What's the holdup for the Houstons?

May, 10, 2012
5/10/12
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It’s May, and in the world of NFL coverage, that means it’s time to look at interesting factoids drowned out the roar of the league's busy season (which is a long, long period).

J. Houston
L. Houston
The fantastic minds of the Football Outsiders put together an interesting look at the defensive players who had holding calls go against the player blocking them. The statistic is called forced holds.

Two young AFC West players – Oakland’s Lamarr Houston and Kansas City’s Justin Houston (no relation) – ranked high on the list. Lamarr Houston, a second-year defensive lineman, forced seven holds, which was tied for the second-most in the NFL. Rookie linebacker Justin Houston -- who came on strong late in the season -- forced six holds, which was fourth in the NFL.

What does it all mean? Is it a special skill the Houstons possess? It is a compliment to their defensive prowess? Or it is just a coincidence that they were held against often?

I asked Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. for his thoughts on why the two forced so many holds.

“Both Houstons are very talented and both are up-and-coming players,” Williamson said. “But even more so, they played with guys that demand a ton of attention from pass-protection schemes in Richard Seymour, Kamerion Wimbley (they were in Oakland) and (in Justin Houston’s case) Tamba Hali. So, one-on-one matchups against average offensive tackles, often right tackles, could sure lead to a lot of holds.”

Whatever the reason, in the AFC West, Houston does have a problem attracting the yellow flag.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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