Texans should find pressure without blitz

September, 8, 2011
9/08/11
6:21
PM ET
Larry Zierlein coached NFL offensive lines in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Buffalo.

The name may be more familiar here because we link to his son, Lance, sometimes from a blog on the Houston Chronicle’s site.

As the Texans prepare to face the Colts, I was curious about what an O-line coach would expect Houston to do in terms of trying to pressure Kerry Collins, who’ll be working behind a less-than-proven line.

The Texans front seven is now a 3-4, and beyond Mario Williams, pass rushers like Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed and Antonio Smith should find themselves in some advantageous situations.

“In the past, it hasn’t been Wade’s nature to try to create confusion with exotic three-man line stuff like several teams are doing now," Larry Zierlein said. “I would think he would be more likely to attempt to create mismatches by moving Williams, Smith, and Barwin to different positions in his sub package. I think Smith could create some real problems inside, particularly when they twist. He seems to have a knack for coming free on twists.

“Williams may not get sacks but with his strength he can collapse the pocket and make Collins very uncomfortable. I need to see more of Barwin before I’m sold on him as a great pass rusher. He gave Joe Staley of the 49ers a lot of problems with the up and under move and, on one occasion, a stab to the chest with his inside hand. However he must also show the ability to win with an outside speed rush and I don’t know that he has that. If he doesn’t, offensive tackles will start sitting on that inside move.

“Wade will obviously dial up some blitzes and dogs but I think he will depend more on trying to create mismatches up front rather than basing it on trying to confuse a revamped offensive line.”

If the Texans see mismatches without extra rushers and can push Indianapolis around up front, Collins’ Colts debut could be ugly.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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