Welcome to our “Inside The Enemy Camp” series. This is where we have a chat with the lead writer for the Fansided blog of the team the Chiefs are going to beat that week.
This week it is Anthony North of Toro Times. He was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the Texans so we can get an inside perspective on what the Chiefs are up against Sunday in Houston.
1. The stats seem to indicate that the Texans are horrible at stopping the pass and one of the best in the league at stopping the run. Have you found this to be true or are Houston’s run D numbers just good because teams are airing it out on them rather than running?
The Texans are generally good at stopping the run, something that was shown last season. Obviously giving teams the opportunity to throw the ball on you will naturally give them less opportunities to get yards on the ground. With a more stable pass defense last season, the addition of Bernard Pollard really helped in the run defense and he still is. It could be a reason teams pass so much on this defense outside the reason that they have been poor at stopping it.
2. A lot of Chiefs fans were upset that Scott Pioli simply cut Bernard Pollard. While KC is getting very good safety play now from rookies Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis, it still stings to see Pollard playing well elsewhere. With the Texans pass D struggling, how would you rate Pollard’s play this season?
Even though the Texans have played poor in pass defense, I don’t consider Pollard to be one of the problems back there. I would put that blame on the free safety and cornerbacks not named Glover Quin. Pollard hasn’t been thrown at too much at all because one, he can actually play somewhat well in coverage and two, receivers simply don’t want to be anywhere near him when they get their hands on the ball. You actually see a lot of receivers dropping balls down field because they’ve been looking around before securing the ball.
Pollard is also one of the best run supporting safeties in the league. He didn’t leave in such a fashion, but he turned one of the worst run defenses in the league to being on of the best almost immediately when he joined the team last season. That’s still continuing, and he’s definitely an important part of this defense. Leadership skills don’t hurt either.
I’ll rate him at a B+
3. The Texans have been erratic at times this year. One game they look great and the next not so great. What has been the major difference in the games where the Texans have struggled?
The Texans being erratic is nothing new. It’s pretty much been the biggest problem since Gary Kubiak became head coach in 2006.
On offense, the biggest difference when the team is struggling is probably their tempo. At times, they’ll let one player on defense dictate what they can and cannot do. It slows down the offense and gives the defense a chance to be more aggressive.
On defense, it’s about making stops. Teams generally don’t win games if they don’t get stops or force turnovers. That’s been one of the problems because opposing offenses haven’t at all been intimidated at the defense’s ability to slow them down and force them to make mistakes.
4. Arian Foster came out of nowhere. He has been a beast on the ground this season. With Schaub and Foster it seems like the Texans should have a very balanced and dangerous attack. Do you feel the Texans coaches are making the best use of their weapons?
The Texans are for the most part using their weapons on offense the way I think they should be used. It’s a bit difficult when your best player, Andre Johnson, is running on a bad ankle, even though he seems to be getting healthier every day.
The Texans do with to remain balanced. They would actually prefer to run the ball all day if they had the opportunity. That’s a hard thing to do when you’re playing from behind and it’s surprising that Arian Foster is still leading the league in rushing despite the situations the Texans had put themselves in during certain games. But you saw what the Texans did against the Colts in the second half of week one. If the Texans get ahead on the Chiefs, you’ll see a lot of Arian Foster from the Texans.
5. What young, relatively unknown players do the Texans have that the Chiefs should keep an eye on?
If given the opportunity, safety Troy Nolan is a player to watch. After two injuries to the free safety position against the Raiders, Nolan stepped in and grabbed two interceptions. He’s was known as a ballhawk coming out of college and could be a good complement to Pollard for the future. He was injured his entire rookie season, so these are the first games he’s been playing in. If the coaches believe he can play consistent enough in coverage, they you should see more of Nolan.
The man that he would be replacing, veteran Eugene Wilson, has clearly lost a step and needs to be replace to help give this pass defense a boost. Nolan started last week but rotated regularly with Wilson. It’s possible that he could see another increase in playing time this week.
6. Lastly, your prediction for the outcome?
The Texans need this win more, but they haven’t played too well at home so far this season going only 1-2. But here’s something. History shows that the Texans follow up bad losses with solid performances the next week. When I look at what the Chiefs have done this season, they beat an underachieving Chargers team that just lost to the Raiders, they struggled to beat the Browns, and had a solid win against a now 0-5 49ers team.
I think this will be a relatively close game, but I don’t see the Texans dropping to 3-3 after a 2-0 start that sparked such high hopes for this team.
Texans win 23-21