The Houston Texans Should Miss The Playoffs (2018)

 

Introduction

There is a mistaken assumption among NFL oddsmakers  that the Houston Texans are the biggest threat to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC South. In fact, 5Dimes has given both teams the same odds to win the division as the Texans and Jaguars are listed at +190. Unfortunately the read option offense should prevent the team from achieving the goal

Houston Texans 2017

Throughout last season, the Houston Texans have implemented the read-option offense which allows Deshaun Watson to analyze the defense and determine what play to run. For instance, Watson will receive the snap in shotgun formation and begins the process of giving the ball to the running back while paying attention to the defense.

If the linebackers/ safeties freeze to see what play the team is running or take a step forward to stop the run, he will pull the ball to throw it. This is because it is tough for the linebackers/ safeties to catch up to a receiver 5-10 yards ahead of them within a matter of seconds.

As a result, Deshaun Watson knows he will have a wide open receiver downfield or single coverage on the receiver. Therefore, he will throw an intermediate or deep pass to a receiver on a curl, out, in, corner or post route. However, If the linebackers/ safeties decide to stay back in coverage, he lets the running back have the ball and run it.

Although the offense increases the chances of significant plays happening to lead to quick scores; It opens the door for the team to have the ball for less time because of a quick touchdown, 3 and out or turnover. As a consequence of this, the defense is forced to go back on the field without the proper amount of rest.

Which led to the unit giving up more yards and points late in games because they are not able to regain some energy between possessions to be able to stop the opposing offense. In Deshaun Watson’s last 3 games prior to the torn ACL, the offense has been on the field for an average of “27:03” thus the defense was on the field for 32:57.

A Solution

Due to this, it would behoove the Houston Texans to drastically alter their offense from the read option to a heavy run and play action attack. For instance, during the first two downs of a series, Deshaun Watson will hand the ball off to the running backs in an attempt to force the opposing team to stack the box and set up a manageable third down.

If the strategy was successful, the Texans would call a play action pass where Deshaun can fake the handoff and go in the opposite direction to throw the ball to the flat or the crossing route fifteen yards downfield.

However, on occasion, Deshaun can fake the handoff to freeze the defense momentarily which allowed the receivers to get some separation as they try to complete a slant, in or out route. As a result of this, the Texans offense was able to stay on the field for a more extended period which means that the opposing team had less time to feast on their defense.

Conclusion

If the Houston Texans continue to implement the read-option offense, they will overexpose their defense causing them to lose close games. But if they alter the attack, the defense will get the proper rest between drives thus performing to their maximum potential increasing the likelihood of the team winning games.

