Good morning Texans fans, thank you for stopping by to check in on our ‘Morning Huddle.’ Today’s links involve the Texans approach to extra points, how the Chiefs helped one Texan become a better blocker and seven predictions for the 2015 NFL season. Enjoy;
Texans unlikely to change the way they handle extra-point attempts – by Tania Ganguli, ESPN
"In an attempt to make the extra point a little more meaningful, the NFL has moved it from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line, making an extra point essentially a 33-yard field goal. Here’s a primer on the rules from our Kevin Seifert.“The fact that they moved the extra point to the 15 and kept the two-point try at the 2, it’s not as big a change, but it’s still a change,” Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “To me where it comes into play is if you choose to kick the extra point and the defense jumps offsides. Now you can take it at the 1 and choose to go for two because it’d be half the distance to the goal line.”O’Brien’s history suggests he’s not a big gambler on that front.The Texans didn’t go for two at all last year and neither did Penn State the year before in O’Brien’s second year coaching there. O’Brien said the rule change would have been more significant had the two-point conversion moved to the 1-yard line instead of the 2."
Breakfast: #DQStrong and Eric Berry’s journey back – by John Harris, HoustonTexans.com
"Hard Knocks ended this past Tuesday, concluding what was one of the most successful runs in series history. Of course, we’re all biased in this building, but there’s little question the five episode run resonated with many throughout the country. Episode five is, annually, the one that gets everyone a bit emotional. The cuts occur to trim the roster to 53 as we all wait with baited breath to see whether the personalities we’ve all grown to love make the squad. There isn’t anyone that wants to see his/her guy get that call to meet with the GM and head coach. Ugh, so tough to watch.But, to me, the most gut-wrenching moment occurred in episode four when head coach Bill O’Brien informed David Quessenberrythat he was going to placed on the Non-football Injury list, ending any hope of playing in 2015. “DQ” fought cancer and won. He stared it down, went through unending rounds of chemo and beat it. He’d been working out with the training staff for the past few weeks and he’s rounding back into the body that many of us remember him having when he arrived as a fresh faced rookie in 2013. He’s currently in remission and working his tail off to get back on the field sooner rather than later.When O’Brien told David what the team had planned, it was obvious that it hit DQ like a punch to the gut. All the guy did was beat cancer. Beating the Chiefs or the Jags or the Colts was nothing but the next challenge in his mind. He wanted to be on the field playing his game. He never questioned the decision and he’s more resolute than ever to get back on the field. It’s been a long time since he’s put the pads on.He made the 2013 roster and injured his foot days before heading to San Diego for the team’s opening game, which cost him his rookie season. Then, lymphoma ravaged his body during OTAs in 2014, which forced him to fight for his life, much less a roster spot. No one can truly understand what Quessenberry has been through over the past 16-18 months.Except for one guy that’ll wear red on Sunday.Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry was diagnosed in the fall with lymphoma after he noticed a mass in his chest just following a Thursday game v. the Raiders. After he was diagnosed, I recalled a get well/inspirational message that David sent to Berry through social media.Berry will be back in the lineup on Sunday for the Chiefs after a winter/spring full of treatments and recovery, as it’s been an emotional whirlwind for him with the reception he’s received throughout the league in the pre-season."
Texans TE Ryan Griffin’s blocking improved after 2013 Chiefs game – by Tania Ganguli, ESPN
"He hated watching the film.After the Houston Texans played the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, Ryan Griffin, then a rookie tight end and part of the Texans’ infamous 2013 draft class, was forced to watch film of an unflattering play.“I tried to do like a down block on a five-technique who was about 310 pounds,” Griffin said. “I just took a step down and got blown back. There was no gain. I remember watching the film after the game, I was like, ‘Something’s gotta change. I’m not gonna get drive on this 300-pound guy, but I’ve gotta hold my ground.'”The film session revealed one undisputable truth. If he wanted to keep being an NFL tight end, that kind of play couldn’t happen again. Griffin took that message seriously.“I’m still here,” he said. “It’s either get better or you’re not gonna be here. It’s out of necessity.”Griffin got better. What was once one of his weaknesses became a big part of why he’s getting more opportunities in a Texans’ offense that needs its tight ends to be well-rounded. Blocking NFL defenders wasn’t Griffin’s forte at first, but he’s grown that part of his game."
