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Wade Phillips Clarifies Defense and Roles

Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips put a bit more clarification on his defense and the players’ roles in it.  Citing the rumor-like “3-4 from 4-3” over-analysis in Houston, Phillips told that his defense really is a “5-2.”

“We play five defensive linemen that can rush the passer and two inside ‘backers who can tackle people. And we think Mario certainly fits in there.”

In the 5-2, Mario will play on his feet but near the line at the Will (weakside) linebacker.  Head coach Gary Kubiak looks to taking reign ofhis “versatile” defense.  Phillips says Mario will be at the Texans’ “premier position.”

“We put (Williams) in the premier position.  You’re rushing the passer more at Will, and so that’s where we put him. We were looking in the draft for the best pass rusher. Well, we had him on our team, and so we just moved him to that position rather than going the other way around.”

Kubiak also hopes to add former Texan in-season free agent, free agent defensive end Mark Anderson, this offseason.  Although the lineups are far from set, we can know that at linebacker, Mario Williams will rush at the Will.  DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing will man the middle of the field.  Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed will compete for the starting Sam linebacker position.  Kevin Bentley and Zach Diles are free agents. Darryl Sharpton, Xavier Adibi and Stanford Keglar provide depth.  Darryl Sharpton looks like a promising talent, and Adibi should put some work in before his free agency in 2012.  Stanford Keglar is an excellent special teams player and practice player for the offense.  I’m not sure which Texans’ linebacker is expected to defend Dallas Clark.  Pollard’s not on the team anymore to knock the other team around.

We can predict that the nose tackle spot will not be filled by former first round defensive tackle Amobi Okoye.  He may find himself as a powerful end in Phillips’ defense.  However, Earl Mitchell looks to be the prototypical nose tackle; but will he looks as good as he does on the practice field during game time.  Shaun Cody is the most likely candidate to start pending free agency.  However, a 3-4 defense won’t stand with Cody at nose tackle.  At defensive end, veteran Jarvis Green will compete with time behind Antonio Smith opposite rookie J.J. Watt.

The Texans’s second focus of this past draft was secondary.  The Texans first round talent cornerback  Brandon Harris, fourth round corner  Rashad Carmichael and ready-be-developed-talent safety Shiloh Keo.  In drafting the two talented corners, the Texans will hope they can improve their depth behind starters Kareem Jackson and Glover Quin.  Right now the Texans have Brice McCain, Sherrick McManis, and Antwaun Molden on roster.  Molden, as talented as he is, has been on thin ice every training camp and remains an injury risk on the roster.  McCain McManis will be locked up until 2014. McCain will be a free agent after the season.  At safety, the Kubiak has already said that Glover Quin would not be moved unless the Texans were able to find a starting cornerback in the free agency.  Therefore the Texans are left with Troy Nolan and Dominique Barber. Jason Allen, claimed off waviers from Miami last season, and Barber are free agents at the end of the 2011 season.

In the draft, Texans were able to find solutions for their defensive holes carrying into 2011.  However, the team’s starters are mere backup talents for most NFL teams.  The Texans know that they’re choices are limited in the free agency at cornerback, but striking one of this offseason’s top corners could easily be the difference in 4-6 games in 2011.

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2 Responses to “Wade Phillips Clarifies Defense and Roles”

  1. Lonny says:

    Connor Barwin and J.J. Watt will compete for the starting Sam linebacker position?

    Um no Watt is a DE.

    We can predict that the nose tackle spot will not be filled by former first round defensive tackle Amobi Okoye.

    You are wrong again. Okoye is a DE also.

    At defensive end, veteran Jarvis Green will compete with time behind Antonio Smith opposite rookie Brooks Reed. Phillips likely has plans for Reed, who madly played 3-4 linebacker at Arizona

    Reed is an OLB that will compete with Barwin for playing time.

  2. Jesse Rios says:

    Right, Okoye was covered in the article. Otherwise, definitely updated! Thanks for reading!

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