Dolphins at Texans: 5 Questions Texans Need Answered

Joey Harrington, right, is sacked by Houston Texans' Amobi Okoye

1. Can the Texans running game convert 3rd and 1 on an injured Dolphins rush D?

Last week the Texans struggled on the Great Dayne’s wheels, but this week Ahman Green might be back in action. Green was listed as questionable last week, and Kubiak held him out at Atlanta. Green was limited in practice this week, and if his knee injury acts up again the Texans will look to Ron Dayne to carry the rock. Green is currently a game-time decision. Green and Dayne are averaging 4.3 and 3.0 yards per carry respectively. They combine for one touchdown on 81 carries in a system and blocking scheme capable of producing a 1,200 yard back.

On the side of the ball, Dom Capers’ Miami Defense hasn’t lived up to its standards. Last week, the Raiders ran all over the Dolphins amounting to 299 yards and three touchdowns. Raiders QB Daunte Culpepper had 3 TDs, and RB Justin Fargas ran for 179 yards on 22 carries. The shabby D, on average, allows 199.2 rushing yards a game. This is last in the NFL in rush defense, they’ve also allowed the most rushing TDs with 7. Injuries have slowed this defense as well. S Travares Tillman (arthroscopic knee surgery) and DL Vonnie Holliday (fractured right ankle) are out Sunday. LBs Channing Crowder and Zach Thomas are questionable. Last season, Crowder, the team’s leading tackler (28 total, 20 solo) went down with a sprained ankle. Although Cameron says the ankle looks positive after some agile drills, he has missed practice all week and may be slowed by the injury. Thomas has been out two weeks with a concussion. Joey Porter has yet to be a factor for the Dolphins D, and Jason Taylor hasn’t played to last year’s Defensive MVP performance.

“It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that we have a problem with the running game right now,” Taylor said. “So I fully anticipate Houston to do the same thing that Oakland did, and Washington did and the Jets did, and we’re going to see that until we stop it.”

Notes: If Green returns, starting C Mike Flanagan should reunite the “Old Pack” under Mike Sherman. For the Dolphins, ex-Jaguar S Donovan Darius will step in for Tillman. Ex-Titan S Lamont Thompson is helping out for the injured S Yeramiah Bell. If Crowder and Thomas miss this game, LBs Donny Spragan and Derek Pope should step in.

2. Will RB Ronnie Brown be the first to run all over the Texans?

The Texans rushing defense has been solid yet again, limiting the Falcons’ WD 28 for 66 yards on 19 carries. Ranked 6th in the NFL in stopping the rush, the Texans front seven are a tough bunch to get by.

From the offseason through the first two weeks it appeared Brown needed time to adjust to the coaching change and splitting carries with backup RB Jesse Chatman, but Brown has been hot these past two weeks. Don’t expect the Texans D to lie down and let loose the back who’s run for 164 yards and 3 TDs over the past 2 games. He’s been a receiving threat too, averaging 5 catches over 4 games. The Texans D has been solid and should check Brown in place.

Notes: DT Amobi Okoye was the NFL’s September’s Defensive Rookie of the Month. The rook has been a great help to this rush and pass defense and thus improving the play of DT Johnson and DE Williams. The starters and capable starting backups are playing well. Jesse Chatman has been ineffective despite the bond with Head Coach Cam Cameron and great offseason play.

3. Can Matt Shaub find the right spots amongst an injured WR group?

Texans QB Matt Shaub has been a constant for the Houston Texans Offense although getting a little banged up last week versus Atlanta. He should be able to run and create when under pressure while also finding his reliable TE. Shaub has been accurate and shared his long balls and short passes with all of his receiving corps. TE Owen Daniels is becoming a pass threat on pace for early 800 yards on over 70 receptions. Davis has stepped up his game helping the WRs, and WR Kevin Walter is not backing down from any challenges against an injured Dolphins D. Jacoby Jones saw the practice field Wednesday but did not practice, and, as well as WR Jerome Mathis, is listed as questionable.

The Dolphins secondary is headlined with CBs Will Allen and Michael Lehan, both total 29 tackles. Both starting safeties are hurt but are followed by experienced replacements.

Notes WRs Jones, Mathis and RB Green are questionable. WR Johnson is listed as doubtful.

4. Can Trent Green get to Chris Chambers, or will he utilize other WRs to beat the Texans secondary?

Despite being 0-4 behind QB Trent Green, Dolphins HC Cam Cameron is assured that Trent is the team’s starting QB. Green hasn’t been the same since leaving Kansas City after the concussion that eventually brought him to Cameron in Miami. But he still is producing. Green comes with a 1-2-3 punch of WRs Chambers, Marty Booker, and Derek Hagan. Last week versus the Texans, the Falcons #3 Michael Jenkins exploited the Texans secondary. Texans CB Dunta Robinson is a premier shut down corner in the NFL and he has the ability to continue Chambers slow weeks. But if Ronnie Brown starts moving the chains the Texans secondary and safeties might have to move up thus leaving CBs Jamar Fletcher, Fred Bennet and Demarcus Faggins to coverage on the veteran Booker or speedy Hagan. Rookie Ted Ginn has yet to make an impact for the Dolphins. Dolphins’ TEs David Martin has 7 catches for 59 yards and Justin Peele has 6 catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns.

Notes: Chris Chambers has 323 yards with 25 receptions on the season. He has 122 yards in the last two games. Last year against Houston on October 1, 2006, Hagan had no receptions. Booker had 3 receptions for 43 yards. In Chambers career versus Houston he has two rushes for 26 yards, 10 receptions for 146 yards and three touchdowns.

5. Who will win the Special Teams battle this week?

Matt Turk and the Texans punting game managed to keep the team in many games this year. Turk, tied for 7th in the NFL with 7 punts in the opponent’s 20, has helped the Texans D-Line and Linebackers shut down the run and force passes while terrorizing the QB. Trent Green looks to be in a bad situation this week in a mean Texans D that is tired of loosing, now two straight. Miami’s opponents have already scored one touchdown on special teams this year this so don’t count out Jerome Mathis who is nursing a shin injury and is questionable. He could return this week and take it to the 0-4 Dolphins.

Miami’s punting game relies on Brandon Fields who’s punted 16 times for a 43.4 average placing the ball three times in the 20. The Dolphins punt return game relies on Teddy Ginn, who’s averaging seven yards a punt on nine punts.

Notes: Matt Turk has 13 punts this year and is averaging 44 yards per punt. Turk, who replaced Pro Bowler Chad Stanley this season, ranks 24th amongst the NFL punters with most punts made.

For the both teams, winning this game will require four quarters of hard defense, a strong running game and consistency in the pass game. Furthermore all of these can be achieved with good special teams play. The battle of the trenches will be crucial, and if the Texans win that battle, then Cam Cameron, Trenty Green and Ronnie Brown will be in a world of hurt heading back to beautiful Miami.


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2 Responses to “Dolphins at Texans: 5 Questions Texans Need Answered”

  1. Fernando H says:

    Chris Chambers is going to roast the Texans and screw your comment on Dunta being a shut down corner. Dunta is trash and Williams should not have been drafted number 1 over all and by the way my not very bold but true prediction Miami wins its first game against the beat up Texans.
    Final Score
    Miami 23- Texans 14

  2. Zachary M says:

    Fernando,

    Obviously frustrated after 7 straight losses….unfortunately it appears you are delusional as well. Texans 27-13

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