Chadiha: Schaub doesn't solve all of Houston's problems

Discussion in 'Houston Texans' started by TDJets72027, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. TDJets72027

    TDJets72027 Rex Ryan baby

    The latest news involving Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen had to give players all over the NFL a little bit of optimism. For those who don't know, league commissioner Roger Goodell recently reduced Allen's suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy from four games to two.

    There has been no formal explanation as to why Goodell changed his mind on the punishment, but let's just say Allen doesn't seem to care much at this stage. Allen told The Kansas City Star that he now has to rethink his approach to the preseason since he won't have to miss the first month of the regular season.

    The reason this story translates into a positive for Allen's peers around the league is obvious: It shows that Goodell does have a compassionate side, one he's willing to listen to whenever necessary. This is now evidence that his tenure as commissioner won't be filled with case after case of his pimp-slapping players who run into trouble. It apparently will also include moments when Goodell is able to clearly see that certain players are doing enough to correct whatever problems they've caused themselves in the past.

    That may not mean much to a Pacman Jones or a Chris Henry -- the most noteworthy examples of Goodell's attempts at protecting the league's image through his personal conduct policy -- but it should matter plenty to the players who might be wondering just how strict Goodell will be in handing out future punishments.

    In the case of Allen, it sounds like he had been taking the proper steps after two DUI charges led him into Goodell's crosshairs. Allen has been both remorseful and active in local charities. Both of those facts had to factor into Goodell's change of heart, along with a need to show he can be lenient when the circumstances allow.

    So now that I've dealt with administrative matters, let's get back to on-the-field issues in this week's installment of Three and Out.

    1. Who is going to help Matt Schaub?

    I realize the Houston Texans love their new quarterback. I also understand that he has a nice target in Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson.

    Matt Schaub

    Houston Texans

    2006 Season Stats Cmp Att Yds Pct TD Int
    18 27 208 66.7 1 2

    But one of the big questions surrounding the Texans -- aside from the annual concerns about their shaky offensive line -- has to be the uncertainty in the rest of their passing attack. I keep hearing that wide receiver Kevin Walter is supposed to be the man who takes the pressure off Johnson and becomes a reliable weapon for the Texans.

    In fact, one team source says that coaches compare him favorably to former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, a key cog in Denver's success in the late 1990s, when current Texans coach Gary Kubiak was Denver's offensive coordinator.

    Now there are obvious similarities. McCaffrey bounced around as a reserve receiver early in his career before blossoming in Denver, while Walter is now in his second year in Houston after being a backup in Cincinnati for three years. Like McCaffrey, Walter also is a sturdy possession receiver with excellent size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds). But I'm skeptical of how this will play out. The Texans have spent the last four years trying to find a decent complement to Johnson and the best they could do was an over-the-hill Eric Moulds. I don't see Walter changing that pattern this season.

    2. The next generation in Pittsburgh

    The loss of outside linebacker Joey Porter won't be a major blow to the Steelers. Despite losing a passionate, vocal leader on defense, the Steelers feel good about the moves they've made on that side of the ball.

    First-round pick Lawrence Timmons and second-round pick LaMarr Woodley will provide the versatility that new coach Mike Tomlin wants in his outside linebackers. They'll also give the Steelers much-needed depth in their pass rush.

    A team source says one of the major concerns in that unit last season was the way the edge rush broke down as the season progressed. Now with veterans James Harrison and Clark Haggans also working on the outside, the Steelers should have more than enough bodies to re-energize their defense.

    3. Big things for Bulger

    Don't be surprised if St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger produces his best season as a pro.

    Marc Bulger

    St. Louis Rams

    2006 Season Stats Cmp Att Yds Pct TD Int
    370 588 4301 62.9 24 8

    He spent 2006 adjusting to the new offense installed by coach Scott Linehan -- one that required Bulger to get the ball out quickly and call more audibles -- and he still wound up in the Pro Bowl. With a full season now behind him, he should be even more comfortable in that system.

    For one, the Rams have added more weapons (wide receiver Drew Bennett and tight end Randy McMichael) to a talented offense. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson also displayed an impressive feel for play calling after Linehan relinquished those responsibilities late last season. And above all else, the 30-year-old Bulger is entering the prime of his career. That alone should be reason for him to gain more recognition for his underrated skills.