Friday, September 24, 2010
Final Word: AFC South
By Paul Kuharsky
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 3:
Keeping a balance: The Texans won their first game largely thanks to the run and their second mostly because of the pass. If they can do both with some semblance of balance, it would benefit them greatly against a desperate Dallas team. Balance usually means an offense can be patient, and the more Houston can be patient, the more likely the Cowboys are likely to press.
Another big game from running back Arian Foster could give Houston the balanced attack it will need against Dallas.
Sound tackling: I’m not so sure Michael Vick has been as incredible as the Eagles are saying. Certainly he’s dangerous and how he does against the Jaguars will garner giant attention Sunday. Jacksonville’s secondary has holes, but they shrink if the pass rush is good. The question to me is sure tackling. Jack Del Rio pledged this would be a better tackling team than last year. One of the major culprits, Reggie Nelson, is gone. If the Jaguars can limit yards after the catch and big runs after contact, they could surprise some people in the team’s second non-blackout of the season.
Two tights or three wide: The Colts ran it far better last week with Brody Eldridge playing quite a bit as a second tight end doing a lot of blocking work. Denver has only two sacks and is allowing 4.5 yards a carry. Do the Colts feel like their line can hold up without much help, allowing them to attack with three wide receivers? Or do they use Eldridge a lot to ensure their best chances running it? Test the Broncos and see, I say. If the Broncos can’t be disruptive or stop the run against three wides, the Colts can use either grouping virtually whenever they like and reduce any predictability.
Bounce back ability: Adversity hits all NFL quarterbacks to some degree every year. How they bounce back is usually the big indicator about how effective they can be. Vince Young got benched last week and Wednesday said he still didn’t know why. I guess he doesn’t have to know why, he just has to know how not to get benched again. He’s got to prove he’s the long-term guy, and a good showing against the Giants could do much to help the cause.
The Texans have to be wary of over-pursuit: Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders says the Cowboys ran more draws than any other offense in 2009. Houston was the league's worst defense against draws last year, allowing an average of 7.6 yards per carry. We talked about the Texans' ability to be patient on offense. They’ve got to do the same on defense to avoid getting burned by run plays that need a bit of time to develop.