Wednesday, August 31, 2011

2011 Season Preview: Houston Texans

2010 Record: 6-10

2010 Rankings:
Total Offense - 3
Passing Offense - 4
Rushing Offense - 7
Scoring Offense - 9
Total Defense - 30
Pass Defense - 32
Rush Defense - 13
Scoring Defense - 29


Numerically, the Texans had one of the most prolific offenses in the league last year. However, when you look at their distribution of offense, it's pretty much just two people: Arian Foster and Andre Johnson. Foster put up over 2200 yards from scrimmage, leading the league in rushing and finishing 2nd on the team in receptions. Johnson was 5th in the league in receiving yards with 1215. Between the two of them, they accounted for over half of the team's offensive yards. Foster tweaked a hamstring in the preseason so there is some concern he might miss some time at the beginning of the year. 


If you need proof to the adage that "Offense wins games but Defense wins Championships," look no farther than the Houston Texans. To improve their league-worst pass defense was also 23rd in the league with 30 sacks last season. To change things up, Wade Phillips was brought in as the defensive coordinator and he is installing a 3-4 defense, which includes moving former #1 overall pick Mario Williams to outside linebacker. They drafted DE JJ Watt from Wisconsin and pass rusher Brooks Reed (Arizona) in the first two rounds. On the back end, they added CB Jonathan Joseph from Cincinnati in free agency to help their non-existant secondary.


The Texans defense should be better, but will they be good enough to stop an offense in the last two minutes when they need to hold on to preserve a win? This team was gashed through the air and on the ground last year, and they will need to be better on this side of the ball if they want to compete for the division crown. Every year is supposed to be "their year" to finally break through and make the playoffs for the first time. But we're still waiting on that.

If the Texans were a Beer, they would be:


This seems to be growing in popularity as a "craft beer" when in reality it's very low on the taste spectrum. I've tried most of the offerings Leinenkugel's has and to be honest, they all pretty much just taste like beer. There seems to be a lot more hype around Leinenkugel's and their different styles/flavors than there is actual differentiation between their types of beer.

2011 Season Preview: Tennessee Titans

2010 Record: 6-10

2010 Rankings:
Total Offense - 27
Passing Offense - 25
Rushing Offense - 17
Scoring Offense - 17
Total Defense - 26
Pass Defense - 29
Rush Defense - 20
Scoring Defense - 15


The Titans brought in Matt Hasselbeck to be the interim quarterback to bridge the gap until Jake Locker is ready to go. This was a good move, and with Chris Johnson in the backfield, whoever the QB is should have a fairly easy time of being able to hand off to CJ2K. They don't have a lot as far as receiving targets go, but Kenny Britt is the clear #1, as long as he can stay out of trouble with the law. Justin Gage is still hanging around and will probably score some touchdown right before halftime against the Steelers. Nate Washington is here too, and they're paying him a buttload of money to be their #3 receiver.


Tell me if you've heard this one before: the Titans groom a great defensive lineman, then he leaves in free agency. The Titans have lost most of what was one of the top defenses in the league to free agency, and are now trying to pick up the pieces with what is left. They still have a decent secondary, but their excellent pass defense was always predicated on their front 4 getting pressure so that they could drop 7 into coverage.


Lifer Mike Munchak takes over for long-time coach Jeff Fischer. Munchak played at Penn State before playing his entire professional career with the Houston Oilers then coaching for the Oilers and Titans before being named head coach. That's a pretty cool story, but he takes over a shaky situation. The team invested a TON in Chris Johnson, so it will be hard to add and keep pieces around him while they pay out his monster contract.

If the Titans were a Beer, they would be:


This is a beer you see advertised a lot via signage in bars, but it's really just a mediocre beer. As a brewery, they are pretty one-dimensional and pretty much have all their eggs in the "belgian wheat beer" basket. Similarly, you hear a lot about the Titans because of what Chris Johnson does, but besides him, there really isn't much going on here.

2011 Season Preview: Kansas City Chiefs

2010 Record: 10-6

2010 Rankings:
Total Offense - 12
Passing Offense - 30
Rushing Offense - 1
Scoring Offense - 14
Total Defense - 14
Pass Defense - 29
Rush Defense - 20
Scoring Defense - 11


On the speedy heels of Jamaal Charles and the workhorse attitude of Thomas Jones, the Chiefs led the league in rushing last year. However, there is still a lot of questions on offense for this team. The Chiefs gave Matt Cassel a huge contract, and he was efficient with a 27:7 Touchdown-to-INT ratio. His 58% completion percentage was 26th in the league, and the offense was one-dimensional. Dwayne Bowe was the only consistent target in the passing game, and the Chiefs went out and added two former WPIAL standouts Steve Breaston (Woodland Hills) in free agency and Jonathan Baldwin (Aliquippa) in the draft. Cassel will need to improve if the Chiefs are going to repeat as division champs.


The Chiefs have a good young defense that has improved since they made the switch to a 3-4. Tamba Hali has excelled as a 3-4 OLB, ringing up 14.5 sacks last year. The Chiefs need to find a bookend pass rusher for Hali as LB Mike Vrabel decided to retire after a 14 year career. They did draft LB Justin Houston (Georgia) in the 3rd round and he could be the OLB of the future across from Hali, but it remains to be seen if he's ready to go. Safety Eric Berry made the Pro Bowl as a rookie and was as good as advertised in the lead-up to the draft. 


The Chiefs were buoyed by great special teams play and a lack of turnovers. They had the second fewest turnovers in the league and this helped keep their offense on the field where they could pound teams in the run game. The distribution of carries between Charles and Jones figures to be similar this year, but the Chiefs will need to show something in the pass game to keep teams from stacking the box against them.

If the Chiefs were a Beer, they would be:

Woodchuck Cider

Exported from New England. It's a cider so it's a toned-down version of real beer. But when you get down to it, it's still tasty and will get you drunk.