missing the final eight games of regular season with a anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, Daniels accrued 40 receptions for 519 yards and 5 touchdowns in ’09.

However, it’s recently been reported that he could miss training camp. The following list is the current competition at tight end, provided in presumable order. How they’ll all be used is yet to be determined. Backups: James Casey, Joel Dreessen, Garrett Graham, Michael Gaines, Anthony Hill

LT: Duane Brown

In 2008 Duane Brown became only the second rookie in Texans history to start all 16 games on the offensive line.

Brown did a stellar job protecting the blind side of Matt Schaub and looks to become an elite player at the position very quickly.

Backup: Rashad Butler

LG: Kasey Studdard

After Chester Pitts encountered an injury, Kasey Studdard, a former Longhorn and 6th round draft choice via the 2007 NFL Draft, stepped up and became the starter. Studdard utilized his aggression, leverage, and low center of gravity to finish the ’09 season with 14 starts.

Backups: Wade Smith, Shelley Smith

C: Chris Myers

Analogous to Studdard, Chris Myers was also drafted in the 6th round. Conversely, Myers was chosen by the Denver Broncos in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Replacing an injured Tom Nalen, Myers showed off his versatility, shifting from guard to center and making his debut in every game of the ’07 season.

But since then he was traded to Houston ironically in exchange of a 6th round draft pick in 2008, and he has done very well, receiving 43 consecutive starts at center.

RG: Rotation—White, Brisiel, Caldwell

At this point during OTAs, Antoine Caldwell has lined up as the starter to begin the 2010 season. However, Mike Brisiel, along with Wade Smith, who is battling for the spot at left guard, is lurking in the background.

“It’s going to be a very competitive situation throughout camp, and it’ll be interesting to see if [Antoine] Caldwell, Chris [Myers], and [Kasey] Studdard can hold these guys off,” Head Coach Gary Kubiak told the Houston Chronicle.

RT: Eric Winston

Eric Winston is a very athletic and versatile consistent and extremely dependable offensive tackle. In 2007 Winston received the honors as a member of the USA Today AFC All-Joe Team and has now started the last 55 successive games for the Texans.

Backup: Adam Stenavich

WR1: Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson not only comes off a year of erecting his career best nine touchdowns for a single-season, but along having blown past 100 receptions with over 1,500 yards for the second consecutive season.

He’s potent enough to regulate as a possession receiver inside and expeditious enough to obliterate defenses with big plays on the outside.

Backups: Andre Davis, Jacoby Jones

WR2: Kevin Walter

Eighth-year veteran Kevin Walter spent his first three seasons in Cincinnati, where he reeled in 30 catches for just short of 300 yards and 1 touchdown.

However, once Walter made the move to Houston, he became the No. 2 receiver, and has since turned to his numbers to full throttle, charging up 225 receptions for over 2,750 yards, and 15 touchdowns in his pro career, with more of the same to follow.

Backups: David Anderson, Glenn Martinez, Dorin Dickerson

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Houston Texans: Top Five Candidates to Fill Corner Dunta Robinson's Shoes

The Houston Texans came up just a hair short of the postseason in ’09. Now, after assiduously fortifying the roster in every phase, they’re envisioned by a wide majority as a sure playoff competitor and even a dark horse Super Bowl contender for 2010.

Cornerback Dunta Robinson was a major attribute in aiding the Texans’ secondary, but was released in the offseason after having spent his first six seasons with the team.

Contrary to public opinion, I believe the release was the right move for the Texans. The following chart shows Robinson’s statistics over the years in Houston.

2004 Stats: 16 Starts, 16 Games, 87 TAK, 6 INT, 3 FF, 3 SCK (Rookie Year)

2005 Stats: 16 Starts, 16 Games, 88 TAK, 1 INT, 1 FF, 1 SCK

2006 Stats: 16 Starts, 16 Games, 82 TAK, 2 INT, 1 FF

2007 Stats: 9 Starts, 9 Games, 34 TAK, 2 INT

2008 Stats: 6 Starts, 11 Games, 38 TAK, 2 INT

2009 Stats: 16 Starts, 16 Games, 64 TAK, 1 FF

While injuries did come into play, and he was matched up against elite receivers, his numbers and overall performance clearly went south.

