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Texans-Broncos Preview: SIX Things To Watch For

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The serotonin in my brain is depleted. I am nothing. I’m just a consciousness floating and hovering in the same spot in the same place with no desires to do anything else. The Texans finally beat the Patriots. The thing I was dying to have happen all decade has happened. That’s the only thing that matters. That’s the only thing I care about. We’re just living in the afterglow. Let’s see it again.

Ahhh, yes, that’s the stuff. Phew. Mama I’m sweating all over again.

The ceiling fan keeps wobbling and flinging dust across the room. The blood in the wooden frame alarm clock keeps melting, coagulating, and rearranging itself. More football games have to be played. Houston can’t beat New England over and over again. We can’t just sit there in that same moment. Life is stupid. Happiness is a moment, not an attainable long lasting thing. The Texans have to play another football game.

This week it’s the Broncos. This could be the letdown game. This could be going to see Manchester By The Sea by yourself after you move out of your parents house, get the job you spent a year working for, and finally getting that great big cat to climb down from the tops of those jungle trees. Life can’t be this good. Ahhhh, yes, that’s the stuff. That’s what life is really about it. Well it was fun while it lasted. At least we’ll always have that Patriots win and that time after the pizza restaurant. There are other things to live through after you live through the thing you’ve been waiting so long for.

Anyways, the Texans are playing the Broncos tomorrow at NRG Stadium.

HIT IT.

1. GLUTTON FOR SUTTON

I’ve watched too many Broncos games this year. I was interested in Vic Fangio’s defense. The coverages are outrageous. The rolling. The man zone combinations. The matching. All of these things I have a vague understanding of and I rewind and I rewind, and continue to still barely have an understanding of. Then I see Fangio on the sideline, and wonder how this man, comes up with this stuff.


Outside he’s breathing from his mouth. Inside is a cauldron boiling with quarterback hatred. It took a while for this man to figure his defense out. He spent the beginning of the season dropping Bradley Chubb and Von Miller into coverage, and they went three games without a sack. They sacked Gardner Minshew five times. Chubb tore his ACL after they figured it out. Miller is out with a purple MCL. The best part of the Broncos is on the sideline.

They run a lot of outside zone. They’re pretty good at it. Philip Lindsay is their best running back. For whatever reason they love to give Royce Freeman as many carries as him. This changed the last two weeks. Lindsay has 30 carries compared to Freeman’s 7. Good for them.

The offensive line is fine. Dalton Risner moved to from tackle to guard, because he wasn’t a good tackle in college, and it’s worked out well. He’s like Derek Wolfe, a Call of Duty NPC, a Mountain Dew selling machine. You know 18 million hours were spent playing Halo 2? We just keep pushing ourselves farther and farther away from God. We should be on Mars. Instead we are rubbing dopamine on our attention spans. My life is wasted, but damn, look at my kill-death ratio. As long as Garrett Bolles isn’t called for four holding penalties a game, the offensive line is fine, I know this is a boring adjective, but it’s the perfect way to describe Ronald Leary. Fine.

I watched Joe Flacco throw the football. Have you ever watched Flacco throw a football? Christ. This is why people play Call of Duty instead. Who am I to shame people for how they spend their free time, and decide what feels good and what doesn’t? Have you ever shotgunned someone on Hangar? That feels good. Watching Flacco play football doesn’t. He was a statue behind an offensive line that is better at run blocking (good) than pass blocking (bad). He can’t throw downfield with any accuracy. Remember when he threw that touchdown in Denver? Remember he had a big arm and nothing else? Remember when people said he’d have a resurgence in that thin Denver air? He didn’t. ANNIHILATION. He was in the bottom of the DVOA and DYAR barrel along with those quarterbacks whose brains are being molded and sculpted still. Flacco is constantly the worst non-rookie quarterback in football. And the Broncos traded for him! I still can’t believe that.

All of this, is just to say, the best part of watching the Broncos play is Courtland Sutton. He’s a legitimate number one wide receiver. He can outrun cornerbacks down the sideline and stick passes to his shoulder with one hand. He has 906 receiving yards on 56 catches. He’s caught 6 touchdowns. The Broncos are 30th in passing offense DVOA at -15.3%. Sutton has a receiving DVOA of 19.9%. Sutton is the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars because you know, he plays for the Broncos, and the cover is a horse.

The thing Drew Lock was best at last week was throwing him the ball. Come on. Look at this catch. Surreal and absurd.

I don’t know how Houston will cover him. Romeo Crennel is a warlock. Right now he’s pouring witches’ warts into a bright green noxious bath of cream of skunk. He’s gone from playing single high, to zone, to single high and doubling Julian Edelman in the last three weeks. My guess is they bracket him with Roby. Then hang out from there.

2. PASS RUSHER

The Broncos tackles are Brontosauruses. You can hear the pound of a bass drum once each foot lands. Tremendous swaying tails. As long as they don’t get their hands on you you’ll be ok.

