Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The 2003 Houston Texans: Tremors of an actual franchise

Oh, I apologize for the lack of updating around here. Most of us are college kids going back to school. And most of us are lazy.

Stat, Ranking in NFL, Ranking in 2002
2003 DVOA: -21.1%, 29th (31st)
2003 Offensive DVOA: -12.9%, 27th (32nd), -14.4% passing, 25th (32nd), -11.4 rushing, 27th (32nd)
2003 Defensive DVOA: 10.6%, 28th (20th), 15.5% passing, 29th (17th), 6.2% rushing, 25th (21st)
2003 Special Teams DVOA: 2.3%, 8th (12th), huge contributions from both Kris Brown and Chad Stanley this year.

David Carr: 3.7 DPAR, 27th (last)
Tony Banks: 15.0 DPAR, 22nd (n/a)

Domanick Davis: 10.7 DPAR, 26th (n/a) (-8.7 DPAR as a reciever)
Stacey Mack: -0.8 DPAR, 46th (12th)
Tony Hollings: -4.5 DPAR, n/r (n/a)

Andre Johnson: 13.9 DPAR, 27th (n/a)
Jabar Gaffney: 5.7 DPAR, 44th (75th)
Corey Bradford: -6.5 DPAR, 75th (82nd)
Derrick Armstrong: 2.5 DPAR, n/r

Billy Miller: 0.8 DPAR, 26th (1st)

Offensive Line
3.68 Adjusted Line Yards, 29th (32nd)
66% Power Success, 16th (29th)
16% Carries of 10+ Yards, 15th (31st)
30% Carries Stuffed, 31st (32nd)
7.3% Adjusted Sack Rate, 25th (32nd)
And ranks running the ball to each position: Left End 20th (26th), Left Tackle 29th (32nd), Middle 31st (31st), Right Tackle 20th (32nd), Right End 25th (29th)

Defensive Front Seven
4.61 Adjusted Line Yards, 31st (18th)
64% Power Success, 13th (24th)
18% Carries of 10+ Yards, 18th (16th)
18% Stuffed, 31st (16th)
4.6% Adjusted Sack Rate, 31st (13th)
22nd, 29th, 30th, 25th, 25th (23rd, 4th, 18th, 12th, 27th)

DVOA vs #1 WR: 43.3%, 25th
DVOA vs #2 WR: 9.4%, 11th
DVOA vs Other WR: 3.1%, 13th
DVOA vs TE: 24.1%, 22nd
DVOA vs RB: 22.1%, 29th

The 2003 Houston Texans, like the 2002 squad, won it's first game of the year, shocking Miami at Dolphins/Joe Robbie/whatever stadium. This, combined with the additional win, gave the Texans a public perception of improvement, despite the fact that certain aspects of the team were falling apart.

Credit where credit is due: Zach Weigert quickly established himself as a very capable run blocking guard, bolstering the right side. Greg Randall was a terrible run blocker, but was adequate enough in pass protection to make this the best Texans season ever in terms of adjusted sack rate. Yep, 25th. Thats our highest finish as a franchise.

David Carr showed tremendous improvement, in that instead of looking like an overmatched college kid, he looked like an overmatched NFL quarterback. Stacey Mack was a bust as a free agent, but the emergence of Domanick Davis made it less painful, as he was a major Offensive ROY candidate, but eventually settling for Pepsi Rookie Of The Year (thank you Fantasy Football!). Andre Johnson was a productive wideout from day 1, easing the load on Gaffney. Billy Miller's amazing 2003 season was found out as a fluke as he shat the bed, changed the sheets, and shat on them again for good measure.

One thing that has always puzzled me about the Texans is their lack of faith in Derrick Armstrong as a wideout. He was their second best receiving option this year, and we'll come back to that point again and again.

While the offense, in general, got better, the defense had a rash of injuries. Seth Payne was lost for the year and that was a huge impact up the middle as teams ran all over Steve Martin, Junior Ioane, and the rest of the rag-tag cast of misfits the Texans were forced to run out. More than that, the loss of James Posey to the Bills really hurt the Texans laterally. They were horrendous at defending screens and horrendous at defending on sweep plays, and when you can't stop the run up the middle either, thats a sure recipe to keep the opponents on the field longer. Matt Stevens had thankfully been deposited in the nearest trash can, but Eric Brown was still around letting tight ends keep it wide open. Although he can't be blamed entirely, as the Texans have always seemed to play a LOT of zone defense to me. The rest of the secondary, led by Marcus Coleman's 7 interceptions, was once again top-heavy. Glenn seemed to decline, and the safeties were at best adequate. Marlon McCree was among them, and I'm sure Chargers fans now know why we didn't keep him.

The special teams, again the best part of the squad, was the main thing that carried them on to their close victories. Good punting and good field goal kicking kept them in games.

All these numbers are from Football Outsiders

(I've decided to seperate the offseason into it's own separate post from now on.)

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