The Washington Redskins Should Miss The Playoffs In 2017

 Over the past year,  the Washington Redskins have struggled to come up with a contract offer that would benefit them and satisfy the financial demands of Kirk Cousins. According to the team president Bruce Allen, Cousins turned down a contract extension containing $53 million guaranteed. Due to this, the team will once again have to stay away from their 2015 offense to evaluate whether Cousins asking price is reasonable.
Throughout the 2015 season, the Washington Redskins decided to implement an offensive system that was centered around the running game and the play-action passing game. For instance, during the first two downs of a series, Kirk Cousins would hand the ball off to Alfred Morris or Matt Jones in an attempt to force the opposing team to stack the box and set up a manageable third down. If the strategy was successful, the Redskins called a play action pass where Kirk would fake the handoff and go in the opposite direction to throw the ball to the flat or the crossing route fifteen yards down field. However, on occasion, Kirk would fake the handoff to freeze the defense momentarily that allowed the receivers to get some separation as they try to complete a slant, in or out route. As a result of this, the Redskins offense was able to stay on the field for a longer period, which means that the opposing team had less time to feast on their defense. In fact, according to teamrankings.com, the Redskins offense was on the field for an average of “31:29” thus the defense was only on the field for 28:31.
However, it was an entirely different story last season because the team made wholesale changes to the offensive system. This is because the organization wanted to see if he could lead the team to victory while being the focal point of the offense before giving him a big contract. As a result, the Redskins went from a run heavy offense to more of a passing offense to evaluate his decision making; and ability to make all the throws without having the running game to preoccupy the defense. For instance, the Redskins dialed back on the play action bootlegs where he would fake the handoff to the running backs and roll out in the opposite direction to hit the wide open receiver. In place of the conservative offense, they decided to call the traditional three to five step drop passing plays to gauge whether Cousins can make the right decision with the football when the defense is ready for a pass. For instance, Kirk would take a 3 to 5 step drop from under center and proceed to throw the ball to a receiver on a curl, crossing and corner routes as well as screens.
Although it is reasonable to expect a team to give their potential investment many opportunities to prove that he deserves a long term commitment at a certain point, it will affect the performance of the rest of the team. Since the team had Kirk Cousins throw the ball a lot, the offense spent less time on the field because of incompletions, interceptions, sacks or big plays that result in short drives. As a result, the defense went back on the field without the proper amount of rest which led the defense to be more susceptible to giving up yards and points. Since they would be unable regain some energy between possessions to be able to stop the opposing offense. In fact, according to teamrankings.com, the Redskins offense was on the field for an average of “29:32” thus the defense was on the field for 31:28.
In conclusion, the evaluation process to determine the future of Cousins will elevate his individual statistics but will hurt overall team success causing them to miss the playoffs.

The Philadelphia Eagles Should Miss The Playoffs In 2017

Over the past five months, the Philadelphia Eagles have been heavily praised for getting a real number one wide receiver for Carson Wentz as they signed Alshon Jeffrey. In fact, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report said on twitter that “Carson to Alshon is football porn.” Although Jeffrey joining the team seems like a move that would help them reach the playoffs, that is not the case.

Throughout last season, the Philadelphia Eagles repeatedly noticed that Carson Wentz would leave the pocket at the immediate sign of pressure. This is because Wentz was extremely focused on getting a positive result on every play that he would scramble in hopes of finding an open window to throw into or an open running lane to gain a couple of yards. However, the team knew that this tendency would put him at risk of getting hit because he was in the open field by himself which means that the defense has a wide open path to hit him. Furthermore, if he decided to throw the ball, it would most likely be an inaccurate pass because his feet are not set. As a result, the team decided to implement an offensive system that was centered around the quick passing game. For instance, the team called a substantial amount of quick passing plays that focused on slants, screens, outs, and routes to the flat. These plays take a short time to develop which means that Wentz released the ball in a short amount of time thus the defense didn’t have a chance to apply pressure.

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions – Oct 9, 2016

Philadelphia Eagles at Cincinnati Bengals – Dec 4, 2016

Therefore, Alshon Jeffrey will do more harm than good because he needs to take a few steps to build up to full speed. Due to this, I expect the team to have him run deep in, corner and streak/ fade routes to allow him to get to top speed. As a result of this, Wentz will have to hold the ball for a few extra seconds to give him the opportunity to reach full speed and complete his route. This gives the opposing team more time to apply pressure to Wentz which opens the door for him to scramble. The trickle down effect will once again put him at risk to receive additional hits or make ill-advised throws. Furthermore, the acquisition of Jeffrey will also affect the performance of the defense because if Wentz does everything mentioned above, it will result in shorter drives. As a result, the defense would have to go back on the field without the proper amount of rest which leads to the defense being more susceptible to giving up yards and points. Since they would be unable regain some energy between possessions to be able to stop the opposing offense.

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Although some people may think that the Eagles could avoid this problem by spreading the ball around. The front office and ownership will put pressure on the coaching staff to regularly throw him the ball because they want to give Jeffrey as many chances as possible to prove that signing him was a worthy investment. As a result of this, the demands from the front office and ownership should cost the team a playoff berth in 2017.