So now the question remains, who will take his place? This assignment uncovers the top five candidates to fill his shoes.

No. 5: Fred Bennett, CB

Like Dunta Robinson, Fred Bennett had his best year in his rookie debut with 62 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles in 8 starts.

His performance has seen an obvious decline, but he’ll still have one last opportunity to emerge as a solid, meticulous valued team contributor.

No. 4: Dominique Barber, FS

Dominique Barber improved his status last season receiving six starts by filling in for injury-prone free safety Eugene Wilson.

Barber reeled in 33 tackles and one interception. He shows signs of great potential ahead, as he enters his third season in the league.

He won’t start right away, but he’s sure to pick up some playing time, and could easily exceed expectations with exceptional growth.

No. 3: Glover Quinn, CB

Fourth-round pick Glover Quinn comes off a marvelous rookie year with 68 tackles in 12 starts. While his turnover column was empty, he’s been molded extremely well and has the skills set to unleash absolute havoc in his sophomore season with new additions.

No. 2: Bernard Pollard, SS

Bernard Pollard has served up 300 tackles, 7 interceptions, and 6 forced fumbles.

He’s already been given the infamous titles, “The Bonecrusher,” and “Patriot Killer,” and is one the most feared safeties in the league.

Pollard comes off a stellar first year with the Texans, and looks to have an incredible 5th season with aided help in the secondary.

No. 1: Kareem Jackson, CB

Rookie and first-round pick Kareem Jackson is the top candidate to seal the major abyss created with the release of Dunta Robinson.

He has excellent leadership, quickness, toughness, a winning mentality, and the experience in a pro system to quickly become an ample influence and brilliant asset in Week 1.

Other Possible Candidates

Jacques Reeves, Antwaun Molden, Eugene Wilson, second year veterans Troy Nolan and Brice McCain, and rookies Sherrick McManis and Nick Polk are the remaining possible, but unlikely candidates to fill Dunta Robinson’s shoes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The 10 Biggest Boom and Bust Probable Players From the 2010 NFL Draft

Few players have the infamous draft bust status and are stuck forever on the Wall of Shame. An even smaller minority are reminisced in the Hall of Fame.

There’s an obvious massive gap of players somewhere in between.

But I have taken on the challenge, conducting a list of 10 rookies that have the most simultaneous potential to become legendary superstars and doomed draft busts in alphabetical order.

In either case, they’ll receive coherent attention, and it could be a very positive motivation, paving the way to become the next Dan Marino or Jerry Rice.

On the other side, the boasted spectacle might backfire, turning what could have been a meticulous valuable team contributor into an unforgettable derailing draft bust, joining the likes of Ryan Leaf, Brian Bosworth, and Charles Rogers.

While I may miss the mark on a few, at least it won’t come at the expense of wasted millions, years of regret, and wrenching heartache.

1. Tyson Alualu, DT (Jaguars)

Tyson Alualu was an immense reach to be taken with the 10th overall pick, especially by a run-of-the-mill franchise.

In spite of this, Alualu has the potential to severely alleviate the bleeding that took place last season on the Jaguars’ defensive front.

He has the skills set and an excellent mindset to become an elite NFL player. It all depends on whether he can handle the pressure, and my gut suggests he’ll flourish.

2. Eric Berry, S (Chiefs)

Often considered the second coming of Ed Reed, Berry has a dangerous blend of terrific instincts, excellent ball skills, mind-blowing quickness and a hard-hitting truck-like ability.

While it’s very uncommon for a safety to be taken in the top five, Berry has the undeniable God-given talent and potential to become an all-time great.

3. Sam Bradford, QB (Rams)

Sam Bradford suffered a right shoulder injury in the first game of the ’09 season against Brigham Young, one play after becoming Oklahoma’s all-time leading passer.