O’Brien Quotes: September 11 – HoustonTexans.com
"Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien(on the week of practice) “I think it’s been good. These guys have worked hard. We had to go inside today because of the weather, but I thought they were sharp today, focused. We got a good bunch of guys. They practice hard, and they’ll go out there and they’ll play hard.”(on the new extra point distance and if they use a mathematic formula or feeling to decide what to do) “Well I think there’s a little bit of both and we’ve put a lot of thought into that. I think that, first of all, I answer it this way, if they had changed the two point to the one yard line, that would have been a huge change. The fact that they moved the extra point try back to the 15 and kept the two point try at the two is not as big of a change, it’s a still a change though. To me, where it comes into play is if you chose to kick the extra point and the defense jumps offside. Now you can take it at the 1 and choose to go for two if you want to do that because it would be half the distance to the goal line. I think that’s part of the study that we did. I think a little bit of the study is statistical analysis that we’ll see as the year goes on and then some of it is feel, what do you need in the game, where are you at in the game. As far as going for two, I would tell you that we really don’t think too much about that until the fourth quarter unless it’s something that we think is just kind of an oddity during the game that we feel like we’d have to do that. But we do put a lot of thought into it, so that’s just some thoughts on it.”(on seeing the new extra point setup in the preseason) “Well, we tried it. We went for two a few times. We tried to put some of our two point plays out there and see how they would look. Obviously I wouldn’t say that those would be the ones we would run in the regular season. We’re a game plan offense, so that was part of it. But I think overall Randy (Bullock) has kicked well and he’s kicked well from obviously the 15 yard line. We feel good about our kicking game and we’ll see how it goes, we’ll have to see how it goes on Sunday.”(on QB Brian Hoyer only being focused on football and family during the season, and if he likes Hoyer’s single-minded focus) “Yeah I would say it’s hard to – I’m going to speak for myself on that. I have a similar feeling about that. It’s very difficult in the season to really do anything other than make sure that you’re putting everything you can into these games. Unlike other sports, we only play 16 games in regular season, so it’s one game per week. It takes a lot of time to prepare for a game, whether you’re a player or a coach, and it can be a tough business especially for a coach I would say with the family. I think it’s a balance that you have to try to come to at some point in time. I think our players are very focused on the football team and what their job is, I believe that, I see that on the field, and I’m sure they find a balance with their family but that’s really the only two things you can probably concentrate on during the season.”(on QB Brian Hoyer’s football IQ) “He’s got a good football IQ and I would say the same thing about Ryan Mallett. I think they both have good football IQs. I think that they’re good learners, they’ve been taught well. They’ve studied under Tom Brady which I think definitely helped them as to how to prepare as a player for the game. We believe in the system we run and how we teach football in our system. I think Brian is definitely a student of the game and I think he’s always trying to get better and learn and I’d say the same thing about Mallett.”"
Vandermeer’s View: 7 predictions for the 2015 season – by Marc Vandermeer, HoustonTexans.com
"1. DeAndre Hopkins steals the national spotlightThe ‘world’ will know what we all know here. Hopkins is easily one of the best in the business with hands and body control to make highlight reel catches. In his second game ever, he made a contested toe-tapper to win an overtime tilt. Now he’s in year three and the second year of this system with improved quarterback play helping the cause. He’ll make some kind of Odell Beckham Jr. type of catch (remember the one at the Meadowlands that didn’t count?) that will launch him into the national consciousness.2. J.J. Watt will expand his multitasking roleLast year he caught touchdowns. He even rushed the punter. This season it’s anyone’s guess. Will he take a handoff or throw a pass? Will he put on a headset and call plays? Whatever it is you can be sure he’s going to expand his repertoire and add to the legend.3. Tight ends catch at least 50 passesThis is the easy one. The whole crew only had 32 grabs last year. It was a strange occurrence considering how much Bill O’Brien used tight ends in New England and the history of tight ends here. Owen Daniels went to two Pro Bowls. And even Billy Miller led the team in year one with 51 catches, including the first in franchise history. I digress. Expect Garrett Graham, C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin to be utilized a lot more this season.4. Texans will remain a top 5 team in turnover marginThe Texans led the league last year in takeaways. Quintin Demps came into the Texans Radio studio and saw last year’s stats on the table. He said “wow” when he noticed the interception total (20, good for 3rd in the league). He’s a ball hawk with four picks in each of the last two seasons and you know he and the other DBs are happy about having Watt and friends pressure the passer. The fun continues this season. They might not lead the league but their takeaways, combined with the offense turning it over less (they were 11th last year, not bad but they’re looking to improve. Three of the top four teams played on Championship Sunday) means the overall margin will stay healthily on the plus side of the ledger.5. Passing game will be in the top half of the leagueIt wasn’t last year. Based on 2015’s numbers they would have to hit 3,800 yards to do this. They were 24th last season. Naturally they want to run the ball but with both Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett having ‘grown up’ in the system there will be more plays through the air than the pundits think. This might be the year the Texans finally eclipse the franchise high of 29 TD passes but I won’t go there yet."