Enter Jacob Martin. He has 2.5 sacks. Jadeveon Clowney has 3 sacks. Guess who won that trade? Bill O’Brien is the bacon of men. He’s freaking epic! Every decision he’s made is right. Martin has almost as many sacks as Clowney. Score one for the good guys.

Martin is a legitimate pass rusher. He can chop-rip-bend-phew around slower offensive tackles. He did it against Braden Smith, who’s been spine slumping his second year. A Tasmanian devil, a tornado of juice, he can run right past tackles off the edge as well. See Marcus Cannon last week. See 1.5 sacks last week. I would have typed a film room about him, but I got friends in town. GO AWAY. I’m trying to create content. Instead this is all I got. Probably next week. Martin should have another great game.

The Texans don’t have a legitimate pass rusher aside from him. Someone tell me I was right about Whitney Mercilus in the comments. I need online validation. No one loves me. I lead a meaningless and miserable existence. His pass rushes are long and looping and take forever. He could have a pretty good game against Bolles though. Hand fighting against an unrefined blocker is his specialty, especially against a young quarterback who will hooooold onto the ball. D.J. Reader has dropped off with all that run stopping. Charles Omenihu is a fresh heart bullrusher. Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham can blitz. Crennel can craft somethings up. He can take a sparkler and a paper towel tube and turn into a rocket launcher. The point here is Crennel can manufacturer a rush sometimes, but they need a constant source of pressure to make things itchy. Martin could be this. Oh, I hope he’s this.

3. REVENGE

Roby is one of my favorite players of all time. Let’s watch it again. Damn I love this.

He’s been good in Houston. An incredible improvement at slot corner compared to Aaron Colvin. He played on the outside more against New England with Vernon Hargreaves III in the slot now that Roby has returned to the lineup. That’s cool. Maybe he’ll do the same thing this week. Roby isn’t a guy you want to be the best cornerback on a pass defense, but he’s a great cog in a machine, or a good player on a secondary with guys like Aqib Talib and Chris Harris. I wouldn’t pay CB1 $12 million a year money for him. That’s for the future. Regardless, he made one of the greatest plays in franchise history. Let’s watch it again. Damn I love this.

He used to play in Denver. Maybe he’s mad John Elway didn’t want him. Probably not. Dwelling on the past is a thing for cowards and vile hearts. Let’s watch it again. Damn I love this.

Kareem Jackson wanted to stay in Houston. Houston didn’t want him. He went to Denver. Like in Houston, he’s crappy in man coverage. He wastes too many steps, his angles are long, and now that he’s lost speed into his 30s like a Menzingers jean jacket, those wasted steps that he used to make up for are crucial. Yet when he plays zone, or is sitting as a strong safety, he’s a marauder, a murderer.

Sometimes I forget Jackson signed with Denver. Then I hear bones crack. The crowd hollers and scrambles all over each another to exit the stadium. Men are crying. I’m puking. The children don’t care because they’re on their IPODS lol’ing. Who is that!? Who did that!? I check the Broncos roster in the other tab, and realize, who else could it be, but Kareem Jackson delivering helicopter transit hospital tackles.

I miss Jackson. Houston’s run defense has dropped off without him. Justin Reid and Tashaun Gipson are fine tacklers, but they don’t take a can opener to the temple, and peel back skulls like Jackson does. He looks cool in orange. He flexes his biceps a lot. I miss him. I’m glad he’s playing well in Denver. Maybe he’ll get his revenge. Probably not. He’s a professional. There’s no anger in this. He’s just doing his job. You may take a French Press to work. Jackson takes a bag of hammers.

4. ESTABLISH THE RUN

I’m not lying. I want the Texans to ESTABLISH THE RUN this game. I’m going to turn the heater way up. I’m going to be a mop on the couch, just sweating into the crevices. I want that 2016 Houston Texans football. Lots of runs into the middle. The passing of time. Get me to 3:30 so I can go the gym and then hit the content factory.

The Broncos have a mediocre defense. They’re better against the run than the pass though. Run it at them every first down. Get those safeties to creep up. Play action doesn’t work without a great run game. The run game sets up the pass game. Now, none of this is true, but it sounds good. I just want the game to go by faster. Let’s make this preview go by faster.

5. SIDELINE CATCHING

DeAndre Hopkins was back in the slot against Stephon Gilmore last week. I get it. He catches first downs. I hate it though. I want him sideline snagging. I hate that he’s 25th in DVOA. He’s force fed short. He’s a supreme sideline threat and the Texans have gone away from that. Get him out wide. Throw him some 30 yard fades. I miss this.

Houston is going to need to score more than 27 points sometime this postseason. There goes your bubble. Throwing downfield will get them there. Even if they don’t, I guess Kenny Stills and Will Fuller can do this. I just want to see Hopkins do this more often.

6. THE ONLY THING THERE IS IS NOW, BUT ALL I WANT IS WHAT WAS

It was like the imminent arrival of Gargantuan preparations had to be made to widen the gutters of Denver and foreshorten certain laws to fit his suffering bulk and bursting ecstasies.

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Author:

Matt Weston

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