Every week Mike Meltser and I host the pre-game show for the Texans game on Sportsradio 610 AM in Houston. You can tune in today at 9 a.m. In preparation for the show, I pull tidbits from a slew of articles and posts. I offer you a sampling from that slew.
This is five minutes of J.J. Watt mic’d up on Sound FX. It will get you hyped, man. I hit swim moves on all my living room furniture after I watched it.
Matt Weston from Battle Red Blog explains how the Texans defense somehow emerged from the swamps of south Florida to become one of the most dominating units in the league over the last four games. This is a very detailed piece of work, with plenty of entertaining GIFs and pretty arrows. Matt cites multiple factors that contributed to the turnaround, including:
- The safeties . Benching Rahim Moore and moving Andre Hal from strong safety to free safety has paid off handsomely. Eddie Pleasant has performed admirably as a dime linebacker, covering tight ends and running backs in obvious passing situations, but you haven’t needed him to do that as often because:
- The inside linebackers have improved tremendously. Post-concussion Benardrick McKinney is blossoming into an impressive young player. Brian Cushing is as healthy as he’s been in a spell, and his legs are allowing him to express all his rage. As Matt wrote, “He’s no longer a lumbering corpse. He’s a tackling maniac.”
- JJ Watt is, inconceivably–impossibly–better than ever. From the article, “ Over the last four games, Watt has accumulated 30 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 4 stuffs (tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage).” Astounding.
- “ [Kevin] Johnson has been a revelation]”. I concur. Matt also goes on to point out areas of concern that remain, including Vince Wilfork, Quintin Demps, and the lackluster pass rush from guys who aren’t J.J. Watt. This is a great read before the game, but it will still be relevant afterwards. So bookmark this mutha. Well done, Matt.
Sammy Watkins is a scary, if inconsistent, threat at wide receiver. He credits college teammate DeAndre Hopkins with helping him through the tough times. Nice article describing their relationship by Tania Ganguli at ESPN.com.
J.J. Watt has hit opposing QB’s more often than the entire Bills defensive line, and that is a well paid defensive line. Mario Williams has expressed frustration that Rex’s scheme asks defensive linemen to drop into coverage, but that really doesn’t explain why they’re still not producing when they’re involved in the pass rush. Other than Jerry Hughes, none of these guys are consistently winning one-on-one matchups.
Texans super-fan Steph Stradley peppers Buffalo News writer Tim Graham with questions about the Bills, then gives her opinion on the turnaround. I like both of these people very much. If I were some kind of power drunk overlord in a post-apocalyptic world, I would definitely spare both of their lives.
Some Bills fans want to fire Rex Ryan. Sal Maiorana of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle explains why that’s a silly idea. You might wonder why a fan base would be so quickly disenchanted with a new coach and a near .500 record. My guess is that losses to the Jaguars and narrowly beating the Titans didn’t go over very well with Western New Yorkers.