1. The Defensive line is a huge problem
1A. Vince Wilfork looks old
He is getting almost no push up the middle anymore–if he does manage to get into the backfield it is because the offense lets him back there on a screen or the like. On running plays he gets stymied by the line and pushed back almost every time. He also seemed to quit on a lot of plays yesterday.
1B. Jadeveon Clowney is still just an okay pass rusher, but a very good run defender
If Clowney does not step it up, there will be little pass rush. They got no pass rush on Sam Bradford and paid for it. However as a 3-4 end he was able to hold the edge well, but still not what you’d expect from a number one overall pick. Whitney Mercilus is the top pass rusher on the team, got a sack and hurried Bradford a couple other times.
1C. Christian Covington got run at and could not hold his own
Whenever they run the at right side, there were almost always big gains. One guy who should get more playing time is Joel Heath. The undrafted rookie from Michigan State needs to play more on the defensive line, at least he was trying during the goal line stands instead of just letting himself get blown off the ball.
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2. The secondary is going down the tubes
Later Joseph got hurt, joining Kareem Jackson. That left Kevin Johnson (who did okay for the most part) and AJ Bouye as the starting corners. The Vikings don’t have the most dynamic passing attack, but the Colts will test the secondary early and often next week.
3. The special teams are so bad that Brian Peters was doing kickoffs and Braxton Miller was returning kicks
Moreover, the punt coverage missed multiple tackles on the first return, and that wasn’t even the worst of it. Marcus Sherels later returned a punt for a touchdown on the Texans poor coverage units.
Tyler Ervin as a punt returner looks like the only even remotely bright spot on the whole special teams unit. Nick Novak has no range, and his lack of range was on display as he missed badly on a 51 yard attempt yesterday.
4. Brock Osweiler looks clumsy
When he rolls out, it just looks goofy. Moreover, he seemed to get happy feet in the pocket quite often and his bad footwork is a contributor to his lack of accuracy. He under threw a wide open Ryan Griffin on the third drive.
He also stares down receivers. Doesn’t target Hopkins much and when he does he’s usually double covered. Hopkins got deep in the second quarter but Osweiler overthrew him. Osweiler is all over the place–as if he is overcompensating for overthrows early by under throwing later.
5. Welcome back Duane Brown
Ending with some optimism here, Brown looked good in his return. Running the left side was successful, held his own in pass protection. Brown needs to stay healthy for the Texans to have a successful year.
The offensive line has not played well, with Osweiler under constant duress and Lamar Miller averaging less than four yards per carry in four of five games this season. However, Brown came back to one of the toughest tests you can imagine with the Vikings defensive front and crowd noise. Coming home to the Colts will be a much lighter test.