Bradford returned to the field three weeks later against Baylor, but witnessed a season-ending injury to the same shoulder just a week later in the Red River Rivalry game.

There’s no question he has great leadership, accuracy, and quick delivery, but a potentially injury-prone first-overall-pick going to the worst team in the NFL doesn’t make for a good recipe, at least on paper.

4. Dez Bryant, WR (Cowboys)

Dez “Diva” Bryant found his wish granted when he was drafted by nearby Dallas.

Bryant is a standout receiver with cunning abilities and unlimited potential. However, his yearning for the spotlight could go amiss, making him the next Terrell Owens, but without the playing time. Miles Austin can help guide him the right direction.

5. Anthony Davis, OT (49ers)

Corresponding to Dez Bryant, Anthony Davis is also a significant risk for character issues. Head Coach Mike Singletary has illustrated he’s not tolerating distractions, so I have a feeling Davis will overcome adversity, and become a great addition on the opposite side of rookie Mike Iupati.

But it’s likely to be a bumpy ride along the way.

6. Joe Haden, CB (Browns)

Merge together Joe Haden’s striking physicality, great instincts, terrific ball skills, and outstanding ability in jamming receivers and you may have the next Champ Bailey.

However, Haden lacks ideal size, needs work on tackling, and dealt with performance issues at the Combine.

In addition, he heads to a team with a bad draft history, a secondary that offers little help, and a division that is home to Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Antonio Bryant, and Chad Ochocinco, and that’s just to name a few.

7. Ryan Matthews, RB (Chargers)

Ryan Matthews is explosive, elusive, and extremely productive.

But he played college in the WAC at Fresno State, which is a conference that’s jam packed with powerhouse offenses, but non-existent, abysmal defenses.

In addition, Matthews was a huge stretch, taken with the 12th pick overall, especially considering he would have still been avaliable in the latter part of the first round since teams like Houston had more important needs address like the secondary.

Furthermore, he has little to no experience in the passing game, which is a large component that seems to be fading away by the second with Vincent Jackson expected to miss the first 10 games of the regular season.

I could be later proven wrong, but the cons significantly outweigh the pros at this time.

8. C.J. Spiller, RB (Bills)

C.J. Spiller can’t carry the Bills with 20-25 carriers per game, but he’s a tremendous situational big-play home run threat.

He resembles Reggie Bush and Felix Jones, but brings potentially even more versatility and exuberance to the equation.

While he won’t have great protection in front of him, and albeit I can’t envision stardom quickly in the road ahead, Spiller should prove to be very successful as a versatile and lethal asset in a deadly trio, should Marshawn Lynch stay in Buffalo.

9. Tim Tebow, Wildcat QB (Broncos)

He didn’t play in an NFL-friendly system in college and he’s not all that accurate. He begins his career with a chip on his shoulder and he’s an obvious experimental project. These are the negatives that stack up against Tim Tebow.

However, Tebow plays with a ton of heart and passion. He’s very versatile, deceptively quick and elusive, fearless in the pocket, and a tremendous leader on and off the field.

While it’s likely he won’t start right away, it’s evident that he will earn playing time at some point this season, and you can be sure it will electrify the crowds with something completely extraordinary.

Hands down, this will go down as either the dumbest or smartest move by a head coach in NFL History. I don’t see a place in between in this case.

10. DeMaryius Thomas, WR (Broncos)

DeMaryius Thomas has very similar attributes to Tim Tebow. They have excellent work ethic, superb leadership, terrific athleticism, amazing versatility, are great additions for the locker room, and both come from a wacky offensive system in college.

Not only is Thomas a lower risk than Tebow, but he was also projected to go late in the first round.

But just like Tim, DeMaryius Thomas has a ton of pressure, as he tries to fill Brandon Marshall’s place.

This will likely force him to plummet down the toilet, or allow him to quickly triumph, vastly exceeding expectations.